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Peace Prize Out, Dude!


Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize are closed, which means only one thing — it's time to face up to the truth and cancel my October reservation at the Stockholm Motel 6. Again. At last count the Prize Committee (motto: "We're looking for dynamite ideas") received 167 nominations for the Peace Prize, and apparently my name wasn't on the list. While they don't disclose the names of those who are nominated — after all, they don't want to start a stampede to Kinko's so people can get new business cards printed with "Nobel Peace Prize Nominee" under their name — the word has leaked out. It seems those who actually do the nominating have big mouths and don't care about business cards. Or just like to brag that they can nominate someone and we can't. Great, now I feel like a two-time loser and the winners haven't even been announced.

Among those nominated were global PowerPointer Al Gore, former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Rush Limbaugh and Mordechai Vanunu, the Susan Lucci of the Nobel Peace Prize who's been nominated each of the past 20 years. And lost every time. It's guys like him who make me feel like a winner for not having even been nominated. Of course I'm in good company, since George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Osama bin Laden, Geraldo Rivera and you weren't nominated either. Sorry if I'm breaking some bad news, but we were Time's Person of the Year, and we can't have everything.

The truth is, who cares about the Nobel Prizes? They're stuffy, oh so serious, and have nothing to do with our mundane, workaday, pitiful lives. They're all about world peace, molecules, theories with names only an etymologist could love, and incomprehensible books no one can finish. The committee members aren't interested in everyday discoveries that help our lives. They prefer the esoteric. The more esoteric the better. They look for research that no one other than the prize committee can understand, and even then we know they're following the advice of "The Surrendered Wife" and faking it for the sake of the relationship. They don't honor true advances in economics like the invention of No Money Down, No Interest For Six Months. Or medical advances like Preparation H With Calcium and Lycopene in New Country Fresh Scent. They prefer potential over the practical. Yes, it's true, the Nobel Prize rewards underachievers.

Last year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus for pioneering the use of micro-credit, in spite of the fact that I've had micro-credit my whole life. Just ask my bank, which won't loan me a dime, they'll back me up on this. The prize for physics was awarded for discovering "the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation," the prize in chemistry went for studying "the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription," and the remaining prizes all went posthumously to Al Kelly for his discoveries in doubletalk. Face it, without his pioneering efforts, the others never could have won.

Unfortunately, the nomination deadline for all of this year's prizes has passed. But as with the 2008 presidential campaign, it's never too soon to toss your hat in the ring to see who salutes the flagpole. That's why I'm submitting some of my research now for consideration next year.

Economics — I've discovered the reason deficit spending only works for the government. When I try it, people call me at all hours of the night demanding I pay up immediately or they'll repossess my George Foreman Grill. So I go and borrow money from a new credit card that's offering 1.013 percent interest for the next six months and use it to pay off the old one. Of course six months later the creditors are back. On the other hand, when bill collectors call to nag the government for payments, they're told, "Hey, we're not responsible for that deficit, call the previous administration." Since they have no clue who to wake up at 3 a.m. to threaten now, they give up and call me again. It's an offshoot of Trickle Down Theory.

Physics — Light, it turns out, isn't a particle or a wave, it's made of feathers. After all, the sun gives off light. Feathers are light. Therefore, the sun gives off feathers. And to prove it, I'm sleeping like a baby thanks to the new light-filled pillow and light-filled comforter I made.

Medicine — An apple a day doesn't keep the doctor away, HMOs do since they won't cover the cost of a house call.

Chemistry — OK, I don't have this quite solved yet, but I'm close. When I announce that I've figured out why it takes three times as long to toast an English muffin as it does any other bread, the prize is mine. With orange marmalade please.

Peace — The other day I let a guy who was driving like a maniac cut in front of me on the highway. Sure he was bigger than I was, had a Glock 9 mm in his hand, and looked like Steve Buscemi doing a Crispin Glover imitation, but that's not the point. I helped keep the peace, and that's what it's about.

Literature — I have two words to say to the Nobel committee: this column.

I sure hope the Stockholm Motel 6 saves a room for me next year. S

Mad Dog, whose mother calls him Barry Gottlieb, is a former Richmonder who currently lives and writes in San Francisco. You can read more of his columns at www.maddogproductions.com.

Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.

Copyright © 2007 Barry H. Gottlieb


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