I once had this silly idea for a comedy skit in which there was a town inhabited by a single man who did every job in town. In the early morning he’s putting together the day’s newspaper, and a single copy rolls off the press. Perhaps he mutters something about the recent ruinous decline in sales. He delivers it to his door around 7 a.m. Another hand reaches down from off camera to deliver a fresh bottle of milk to his step. He steps outside to retrieve the paper and milk, then sits down to the breakfast table with his morning coffee. He unrolls the paper to see a headline, “Mayor Embroiled in Sex Scandal with Local Resident” and spits out his coffee. Yells angrily about the press being “fucking hyenas.” He steps outside to see “PERVERT” spray-painted across the front of his house and shakes his head. He pulls out his phone to call “the police” and tells them to “round up the usual suspects.”
I love this stuff. My best friends, the ones I find the most fun to hang out with, are good at riffing this kind of stuff. We take an absurd idea and add to it and it comes to life. Some people have a knack for it, others I’ve noticed have no patience for it. I’ve heard Christopher Hitchens refer to this trait as “a sense of the absurd” and identifies it as one of the best traits to find in a friend. I tend to agree.