One day while teaching a lesson on irony to ninth graders, I told this story:
“OK so, this past weekend I threw a party at my house. The main bathroom has a faulty doorknob that no longer turns, so we secured it in the unlatched position. There’s a deadlock on the door too, so you can still lock the door. But just to make sure guests knew the deal, I wrote a note: Please use the deadbolt to lock the door since the doorknob is broken. You are not trapped – just give the door a firm push to get out.
“I stuck this on the bathroom door, confident I had solved the problem. But midway through the party some guy came up to me and was all like ‘I broke your bathroom door!’ and I was all like ‘No man it was already broken’ and he was all like ‘NO, I broke your door.’ So I went with him to look at the bathroom door, which was indeed freshly broken–the doorframe was busted off the wall. He had seen my note, pushed firmly–very firmly–and broke the door open. And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t written that note to prevent it from happening. THAT’S irony!”
I crested to the top of a pure wave of triumph. Damn, did I ever know how to teach a concept! “Any questions?” Hands shot up. “Ronaldo?”
“Ms. Gruner, was there alcohol at this party?”
*Personal definition of irony revised.*