“It’s like rain… on your wedding day
It’s a free ride… when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice… that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures”

Ah, my word yes. Ever since Ms Alanis Morrisette sang those words in her song “Ironic” of her 1995 album “Jagged Little Pill” my mind has been wondering what others have wondered.

Why is a song that is supposedly about irony lacking in actual examples of irony?

I have two theories on this. The first is that Alanis doesn’t know what irony is. She kind of understands the concept, but can’t think of any examples that really fit. “Rain on your wedding day” isn’t irony. It’s misfortune. But she’s in good company. Winona Ryder’s character in the 1994 film “Reality Bites” missed out on getting a job because she couldn’t define irony.

My second theory is that Alanis knows damn well what irony is, and has deliberately not included any examples of irony in the song. Of course this would appear to be a rather ironic thing to do. More ironic than those 10,000 spoons.

So where does this leave us, in these post modern pre-millennium days?

I think we ought to turn to the dictionary. The English language is a living, evolving language. New words come into existence and old words are redefined.

I think there needs to be a new word: alanis. “Alanis” is there to describe those situations when things go wrong, and the situation may appear ironic, but is actually just bad luck. For example, “I had only had my brand new pants for a day, when they ripped – what an alanis thing to happen!”

I have found myself using this on a more frequent basis, and endeavour to to use once a day until it has been assimilated into the English language.

Make the effort to use “alanis” every day, and you too can experience that feeling of aloof gen-x coolness. Kind of alanis, really.

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