Most humour is firmly rooted in the ironic. Like when a label comes off a glue bottle, or I pass a broken-down tow truck, or see a sign that says, “Is your phone out of service? Call us for help.” Here are seven of history’s great ironies. The second man to survive a barrel ride over Niagara Falls died years later. After slipping on an orange peel. A tree was planted in 2014 to honour George Harrison, a member of the Beatles. Sadly, the tree later died from an infestation of…you guessed it, beetles.
Years ago, 80,000 government-made lapel buttons promoting toy safety had to be recalled. The reason? They were too sharp around the edges. A tragic irony took place a pool party when a man drowned. The party was held to celebrate a year with no drownings in New Orleans. The party was put on by 100 lifeguards. Barry Manilow’s 1976 hit “I Write The Songs,” was written by Bruce Johnson. No one really knows who invented the fire hydrant. Why? The building holding the patent to the fire hydrant burned down in 1836. And finally, the most shoplifted book in America is the very book that teaches us “thou shalt not steal.” It is, of course, the Bible.
The Bible itself is full or ironies. Here’s one from the book of James: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Just a second. Count it all joy? We rejoice when we get promoted, not fired. What could possibly inspire us to celebrate when we’re sick, or broke, or alone? Come on James. Rejoice in tough times? James goes on to explain himself. “Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I don’t say this flippantly.
I say it amid uncertainty in my own life right now, and after living for years in the valley of shadows. I am slowly learning to thank God for the tough stuff. For things I wouldn’t have chosen, because they deepen me. I have come to know Christ better in dark times than I ever did when the sun shone. And though I don’t understand as much as I wish I did, I believe I will one day. After all, God delights in taking what the enemy meant for evil and turning it to good. How’s that for irony?
Speaking of irony, I saw a picture of a TV news truck that had hit a house. The slogan on the side of the truck? “Where the news hits home.”