National Absurdity Day

Today is a day to sit back and recall the many absurd things that have happened in our lives or things that are still happening each day. It’s also a day to actually add to this list by doing something completely ridiculous and random that you’ve always wanted to try. For example, I have been harboring a strange desire to doodlewash a flying pig, so this was a good day for that.

Sometimes it’s rather difficult to determine what’s actually absurd. It really depends on who you are and where you are. I’ve mentioned before Philippe’s shock at discovering some of America’s habits, but these aren’t considered absurd, just part of living in this country. So if you’re American, and stumped on how to celebrate this one, it’s equally likely that to someone in another country thinks you’re already doing it.

When Philippe was first visiting from Paris, I took him out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. I thought it would be fine as it was actual Mexican food, not the horrible Tex-Mex version which is really just a game of “food hide-and-seek” in a pool of orange cheese. Unfortunately, the restaurant had decided to serve it with American-sized portions and Philippe ate the entire thing out of habit. The remainder of the evening was spent with him clutching his stomach in pain and taking short breaths as though he were about to deliver our first child.

Beyond the absurdity of portion size in American meals, there’s often the complete lack of vegetables or any meaningful fiber, which always leads Philippe to ask, “How do Americans poop?” It never occurred to me anymore since I mostly eat vegetables now, but this was a very good question. I watch people out eating, as every green thing on a plate is pushed to the side and treated as garnish, and have to wonder the very same thing.

When we first went out driving here, Philippe would ask about all the American flags. I’m so used to seeing them that I’ve totally blocked them out, but he was confused as to why people had them everywhere. “I don’t understand,” he said, “yeah, we’re in America, we get it!” as a too big to be driven in the city truck burped past us with flags flapping on each side. “They’re just proud of this country,” I said as a man wearing a coat that looked like a flag walked by. And that’s when I realized it was actually absurd.

Everything from weather to cooking was made needlessly complex for Philippe because America is one of the only countries in the world not using the metric system (the only other two are Burma and Liberia). “It says a heaping cup,” Philippe remarked while cooking, “what the hell is a cup? Which cup? Heaping?” I pointed him to the measuring cups and he said, “C’est pas vrai! That’s so stupid and imprecise! Why don’t they just measure in handfuls or fingernails?” The next day we bought a scale that measured in grams.

But the absurdity didn’t stop in the kitchen, of course. I was questioned as to “whose feet” one uses to determine distance. This is a bit embarrassing as feet and pounds are things that were necessary in the old days when people didn’t know any better, much like The Electoral College. To still be using these antiquated systems today, just makes us seem well… rather absurd (though Fahrenheit is still twice as precise as Celsius when setting your air conditioning so there’s a tiny something we got right!).

America is already an absurd place, so maybe that’s why so many people like it. We’re not weighted down with horrible logic, we just live happily inside our absurdity bubble assuming everyone else must be wrong. So today, add a heaping cup of absurdity to whatever it is you plan to do and have a ridiculously good time!

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

32 replies on “National Absurdity Day

  1. Hahaha! Oh, Philippe, I feel your pain and confusion! Well, I’d feel it more intensely if Charlie here wasn’t making me laugh so hard!😀

    And, no, just no!, to Fahrenheit! It’s not precise, it’s silly; who bases a scale on salty water? Kelvin is the way to go! LOL!

    Love your piggy! I don’t know if it makes me want to eat bacon or not want to eat bacon…hmmmm…or am I being absurd?😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL…you’re totally being absurd and I love it!! ❤️😃 And as for Fahrenheit, it’s totally arbitrary and dumb to be sure …the numbers were chosen and people still don’t know exactly why! Lol …but it’s possible to fine tune temperature with twice the number of degrees to work with when setting a thermostat compared to Celsius. Small bonus! lol But true…basing a freezing temperature on frozen salty water just because it’s the temperature you could conveniently attain in your lab is well…absurd! Haha! 😳😉

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  2. Cute and adorable. Love your painting…great expression, looks very mischievous, exactly what I would expect from a flying pig. Poor Philippe, he is in a foreign country after all, things are bound to be challenging and seemingly silly…good thing he has you for a guide. Hugs and Peace to you both.

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  3. Love the flying pig!! It’s absurdly adorable! I wish we would convert to metric too. I know it’s expensive and will take much effort, but as a former science teacher, not using the metric system in everyday life just re-enforce in students minds that science doesn’t apply to everyday life when they are all force to use metrics in calculations but don’t have a sense of what they calculate.. I don’t if that made sense.. I hope you are celebrating this day with lots of absurdity!! Lol.. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kari! 💕😃That makes perfect sense and I totally agree! Using an arbitrary system just makes science seem arbitrary and not something you need in “real” life. Glad you liked the pig… I love “absurdly adorable” because I sort of thought he turned out a bit creepy in my rather realistic style! Lol 😊


  4. Oh Charlie! Phillipe does have such great wisdom.
    Sometimes your clever and wonderful commentary (which I ADORE!)
    take away from the fact that you are an absolutely amazing artist!
    This flying pig……..
    I seriously enlarged and looked at it closely – and you are simply and gloriously an amazing artist! Every little detail.

    As always, I am in Awe, and I am in LOVE! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay…too many compliments in that comment. Head enlarging to the point of exploding!! 😳😊😊 hehe… thank you so much Jodi!! ❤️😃 I’ve been enjoying both writing and doodlewashing. I feel like I need to try the same subject more. This was only my second pass at a pig, but it felt more intuitive this time!

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  5. Love your flying pig, Charlie! ❤️🎨😊 My hubby and I are huddled around our gas fireplace trying to stay warm this evening because the power company has yet to fix the downed electrical poles on a main artillery – this is what I SEE as absurd! Thanks goodness for wine! 😜🍷

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If pigs could fly…clearly they can and they are so handsome! Love you pig Charlie!

    Now, I live in a city where buildings are connected by “skyways” or as I like to call them habit trails to avoid the nasty cold weather we have here in Minnesota. It seemed absurd 10 years ago when I moved here but at the very least I really appreciate them quite a bit. And who would connect 32 degrees as freezing…why not say we start at zero…

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  7. Fantastic pig, Charlie! Your animals are always such a treat. It really does seem to have a sense of flight to it.

    I do have to laugh every time you tell us of Philippe getting perplexed at America, because he’s always absolutely spot on the money. Especially the flags. *So* many flags.

    Every day is National Absurdity Day, as far as I’m concerned… I wouldn’t behave any other way!😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. you are absurdly masterful at shading this little porcine with wings. LOL over swimming in a pool of orange cheese. Mexican food is certainly a hit and miss prospect in other parts of the country for sure. having good food is a definite plus in living on the border!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah…it can get pretty gross where I live, but thankfully we have real Mexican restaurants that aren’t as crowded since the gringos don’t like to go! Lol Thanks! 💕😃I really love painting animals, and this was fun since he’s half made up! (Couldn’t find an actual flying pig to doodlewash! Hehe)

      Liked by 1 person

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