A Pack Of Lies

Somebody (Hitler? Goebbels? Lenin? Trotsky?) once said, “If you tell a big enough lie loud enough and long enough people will eventually believe it.”  It’s terribly ironic that, in the Age of Information, there are quite a few of those kind of “truths” kicking around, and a lot of what we call common knowledge is just a load of crap.  Here are some glaring examples that just fall apart when you think about them:

1 – Einstein did NOT fail high school math.  Think about this for a minute!  The guy was a genius who E=MC2-ed himself to the top of the intellectual ladder, along with Newton, Copernicus and da Vinci.  What are the chances he had trouble with Grade 10 algebra?  Besides, the records show that he skipped most of what we would call high school, anyway.

2 – You can NOT see the Great Wall of China from space.  Here’s the deal.  Yes, the Great Wall is absolutely huge.  Yes, it’s the largest man-made structure on earth, and yes, it runs for thousands of kilometres, but — surprise — it’s less than 4 metres (12 feet) wide.  Your house is probably wider.  Looking down from space, the Great Wall of China is invisible — just like your house.

3 – You do NOT use “only” 10% of your brain.  The truth is, even with all our advanced technology, we know so little about the brain’s function that nobody knows how much of our brain’s capacity we actually use.  However, given some people I’ve worked with, 10% might be wildly optimistic.

4 – Coca-Cola™ does NOT dissolve teeth.  Folks, they use dental work to identify bodies that have been lying around for centuries.  Every museum on Earth has at least one set of Cro-Magnon chompers.  The corrosive elements that Mother Nature can throw at the human body make Coca-Cola look like a bubble bath.  This is just another Coke™ myth that circles our planet once a generation.

5 – Undercover cops do NOT have to tell you they’re police.  Police, undercover or otherwise, cannot entrap you into committing a crime, but they are under no legal obligation to identify themselves before you commit that crime on your own.  Use your head!  If undercover cops had to tell you they’re cops, it would kinda defeat the whole purpose of “undercover,” now, wouldn’t it?

6 – Jedi is NOT a recognized religion anywhere in the world.  Despite the best efforts of literally millions of Star Wars nerds, no national or international body outside a few fans clubs views Jedi as an organized religion.  The word is you can claim to be a Jedi on your income tax form and reap all the religious benefit and advantages.  You can’t.  Don’t believe me?  Try it!

7 – There are NOT more people alive today than have ever lived in all of history.  Do the math!  Even using the ten millennia of recorded history, fifty generations a millennium and the current reproductive rate of 23 per thousand (for most of history, it was closer to 80) the result is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100 billion people.  Even counting all the lost Australian backpackers, at 7 billion, this generation isn’t even close.

8 – Mr. Rogers was NOT a Navy Seal sniper in Vietnam.  Quit saying that!  There is absolutely no evidence that Fred Rogers served in the military, nor even that he ever left the continental United States — although there’s an e-rumor that he went to Maui once, on vacation.

And finally

9 – You do NOT eat 7, 9, 12 or 16 spiders every night in your sleep.  Spiders prefer dry, still, quiet places where they can spin a web and catch themselves some breakfast.  Occasionally, maybe, a single spider might venture across your bed, but, unless they’re unusually stupid, the inhale/exhale of breathing air would scare them off.  I’m sure this lie gets retold so much because it’s a guaranteed gross out.

The Next Time …

Life is a minefield full of ambushes.  We are constantly getting caught off guard by thoughts, words and circumstances.  However, the mark of a smart person is someone who tries not to make the same mistake twice.  (We all do that, BTW!)  So, as a public service, here’s a quick and dirty guide to making the wise choice the next time something happens.

The next time somebody tells you that someday machines are going to go total Terminator and take over the world, remind them just how effective Autocorrect is. 

The next time somebody talks about how nice it will be when everything gets back to normal, think about how comfortable your pajamas feel.

The next time somebody’s Eagerly Offended by a book, a cartoon character or a dead European, laugh your ass off and get on with your life as if nothing’s changed — because nothing has.

The next time you think you should ask a woman when the baby’s due – don’t!

The next time you think you’ve got the only dysfunctional family on the planet, open a bottle of wine and ask your neighbour about her mother-in-law.

The next time you think you’re smart, remember your old friend algebra and try to solve (x2 + y2) – (x + y) = 3.  That’ll teach you some humble.

The next time you’re having a bad day, take a marker and put comic faces on all the eggs in the fridge.  You’ll be surprised how much better it makes you feel.

The next time you’re walking around and have an uncontrollable itch somewhere below your bellybutton, remember: cellphones!

The next time you’re mind wanders beyond your current relationship, take a good hard think about how you look naked.

The next time someone says, “You can do anything you set your mind to!” keep in mind you still haven’t figured out the difference between Auto Cook and Auto Reheat on the microwave.

And finally:

The next time you think it’s a pain in the ass to wear a mask, just imagine how uncomfortable a ventilator would be.

Modern Sin 2021

I miss the days when sin was a tangible commodity.  You knew where you stood back then.  There were clear lines that you kinda crossed occasionally (or more often) but you did so at your peril. There were consequences for being a dick.  Okay, some of the rules were a bit much; after all, who among us hasn’t coveted their neighbour’s ass a time or two (metaphorically speaking) and I’ve never been convinced that a hotdog on Friday was enough to unleash the hounds of hell.  However, most of us (even the scoffers) stayed away from the Big Boys and left hardcore sinning to the professionals.  These days, however, sin has become a moveable feast, and even saints are having trouble trying to figure it out.  Luckily, I’m here to help.  I’ve created a 7 step scale that navigates the sin-isphere – from “You’ve some got explaining to do” to “Burn in hell!”

7 — Irish Pubs outside of Ireland – If you want to make fun of somebody, there’s no better way to do it than find an ordinary bar, change the name to “O’ Something,” stick a neon shamrock over the door and serve bad Guinness and potato skins.  This is a sin.  And the only way to make it worse is to have leprechaun-tossing contests on Too-Ra-Loo-Ra Tuesdays. Where the hell are the cultural appropriation people when you need them?  (BTW, this goes double for faux French cafes!)

6 — Stupid Foodie Stuff – There’s the deal: Cheeseburger Pizza is not fusion food: it’s a sin. Yeah, and turkey gravy ice cream is, too.  Real foodies are wonderful people – creative and adventurous — but the wannabes are culinary crackheads.  They have no respect for themselves, their guests or what they put in their mouths.  What next? Oreos and Orange juice?  I wouldn’t bet against it!

5 — Male Fashions – Men have always dressed like idiots – witness the codpiece – but in the 21st century, it’s gotten out of hand and needs to be called what it is – a sin.  No human (forget a Supreme Being) can look with favour on a baseball cap on backwards, an Aloha shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops — all at the same business meeting — on the same guy.  Dress for success has become God, what a mess!  No wonder most women believe men think with their protruding parts.

4 — Comical Clothing on Pets – No, no, no! A thousand times no!  Devil horns, reindeer antlers, bowties, propeller beanies, frilly skirts and false moustaches are not cute on animals: they’re a sin.  What you have just done is taken your most trusting friend, the one who’s been there for you, every time, without fail, (remember the night Herbie Jenkins dumped you?) and made them look ridiculous – for your own amusement.  This comes under the “Do unto others” doctrine.  If you insist on dressing your pets in comical clothes, they should have the right to take you to the doctor and have you neutered.  Fair is fair!  

3 — Bullshit University Degrees – Taking an 18-year-old, who is less than a decade away from believing Batman is a career choice, and convincing them to go into debt up to their eyeballs to get a degree in Leadership is a sin.  We’ve created at least one (and probably two) generations of seriously over-educated/woefully under-qualified young people who have no marketable skills beyond pouring coffee and complaining.  And considering how badly they got screwed, who can blame them when they can’t do either one properly? 

2 — Women’s Magazines – Even though, in recent years, these tableaux of evil have migrated from ink and photo to font and pixel, they are still the total sin they’ve always been.  When the only reason you exist is to tell women there’s something wrong with them, there’s something wrong with you.  This is psychological abuse on an industrial scale.

1 — Litter and Twitter – These two are off the scale on the Sin meter.  There is nothing worse than wantonly throwing your garbage on the ground or spewing vindictive trash across Cyberspace.  Nothing!  There is never, ever a reason to do either, and they are both just wrong – full stop.