Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Defending Your Honor

One of my favorite people on the planet is Mark Kaufman. In addition to being a really sweet guy, he's versed in all sorts of obscure references and he's an exceptionally quick thinker... except when he's not.

In fact, Mark and my friend Jonathan (who's one of the smartest people you'll ever meet) are in a long running competition for World's Dumbest Smart Guy. I'll explain the competition in detail in another blog, but for now, let's just say that involves grown men with extremely high IQ's finding ways to do things like:
  • ending up in jail for a string of unaddressed misdemeanors...
  • or, stranding themselves on power boats just yards from shore...
  • or, trying to unclog a drain pipe with a hammer and screwdriver while standing directly below and looking up into the clogged pipe.

Defending Your Honor
One of the things that Mark will often do is to tenaciously defend a statement he's made, no matter what is said that might indicate his statement is a bit far-fetched or even perhaps, a lie. Oftentimes the original statement is a casual throw-away with no real implications whatsoever, it's just something he said as a filler. Nonetheless...

Typically, as Mark defends his position, the defense tends to become more and more bizarre, unbelievable and, well, funny.

For example, Mark stayed over after Iris' birthday party. The next day, I walked into the kitchen and found him preparing lunch. We had a conversation that went something like this.


Teflon
: Where'd you get the coconuts?

Mark: I found them outside.

Teflon: Found them? In South Egremont? The coconut's tropical!

Mark: What do you mean?

Teflon: Well, this is a temperate zone and...

Mark: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land?

Teflon: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

Mark: Not at all. They could be carried.

Teflon: What? A swallow carrying a coconut?

Mark: It could grip it by the husk!

Teflon: It's not a question of where he grips it! It's a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut.

Mark: Well, it doesn't matter. Will you please go and tell Iris that I'd like to speak with her?

Teflon: Listen. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?

Mark: Please!

Teflon: Am I right?

... or something like that.

Letting Go
Do you ever end up in really bizarre situations simply because you wanted to make a point, or wanted to be right, or wanted to not get caught in a lie, or wanted avoid embarrassment, or... you name it. Perhaps it's something you experience more often at family gatherings or holiday get-togethers. Maybe it's something you experience at work.

If you ever end up in these situations, one of the best things I've found is to...
  1. Stop
  2. Breath
  3. Think of what you want to say
  4. Don't say it
  5. Repeat three times
...and then say what you finally come up with.

With any luck, you might say something like...
  • I have no idea why I said that; can I have a do-over...

  • Or, wow, listening to what I just said, I don't even believe it...

  • Or, I'm sorry, I just experienced and internal blue screen of death and have successfully rebooted. Now, where were we?

Have a great Wednesday!

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