Theory of
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Taunts, Insults or Attacks

Codewords Inside Aggressive "Tricks"

"Wings" to Fly
Back to Yourself

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Six Choices

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The Way Out

 

CLINIC

PATIENT

DIAGNOSTIC

Patient refers to it as stargate-eight-eight

A Stooge.4

Obliqueness.3

 

TOOLSET

INFORMAL FALLACY

 

War souvenirs! 

—Nowhere near.

—Sounds serious!

Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds. 

Moxie's

Disease

 

Ignoratio Elenchi —
(Ignoring the Point in Question) Red herrings are powerful, because they often do prove a case — though not the one at issue. Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, "You need a story to displace a story ... Ideas come and go, stories stay." (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Random House, New York, 2007, p. xxxi)

 

NOTES TO MYSELF

PSYCHOLOGICAL AGE

CLASS

[obfuscation & stubborn meanness] - These people are totally preoccupied by their thoughts and feelings - It's dog eat dog - They're trying to distract you, being evasive, and avoiding things - Being irrational to keep you off your toes - It's a defense - It couldn't be sheer terror.

The Age of Significance, ages 20-23

Challenges

 

 
 
 
 
 

Exactly what someone said [or did]
... usually not very original.

The thoughts of a "bad child"
... to free your mind again.

TRICKS

WINGS

IDEAS

"Read this and tell me what you think of it." [Like a school teacher, they have kind of a stubborn meanness; you don't have to read anything! You could skim it, though technically, why bother?]

—Sounds serious!

—Easy money, huh? ... Just the best parts!

"Perhaps this is what still distinguishes the philosophical life: that 'once in a lifetime' convulsion, in which one reinvents reality around oneself. It is a project doomed to fail, and compromises will always be made. But what, in life, could be more interesting?" (–Sarah Bakewell)

—Nowhere near.

—It shows how little they know.

"Going somewhere?"

—Sounds serious!

—Brick by brick, my citizens.

"It started out as ribbing, sort of a pointed ribbing about his hair, but it very quickly became an assault, and he was taken down to the ground, pinned. It all happened very quickly. It was like a pack of dogs." (–Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer in Michigan, who participated in the episode, describing how Mitt Romney returned from spring break in his senior year at Cranbrook, a private school in Michigan, to find that John Lauber, a quiet, offbeat type, had bleached his hair blond. "Mr. Romney, brandishing a pair of scissors, led other boys on a hunt for Mr. Lauber, teasing him and holding him down, while Mr. Romney snipped off his long locks," as reported in "Bullying Story Spurs an Apology From Romney," by Ashley Parker and Jodi Kantor, The New York Times, May 11, 2012)

War souvenirs!

—Call my lawyer – Where's the money you were going to send me?

"As to pranks that were played back then, I don't remember them all, but again, high school days, if I did stupid things, why, I'm afraid I've got to say sorry for it." (–Mitt Romney, in a Fox News radio interview with Neil Cavuto, May 10, 2012)

—Sounds serious!

—Don't talk about money – It's distasteful.

"There's no question that I did some stupid things in high school, and obviously, if I hurt someone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it," (–Mitt Romney, as reported in "Bullying Story Spurs an Apology From Romney," by Ashley Parker and Jodi Kantor, The New York Times, May 11, 2012)

—Nowhere near.

—You're trying to hurt our feelings and ruin our fun! ... No interfering! Get away! – Don't interrupt us! – We're doing something important! ... I'll take my chances!

"There's a lesson here somewhere."

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—How bad can you get?

"You driving somewhere?" [Bumming a ride after you commit to where you're going]

—Sounds serious!

—Let's not ... Don't cheat me.

"Why aren't you at IBM anymore?"

—Sounds serious!

—So there can be a place naked women can come and yearn for me.

"It's too bad you lost your job at IBM."

—Sounds serious!

—It's the people who stay in the monastery who get into trouble.

"What, you're justifying what happened?"

—Sounds serious!

—It's a betrayal.

"How'd you do it?"

—Sounds serious!

—Magic and sorcery.

"Why do we do these exercises you call 'silk reeling' —? Why not do what Dr. Starr does?"

—Sounds serious!

—Not after the Crusades ... That's what he thinks ... They're all into fads ... That's why they go crazy ... Out-of-control happiness! ... It just helps to realize, when you're talking to your mother and father, you're afraid of them ... even when they're dead!

["Is your name Christie?"] "No, it isn't."

—Sounds serious!

—Lower heating bills.

"Give it to Richard." [Some food they're rejecting and sending back to the kitchen]

—Sounds serious!

—Tell me who you run with, and I'll tell you who you are.

"Is it paying off?"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—Fast and furious.

"Did it cost fifty dollars?" [Scornfully]

—Sounds serious!

—Real punishment.

"Does it really matter?"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—Don't worry about it.

"Does it mean anything?"

—Sounds serious!

—This is the story of my life.

"That's funny, I heard [a certain well-known drummer] had died, and that reminded me of you."

—Sounds serious!

—When I'm dead, I'll take time off.

"Let's get off this subject."

War souvenirs!

—Thank you for saving me.

"Why are you changing the subject?"

—Sounds serious!

—I'm going to try that sometime.

"You're one sick, miserable, evil SOB." (–Sean Hannity to cleric Anjem Choudary, Fox News, February 2, 2011)

—Sounds serious!

—That's the way you want 'em! ... This American life ... Don't ask me to carry any crosses ... Put the spotlight on yourself! ... The spike! ... Divide and conquer ... Try to look at the big picture ... It's very third world ... History is lies agreed upon ... Who knows? ... They're not talking ... What don't they tell people ... It's rude to talk about religion because you never know who you're going to offend.

"I'll drop the subject entirely."

—Sounds serious!

—I've heard about it all my life.

"You talk funny." [One five-year-old boy to another]

—Sounds serious!

—It's different every day.

"I'm glad I'm just wearing a skirt."

—Sounds serious!

—It's called a Danish sense of fun.

"Check your skirt at the door."

—Sounds serious!

—Dress is optional.

"They shut it down because you don't pay the bill?" [The phone line is down, and the repair people aren't going to come for a week]

War souvenirs!

—What is this, Night Court?

"Will it ever get easier?"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—Could you do it for me? I'm an MBA.

"I'm not going to ask him because I see he's clammed up."

—Sounds serious!

—Why get angry?

"How much do you pay for gates?"

—Sounds serious!

—I can't reach that level of functioning.

"How much do they give you each month?"

—Sounds serious!

—There's more to it than that.

"Where did you hide the money? When you're not here, I'm going to go through your things and find it."

—Sounds serious!

—An Irish job.

"Well, I don't want to get into it. Let's forget it."

—Sounds serious!

—You can see why nobody goes there.

"You don't have to make money with your art to survive."

War souvenirs!

—You don't think that's magic? – Maybe it is magic.

"What difference does it make? – It's just money."

—Sounds serious!

—Wait until you don't have any.

"He's probably trying to Jew 'em down."

War souvenirs!

—That's very healthy.

"Don't Jew me down."

War souvenirs!

—I don't have the budget for it, so I'm not spending anything on that now.

"Richard would never vote for a Jew."

War souvenirs!

—Would you like to buy the Shroud of Turin?

"It seemed to be a rational decision at the time."

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—Did any shoe drop?

"Are you a Zionist?"

War souvenirs!

—That's something a dog would never understand.

[Someone going off on a tiresome tangent, as if they're telling their mother something they did to kiss a school teacher's ass]

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—Do you have that on toast for breakfast?

[Someone telling you things you wish you didn't know about their distant relatives]

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—It makes flowers every year.

"Now I'm leader of the pack! Except I'm wiser, more relaxed, happier, warmer, more filled with life ..."

—Sounds serious!

—There you go: human oil.

"Are you right wing?"

—Nowhere near.

—I see things differently – I'm just a person.

"Is it against the law?"

War souvenirs!

—Take all the money and run.

"Does it cost anything?"

War souvenirs!

—Just when you don't need it.

"Did you have to pay for it?"

—Nowhere near.

—I used to think you were Irish.

"Was it busy today, sir?"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—A thirty-year-old Jewish woman in a nightie.

"What, do you think that's sexy? Is that the way you roll?"

—Nowhere near.

—Where are the screwballs of yesterday? ... What happened to them? ... I don't know who you guys are ... I don't have a mother and father ... I'm an orphan ... Wonderful stories ... There are people who have a fondness for children ... Oh, I've heard of that before ... They're ruthless in their perfection, if you know what I mean ... And don't take any crap from them!

"So that makes it okay?"

—Sounds serious!

—You're always assuming ... The bite of the ignorant frightens me ... You should get a new name, like Roostaphanishti ... Just push me; I'm malleable.

"She's a little snotty."

—Nowhere near.

—You can't turn on someone else without turning on yourself.

"You're saying viciousness is attractive?"

War souvenirs!

—Just like the leopard.

"I want to know who you are going with and where – I don't want any ambiguity about anything – None of those half-truths."

War souvenirs!

—There is no dark stranger; there is no mother.

"Can't you talk?"

War souvenirs!

—Some people can't hit bottom.

"Cat got your tongue?"

War souvenirs!

—A frozen moment.

"You're picking on my child." [Parent to teacher]

—Nowhere near.

—What else do you think it could be?

"I can't be ten places at once, can I?"

War souvenirs!

—There's only one way to find out – See what happens!

"Your car smells like chocolate."

War souvenirs!

—This, we could sell.

"What am I – chopped liver?"

—Sounds serious!

—Too intelligent.

"Did you talk to Joe?"

—Sounds serious!

—The factory burned down.

"How much did it cost?"

—Sounds serious!

—Whatever you do, don't buy any race horses.

"Did you pay for it?"

—Sounds serious!

—There's more to life than counting money.

"Do I look like a Dave Matthews fan?"

—Sounds serious!

—Aside from that, you look darn swell!

"That's surprising, coming from a cop."

—Nowhere near.

—This isn't the Spanish Inquisition.

"Where are the dogs, in the doghouse?"

—Sounds serious!

—That's a waste of time.

["I'm using it right now."] "Can I use it after?"

—Sounds serious!

The store is closed ... Is this a fishing expedition? ... This is getting really heavy duty ... Who can bear the shame?

"You could have fooled me."

War souvenirs!

—It's true!

"You still haven't answered the question."

—Sounds serious!

—I want you to know it has nothing to do with what's going on.

"But I have to do it!"

—Nowhere near.

—Well, you could start with goldfish.

"Don't flatter yourself."

—Nowhere near.

—I do enough.

"Do you have diarrhea or something?"

—Sounds serious!

—You should be so lucky!

"You're the biggest idiot I've ever met."

War souvenirs!

—How many?

"How do you defend yourself against Uncle Tomism?"

War souvenirs!

—I guess I'm the white sheep of the family.

"I've created a monster!"

—Nowhere near.

—You haven't created anything – It would have been that way, anyway.

"You accuse me of cheating, but doesn't everybody cheat a little bit?"

—Nowhere near.

—Some sharpie!

"Why shouldn't I cheat if everyone else is doing it?"

War souvenirs!

—When they ask you for money, tell them to get a scholarship.

"We did it!"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—You can't cheat George Washington.

"I just don't get it."

War souvenirs!

—You can elevate yourself above your time and place.

"I love it!"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—Why do you look at me when you say that?

"Never mind! – I'll take care of it."

—Sounds serious!

—An earthshaking human disaster.

"Never mind! – Forget it!"

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

Already forgotten ... You can't blame people for trying.

"I know, take it out on me! I can handle it."

—Met Make-it-so. Earlier birds.

—You know, not everyone has to kick the chicken before they boil it.

"JUST LEARN IT!" [From Seventh Grade Latin teacher, now deceased]

—Sounds serious!

—Ancient footprints.

["My first phone number was 2540, and my best friend's phone number was 2260."] "Four digits? This is a put-on."

—Sounds serious!

—Those were the days ... Can you believe it?

"Another guy picking on you, huh?"

War souvenirs!

—Read Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud.

"I've had it up to here."

War souvenirs!

—Things have changed so much.

"Did you get it registered?"

—Sounds serious!

—Not everybody is Flash Gordon.

"Go ahead and do it! You've got the money."

—Sounds serious!

—We don't need it at all.

"You break me up."

—Sounds serious!

—What do you expect?

"Taking a break?"

War souvenirs!

—If you want more, you can buy them.

"Siri, I think it's time for us to take a break."

—Nowhere near.

—There's a force that's been turned loose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

REFLECTIONS

 
 
 
 
 

26-MAY-1999. The stranger in the back seat of my taxicab regarded me with quickened interest when I told him I was writing a book. "I'll tell you something Americans don't know but which many Greeks know — It's the origin of your word, O.K." He sat back with a mysterious air and regarded the shoppers in Union Square. His girlfriend gazed languidly out the other window. Now here was a gift. I knew lexicographers had been trying to pin down the roots of "O.K." for years.

"It's the Greek, 'Ola Kala,' meaning 'Everything's fine.'" He went on, "Two centuries ago, when Greek shipping dominated world trade, signalmen on sailing vessels would haul flags for 'O.K.' up their masts when they came to American ports such as Boston or Portland so the shore parties would know everything was all right. On shore, warehousemen would find the mysterious Greek letters, 'O K,' (among others) stamped on crates and boxes."

—Sounds serious!

 
 
 
 
 
     
 

"Everything's fine!"

 
     
         

I had to laugh when he handed me a sheet of paper with the Greek words written in our own Roman alphabet: "Ola Kala." It was so obvious, I just had to ask him how American etymologists had missed it. He shrugged his entire body and said,

"—War souvenirs!"

At the next red light, I turned and looked at the woman.

"It must be wonderful over there in Greece," I said with a smile.

"—Less bitter," she said, and looked away.


23-OCT-2014.

 

Thick
of
It

ShortCuts

Top
of
Page

 

As follows

CODE WORDS: ambiguity, answered, assault, biggest, break, [bumming], cat, cheating, chocolate, chopped, clammed, compromises, diarrhea, doghouse, doomed, each, entirely, exercises, flatter, fooled, gates, half-truths, homosexuality, IBM, it, Jew, justifying, leader, Matthews, messing, monster, once, picking, pinned, pointed, privilege, put-on, [relatives], reminded, ribbing, roll, skirt, snotty, SOB, somewhere, subject, surprising, survive, talk, [tiresome], Tomism, wing, Zionist

 

LXXXVIII
Vulpecula
"Little fox"

War souvenirs!