Sunday, December 16, 2007

I thought the fourth bro was Zeppo?

Get this. I made a spontaneous joke at work and the punchline was "Marxist."

Everyone laughed except a (college grad) 25-year-old woman who said she had never heard that word.

People said, "You know, like Karl Marx?"

"Karl who?" she said.

Long white beard? Changed the face of planet earth? One of the two or three most influential people over the last 150 years? In response to which the entire foreign policy of America and much of the domestic policy revolved for most of the second half of the 20th century?"

She had no idea. NO IDEA! Who we were talking about. It should go without saying that how anyone in the room felt about Marx one way or the other is irrelevant -- in fact, it didn't come up. The point is, how can an American adult be this blasted ignorant about something that important?

When we were in the trying-to-jog-her-memory phase, I said, "You know, like Lenin?"

"Well, I've heard of him!" she answered, a little hotly. Defiantly.

"Not John Lennon," I said.

Everyone laughed. She didn't say anything. To this day, no one knows whether or not she truly had been thinking of John Lennon at that moment.

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