Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

2020 - the mildewy wet-blanket of years


Last updated 10/30/2020 at 9:03am

Since 2020 has proven to be about as funny as a pratfall that lands in an actual tiger trap, I’ve felt a little flinchy about humor, like my timing is off just a bit and I can’t quite be confident whether my joke or my whole topic is a helium balloon or one of those doggy doo-doo bags.

It seems my weird/funny news sources are having that trouble as well.

Take the murder hornets for example. I scoured my weird and funny news sources for some fodder for today’s column and saw lots of animal kingdom headlines, including this one from the Associated Press: “First ‘murder hornet’ nest in U.S. found in Washington State.”

I opened the article with some hope, like, “Lay it on me. What did those clownishly large insects with a killer name do now? Give up their murdering ways and start taking hostages? Har har har.”

The gist of the article was simply that after a worker with Washington State Agriculture Department found a few of the Asian giant hornets in an insect trap, they located the nest and have scheduled the hornets’ extermination for Saturday.

All that weird and funny expectation doused by so much boring.

Still, I’m used to mulling over a topic to see if it has some seed of funny I can grow like one of those misshapen giant pumpkins, or perhaps perform a little trick of perspective that I can razzle dazzle folks with, so I pressed on.

Does it help that they had to reschedule the murder hornet extermination from today because of weather? No, that just adds to the mundane. How about that murder hornets don’t kill as many people as their nickname implies? No, tha— wait. What?

“Despite their nickname and the hype around the insect that has stirred fears in an already bleak year, the hornets kill at most a few dozen people a year in Asian countries,” the article threw out there as if we’re supposed to just toss those death statistics in the left-hand column of our data sheet with the other deaths in 2020, then cover our yawn and move on.

At that point, I was done with the topic.

How about Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald’s story “Steer on the loose after escaping from Sydney high school”? Yeah? No. It just escaped. People are looking for it. The End.

I wish I could insert a cartoon here of me with my head on my desk and a long line of Z’s streaming into the air from my snoring.

So I moved on to the United Press International story from North Carolina: “Wandering herd of cows trashes school's fall harvest display.” The cows were caught on security cameras mucking around with a pumpkin display. I had hopes that I could find a golden nugget of humor here … until a school official ruined it.

"Needless to say, the unexpected visitors brought some welcome joy and humor to the Edneyville staff this week, and we're happy to share the laughs with our local community," Henderson County Public Schools Public Information Officer Molly McGowan Gorsuch said.

2020 — the year we are weirdly relieved and grateful to have a small herd of cows wander in and trash stuff in the local schoolyard.

In case you are as depressed now as I was, I’ll let you in on a little pick-me-upper I discovered: "Walmart store evacuated when skunk wanders inside." Yeah, UPI finally came through for us in Edmond, Oklahoma, where a skunk was discovered waddling through the men’s shoe department.

That’s kind of funny, right? An exterminator live trapped the skunk and released it, and that’s sweet, to boot.

The article didn’t say whether the skunk sprayed its telltale musk in the store, but I like to imagine that it did — not enough to ruin a bunch of merchandise and shut down anyone’s airway. But maybe the skunk eked out a little squeaker with just enough scent in the air to make everyone laugh a little bit, y’know, for the week or two that it would take for the stink to dissipate.


This is what I've been reduced to, rooting for the skunks at [email protected]


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