Charlie Hatton About This
About Me
Email Me

Bookmark
 FeedBurnerEmailTwitterFacebookAmazon
Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



All Quotes
Site Search:
HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail

« McSweeney's 2, Charlie 0 | Main | Flying the Unfriendly Skies »

The Art of Rationalization

I'm not a smart man. And when you go through life not being the perkiest pair of nipples in the proverbial porno, you have a lot of crazy ideas. Crazy, dangerous, possibly illegal, certainly ill-advised, and often Commandment-breaking ideas. Many of these ideas involve small animals, power tools, or pressurized cannisters stored in places that are neither 'cool' nor 'dry'. Sometimes all at once. And fire -- always, always fire.

Now, as our household's resident blithering idiot, it's not my job to think of reasons why I shouldn't do such outlandish and possibly eyebrow-frying nonsense. That's left up to the wife, our close neighbors, and whoever it is at the local police station that enforces the rule against me operating small firearms. That's a lot of people, and they've developed a highly efficient network to keep me from endangering the lives and property -- and eyebrows -- of myself and others. This keeps the house and neighborhood far, far safer.

But where's the fun in that?

"I'd like to share with you some of my favorite techniques for rationalizing just about anything short of mass murder, global thermonuclear war, or Cleveland Browns football."

So, I take it upon myself to find reasons why I should test my latest attempt at a microwave-powered lawnmower, or combination brassiere and nose hair trimmer, or parking the car on the front porch to keep it dry during blizzards. I know, if I really think it through, that such things are utter nonsense. They'll never work, someone's likely to get hurt, and everything we know about physics and automotive engineering and the flexibility of womens' undergarments screams, 'NOOOOOO!!!'

But what can I tell you? Like I said, I'm not the wiggliest dildo on the nightstand.

But I need some reason -- harebreined though it may be -- to unleash my latest abomination on the world. And so, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite techniques for rationalizing just about anything short of mass murder, global thermonuclear war, or Cleveland Browns football. Next time you have a half-baked cockeyed scheme and a little time to kill, keep these thoughts in mind:

"What's the worst that could happen?"

One of the weaker rationalization techniques, as it can only produce the desired effect if:

1. The question is taken rhetorically.

B. No one else is around to answer it.

The very last thing you want to do on the cusp of misadventure is to actually consider the worst possible consequences of the events about to transpire.

But if you can ask the question, in private, and quickly shrug it off without thinking of the laws, restraining orders, or rare and delicate fine china you may be breaking in the process, then you're golden. Rationalize away, and pull the trigger. The proverbial trigger, that is. Probably.

"______ should work just as well as _______, right?"

Ah, the joys of ignorant substitution! If 'necessity' is the mother of invention, then 'desperate idiocy' is surely the drunken uncle that smells of feet and doesn't get invited to family reunions.

Just try not to think about that the next time you fill in the blanks in the question with options like:

'rubbing alcohol' and 'gasoline'
'acetylene torch' and 'pencil sharpener'
'Brillo pad' and 'dental floss'
'battery acid' and 'ketchup'
'belt sander' and 'loofah'

The key is to convince yourself that if it looks like the thing you'd normally use -- or smells like it, sits on the same closet shelf, rhymes with it, or starts with the same letter -- then it's a perfectly reasonable substitution. Anything's possible, right?

"I saw them do this on the teevee once."

Well, clearly, if those Hollywood yahoos can pull something off, then we can reproduce it in the comfort of our own home, dingy apartment, or double-wide trailer, right?

Note: This method is really only applicable when the feat in question was seen on one of those shows or ads with a disclaimer like:

'Professional and clinically insane stuntpeople shown; don't try this at home, or you could be killed, prosecuted, and/or excommunicated!'

Because otherwise, what's the point, really?

"When in doubt, ________ it out!"

This is a handy little tool, because it makes anything sound perfectly reasonable. It's good not only for bathroom projects ('When in doubt, grout it out!'), truffle hunting ('When in doubt, snout it out!'), and distracting bears at Jamborees ('When in doubt, Cub Scout it out!').

Simply remove the needless restriction for rhyming, and you can justify just about anything, in language recognized as bulletproof logic by the most jaded cynic. For instance:

'When in doubt, burn it out!'
'When in doubt, hammer it out!'
'When in doubt, firehose full of tapioca pudding blast it out!'

See? Perfectly reasonable.

"We've all got to go sometime, right?"

There are many forms of this rationalization, including 'I never wanted to live forever, anyway', 'At least people will remember me, if I get a Darwin Award for this', and the ever-popular and matter-of-fact 'Today is a good day to die'.

Whatever the form, this is one of the most advanced types of practical self-delusion. Basically, if you can answer the 'What's the worst that can happen?' question with 'My impending and almost certain doom', and still continue punching, welding, flapping, stripping, shooting, burning, eating, or peeing, then you've got this rationalization thing down cold. Give yourself a pat on the back (assuming you still have hands, and a back), for a job well justified.

All that's left now is to fish the camcorder out of the closet and get it on tape, so the rest of us idiots can see it, and try it for ourselves. Even if we don't own a taser or have an oxygen tank handy -- live jumper cables and a full keg of beer should work just as well, right?

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.





Permalink | Comments (0)






Post a comment

HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail © 2003-14 Charlie Hatton All Rights Reserved
Highlights
Me on Science:
  Secondhand SCIENCE


Me on ZuG (RIP):
  Zolton's FB Pranks
  Zolton Does Amazon


Me on Baseball:
  Bugs & Cranks


Me on Apartments:
  Author Page


Three Wee Tweets:
Favorite Posts:
30 Facts: Alton Brown
A Commute Dreary
A Hallmark Moment
Blue's Clues Explained
Eight Your 5-Hole?
El Classo de Espanol
Good News for Goofballs
Grammar, Charlie-Style
Grammar, Revisitated
How I Feel About Hippos
How I Feel About Pinatas
How I Feel About Pirates
Life Is Like...
Life Is Also Like...
Smartass 101
Twelve Simple Rules
Unreal Reality Shows
V-Day for Dummies
Wheel of Misfortune
Zolton, Interview Demon

Me, Elsewhere

Features
Standup Comedy Clips

Selected Clips:
  09/10/05: Com. Studio
  04/30/05: Goodfellaz
  04/09/05: Com. Studio
  01/28/05: Com. Studio
  12/11/04: Emerald Isle
  09/06/04: Connection

Boston Comedy Clubs

 My 100 Things Posts

Selected Things:
  #6: My Stitches
  #7: My Name
  #11: My Spelling Bee
  #35: My Spring Break
  #36: My Skydives
  #53: My Memory
  #55: My Quote
  #78: My Pencil
  #91: My Family
  #100: My Poor Knee

More Features:

List of Lists
33 Faces of Me
Cliche-O-Matic
Punchline Fever
Simpsons Quotes
Quantum Terminology

Favorites
Banterist
...Bleeding Obvious
By Ken Levine
Defective Yeti
DeJENNerate
Divorced Dad of Two
Gallivanting Monkey
Junk Drawer
Life... Weirder
Little. Red. Boat.
Mighty Geek
Mitchieville
PCPPP
Scaryduck
Scott's Tip of the Day
Something Authorly
TGNP
Unlikely Explanations

Archives
Full Archive

Category Archives:

(Stupid) Computers (66)
A Doofus Is Me (200)
Articles 'n' Zines (73)
Audience Participation (35)
Awkward Conversations (172)
Bits About Blogging (165)
Bitter Old Man Rants (50)
Blasts from My Past (78)
Cars 'n' Drivers (59)
Dog Drivel (78)
Eek!Cards (266)
Foodstuff Fluff (114)
Fun with Words! (71)
Googlicious! (27)
Grooming Gaffes (86)
Just Life (235)
Loopy Lists (33)
Making Fun of Jerks (56)
Marketing Weenies (65)
Married and a Moron (183)
Miscellaneous Nonsense (62)
Potty Talk / Yes, I'm a Pig (84)
Sleep, and Lack Thereof (34)
TV & Movies & Games, O My! (100)
Tales from the Stage (72)
Tasty Beverages (29)
The Happy Homeowner (78)
Vacations 'n' Holidays (127)
Weird for the Sake of Weird (70)
Whither the Weather (38)
Wicked Pissah Bahstan (45)
Wide World o' Sports (123)
Work, Work, Work (203)

Heroes
Alas Smith and Jones
Berkeley Breathed
Bill Hicks
Dave Barry
Dexter's Laboratory
Douglas Adams
Evening at the Improv
Fawlty Towers
George Alec Effinger
Grover
Jake Johannsen
Married... With Children
Monty Python
Nick Bakay
Peter King
Ren and Stimpy
Rob Neyer
Sluggy Freelance
The Simpsons
The State

Plugs, Shameless
Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

TopOfBlogs

HumorSource

Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

bloglovin

Listed on BlogShares

Top Blogs

 

Feeds and More
Subscribe via FeedBurner

[Subscribe]

RDF
RSS 2.0
Atom
Credits
Site Hosting:
Solid Solutions

Powered by:
MovableType

Title Banner Photo:
Shirley Harshenin

Creative Commons License
  This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License

Mint Installation

Performancing Metrics

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Valid XHTML 1.0

Valid CSS!

© 2003-14 Charlie Hatton
All Rights Reserved