Humans often have very bizarre behaviors. Some people are just really quiet, some wash their hands fifty times a day, and some people are mimes (which is pretty bizarre in and of itself). More often than we realize, people do things that are very contradictory of themselves. There’s a word for it, too. See, when you do something dumb, it’s moronic. If you act in a way that is contradictorily stupid, it’s oxymoronic.
Let’s start from the top. In case you’re unfamiliar with them, an oxymoron is a term, usually two words put together, which have opposite meanings. Like Jumbo Shrimp. Jumbo = Big. Shrimp = Small. Here are some of my favorite examples: pretty ugly, only choice, act naturally, same difference, Great Depression, crash landing, recorded live, and virtual reality. Combine two opposite actions and you have a case of oxymoronic behavior.
Sometimes, we as a human race do oxymoronic things. For example, you can walk into just about any gas station and buy a sweaty, chilled bottle of sweet, lemon, iced tea. Tea was originally brewed and consumed hot. Somewhere around the turn of the nineteenth century, someone decided it would be good on ice (and might I add, it is quite nice!). Actually, when tea was first being iced, it was also heavily spiked with liquor (like a really long island iced tea). Anyway, we have hot tea poured over ice. That’s oxymoronic. But we Americans have a greater calling than that, so we put sour lemon in iced tea to give it some flavor and sugar in it to sweeten it up! (which, might I also add, is quite yummy!). It’s an oxymoron-fest in a cup!
Other times, individuals are able to simply embarrass themselves, oxymoronically. My family and I were sitting in a nice steakhouse one evening and we overheard the gentleman in the booth behind us ordering. It went something like this:
“Here is your diet soda, sir,” the waitress beamed, “Are you ready to order?”
“Yeah,” he bellowed, “I’ll have the eighteen ounce ribeye, medium rare, loaded mashed potatoes, corn, and stuffing. Can you add the shrimp tempura on that? And I’d like to go ahead and start with the chili-cheese-bacon-sour cream waffle fry mountain, please. Thank you.”
Rewind. Before we get the heart attack on a plate, he ordered diet soda! That’s textbook oxymoronic. A calorie-free soda to go with a 4,000-calorie meal! I guess compromise is in the eye of the beholder.
There is an oxymoron around every turn. Whether you’re shopping for tight slacks or hearing on the news about someone being found missing, open your eyes and ears and you’ll see people doing some seriously funny stuff!
By: S. Cole Garrett