According to the dictionary irony is the use of words to convey an opposite meaning. Like when a person says, “That color looks so good on you!”
It could be a compliment.
But add a touch of sarcasm to the tone of voice and it is easy to see that it is really an insult.
Irony is all around us. It is used in advertisements, literature, entertainment, and in everyday conversations.
Sometimes it can be found even where it isn’t meant to be.
Take the other day.
I was at a meeting and the man at the front of the room was passionately making his case. He wanted those of us in the audience to donate our hard earned money to his cause.
“And so you see, we need your help. With the money you give we can do a lot of good. Especially now. Seated behind me is our new leader.”
The man waved his hand back but maintained eye contact with his audience. He was determined to keep our full attention, so he wasn’t going to give even one of us the chance to drift away.
“A man who is poised at the starting block, anxious to be given the chance to do good works. All he needs is for you to open your wallets and give generously. Then he’ll be able to use that excessive energy–that energy that pours from him at all times, that is at this moment radiating out to all of you–to help people.”
The audience craned their necks to get a glimpse of this powerhouse, who was seated comfortably in a chair at the back of the stage, head tilted slightly to the side as he slept peacefully.
The speaker never looked back at the man he described as having such an overabundance of energy, so he had no idea that the powerhouse was suffering from a shortage and was taking a nap onstage. He never knew of his accidental irony.
But we in the audience knew.
I don’t know about anyone else, but it made my day!