Irrelativity: the director’s cut |

Irrelativity: the director’s cut

Barry Smith

I’m a total sucker for those deleted scenes that are included on DVDs.Not the bloopers that’s a whole different thing. No, I mean the outtakes. The scenes that just didn’t make the final cut. It’s like, “Here’s my completed project. Oh, and here’s all the stuff that I took out because it was kinda crappy. Enjoy.”I don’t know of any other art form that does this. Sculptors don’t usually display their works along with various hunks of thwarted noses and unintentionally disproportionate limbs. A CD doesn’t generally include entire tracks of the guitarist hacking clumsily through a tricky chord change. And newspaper columns don’t focus on ideas that the author once thought were great but never quite got around to finishing, and has now decided to officially give up on.Or do they…? File name: “Crooked Fork Syndrome.”There’s a file on my computer called “Crooked Fork Syndrome.” Inside, it contains only the words “crooked fork syndrome,” as if to further remind myself of this great idea I had on July 15, 2003.The crooked fork syndrome is what I call the tendency to focus on the absolute pettiest thing possible. It’s meant to be figurative choosing to complain about the quality of your utensil rather than revel in the food that’s before you but it works literally, too. Personally, I can’t stand a fork with even one crooked tine, but I have very sensitive lips.All in all, just some newagey little concept that I have to now admit will never make it to full column status. Thankfully.Also, I didn’t spell “syndrome” correctly. File name: “Getting rid of my computer.”That’s what I titled the file I opened on 10/3/02. I was trying to unload an old, yet still working, Mac and couldn’t get anyone to take it. I thought this was really significant. I mean, computers were once things of scifi fantasy, and now I literally can’t give one away, even to the place that exists solely for the purpose of taking in old computers.I managed to write a few paragraphs on this topic, meant to be a probing investigation into our culture of obsolescence and instant gratification, but the deepest I managed to go was the line: “I haven’t been this disoriented since the time I saw a Rubik’s Cube for sale in an antique store.”I also made a quip about the lifespan of the Mediterranean fruit fly, but I misspelled “Mediterranean.” File name: “Funny Motivational Speech.”It started with a desire to see some vintage Harlem Globetrotters pictures, so I Googled “Meadowlark Lemon,” the coolest Trotter of them all. I learned that Mr. Lemon is alive and well and working the Motivational Speaker circuit. This led me to read about other people available to deliver motivational speeches for your party or corporate event. Then I saw how much these people get paid! And I thought, damn, I need to work up a motivational speech and get some representation so I can get some of this coin. And why not write a “funny” speech now and run it as a column?So I opened a file, named it “Funny Motivational Speech,” pasted in all the info I copied about Meadowlark Lemon, saved it, closed it, Googled “Barely Legal Cheerleader Housewives” for just a quick bit of diversion before getting to work, and never got back to it.That was four years ago. I give up. File name: “Yahweh vs. Amway.”Oh yeah! When I had this idea, on Feb 24, 2000, I remember thinking I was really on to something. I mean, the comparisons between the sacred name of God and the company that is synonymous with multi-level marketing must be hilarious, right? So hilarious that it will just write itself. Stuff like:Yahweh eager to strike you down.Amway eager to add you to downline.Well, as it turns out, it didn’t write itself. The file remains empty. I just wrote that example right now, over five years later. And not only do I not think it’s all that hilarious … I can’t think of any more.Also, I’m pretty sure I spelled “Yahweh” wrong. VTContact Barry Smith at or visit his Web page at

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