How to Tell

We all do it. No, not poops. I mean, yes, we do, but that’s not what I was going to talk about.

I mean, we all narrate our existence to ourselves.

It might be retrospective, speculative or projective, emotional or reactive, or simply an assertion that we’re present (the most basic form of “I think, therefore I am”).

“I should have gotten the chicken instead of the fish.”

“Should I do the laundry before or after I order the pizza? Is the delivery guy going to care if I have to answer the door in my PJs?”

“Ugh, it’s too early to be awake. Could I get back to sleep if I called in sick to work, or would it just be easier to go in?”

“I’m bored.”

Something else we all do: we edit our narration.

“Okay, once I finish the dishes, I can kick back and watch TV. No, I’d better check my email and pay the credit card bill first. So that’s dishes, bill, email, and then TV.”

But there’s something we don’t all do.

I was musing about internal narrations yesterday (see “I’m bored” above) and I realized that I was copyediting my narration.

That’s right: I was changing punctuation and digressing to decide whether certain words should be capitalized.

Worse yet, at the same time I was also doing a style edit.

“Is it funnier if I send out for pizza or Chinese food?”

“Is chicken versus fish too cliched, or should I go with it because it’s a clich√©?”

Maybe I’m wrong about this. Maybe everyone style edits their thoughts.

But I suspect that it’s a limited few of us.

Mind you, I’m not talking about editing an imaginary conversation– “Just wait until I see that louse! I’m going to give him a few choice words!” (because of course you want to have the perfect zinger ready when the louse in question walks in)–but all those other bits of narrative running through your head.

I submit that if you spend five minutes arguing with yourself over whether the internal rhyme in “It’s too far to go by car” is distracting and you should just think “It’s too far to drive” while you’re planning your vacation, you’re either already a writer or you should be.

Flat As a Basketball

Really, Steph?

I can’t believe we’re talking about this.

Yeah, the whole moon landing contretemps. First Stephen Curry says he doesn’t believe men have been to the moon. Then he gets all coy. Then he claims it was a lesson in critical thinking and information literacy.

Sorry, Steph, I’m not buying any of it. I don’t care whether you’re a conspiracy theorist or not. But no matter how you look at it, this was a stupid move.

If you really believe the moon landings were faked, then claiming otherwise in the face of the outcry makes you look credulous and wishy-washy.

On the other hand, if it was a joke that got taken seriously, doubling down on it with the Intelligent Design/Climate Change “just asking questions” defense makes you look stupid as well as credulous.

And on the gripping hand, if you intended this as a lesson in critical thinking from the beginning–and a not so covert swipe at the current U.S. government–this was completely the wrong way to go about it.

As we’ve seen on a daily basis since 2016, nobody pays attention to the corrections. Telling the “kids out there that hang on every word that we say” not to believe what they hear is about as pointless as a cat on a linoleum floor trying to bury the evidence of excretory malfeasance.

If they even hear the lesson–and many of them won’t, because it’s not sexy enough to get the same play in the media as the original statement–they’re not going to go to the trouble. The lesson they hear over and over in school, at home, and from their peers is “believe what the boss says”. Believe your teacher, unless he contradicts your priest. Believe the president, unless he contradicts your father.

Don’t look it up. Nobody likes a smart ass.

No, I don’t have a fix. But neither does Steph.