Thursday, February 12, 2009

Irreconcilable Differences

My wife and I had an argument last night.
I was attempting to appeal to her reason.
She deals with a certain problem in a haphazard fashion. Instead of starting at square one and working it out from there, leaving no unfinished details, she plunges in at the middle and begins working at it from there, leaving half of the problem unattended.
We can get to that later, she says.
But why not attend to it now? I say. And then it won't be preying on your mind.
It's not preying on my mind, says she, because I know I'll deal with it later. No sweat.
But why not do it now, I persist. There's nothing to be gained by procrastinating and nothing to be lost by seeing to the whole thing at first.
The way you see it, she stonewalled. The way I see it, it is positively manic to obsess about the possibility of failure every time you deal with a problem. I mean, how morbid is that? Do you then consider death each time you wake up in the morning? Do you calculate the odds of an aircraft engine plummeting through the roof as you drift off to sleep each night?
That's preposterous, I sputter. An errant aircraft engine I cannot control! Things beyond my control I leave to fate.
Ah, but you could- she arched her eyebrows. -you could live in a cave.
A cave.
Yes, and be relieved of the fear of death from the sky.
You're reaching, I mumble.
Not really, she answers and then hastens on, But then, if you live in the cave, there is always earthquakes.
Really, I protest.
It's perfectly logical, she continues, If every possible scenario is to be taken into account, and every precaution taken, then you will, . . .you will . . .
I will . . .
-Be extremely preoccupied, not to mention fearful and you'd likely develop an eye twitch or some sort of tic and contract high blood pressure which would doubtless kill you before the jet engine or the earthquake had the opportunity.
My way, she advances, is actually healthier.
That's a leap, that's an Evil Canievel leap, I say.
No, no it's not. And really when you think about it-
I don't think you're thinking about it.
-when you think about it, it is more responsible. Yes, and more efficient. The more you worry about unlikely possibilities, the more likely you are to neglect some necessary responsibilities. So you see the enormity of the situation. You must not obsess about everything, because too much else depends on you.
Well, here then, I could just walk across the interstate for a shortcut, and hang the traffic. I can't be bothered with it! It's obsession.
Well, now, let's don't be silly.
Me . . .ME?
Certainly, you're stretching the analogy to the breaking point. There is a greater likelihood of you being hit by traffic than not being hit by traffic walking across the interstate. There is almost zero likelihood of dying by aircraft engines. You have made quite a leap there yourself, mister.
I'm just- . . .I'm only taking your philosophy to its logical destination!
But, don't forget the original argument. You said to obsess about everything, I said you musn't obsess about everything, only big things. You must leave such small things to take care of themselves. In reality, there is a very small chance of expiring due to falling engines or earthquakes in Kentucky.
I'm temporarily speechless
Then, finally, But . . .but- we're talking about squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle!

It's fiction. We've never argued about the toilet paper, either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The screen on my computer is blurred,did you say fiction or friciton?