For all practical purposes

There’s an old joke about a scientist, an engineer and a chocolate muffin. It’s essentially a panel-beaten version of Zeno’s Paradox (involving Achilles & the Tortoise) and neatly illustrates that theory isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be+. I was going somewhere with this, I definitely was…

Anyhoo, I think what I’m trying to say is that life is made up of moments where accuracy is of lesser importance. For example, when the answer to “What’s wrong?” is “Nothing”, you know it’s (probably) not true, but sometimes it’s just less hassle to pretend that it is.

Now, according to my buddy, Cedric:

“…if someone brushes you off three times in a row, it’s time to move on because you’re just going to embarrass yourself. When I am actually interested in someone, I go out of my way to not brush them off or, at the very least, make alternate plans. Maybe it’s just me…”


The thing is, a lot of people struggle to say no. Although a simple “take a hike, buttface”, would be simpler and kinder in the long run, it seems too brutal, so we make excuses instead. Fortunately, thanks to many of the conveniences that modern 21st Century living affords us, we now no longer have to worry about coming up with a suitably plausible excuse on the spot. Gone are the days of “Er – er – I can’t. I, um – need to – er – irrigate my colon” We can screen our calls and respond to text messages or emails at leisure. UNfortunately, if you’re on the receiving end, it makes it a lot more difficult to decide whether it’s true, partially true or a complete fabrication.

However – and this is the important bit – for all practical purposes, it makes no fucking difference. None. Zip. Nada. You can agonise about it if that’s your thing, but really, the only decision you need to make is how many times you’re prepared to let it happen. If you’re like Ced, three is the magic number.

+ unless it’s a theory related to proctology, in which case, it probably is


23 thoughts on “For all practical purposes

  1. lukeagain: I KILL YOU NOW!!!! Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. It’s the last one, I promise. I KILL YOU NOW!!!! Ah damn, looks like my promises aren’t worth shit.

    peas: You can slap our mutual favourite, if you like. It’s unrelated, but definitely worth doing, anyway :mrgreen:
    As to what happened, Forgottenmachine bet me that I couldn’t work Zeno’s Paradox and proctology into the same post. I won – but I kind of burnt out after the first paragraph.
    P.S. I KILL YOU NOW!!!! Oh man, I really need to get more sleep.


  2. You and old TM obviously have some rather interesting conversations. You told him what it is you do on Saturday evenings yet?


  3. peas: Excellent. Hold on while I quiver with anticip…… ation.

    parenthesis: It is simply not possible to have a dull conversation with Mr FM. As to your question – I don’t think so.


  4. I’m thrilled in the knowledge that I am a No-person. If I’m not sure about something, I always say No first and give myself some time to warm up to the idea (or not, as the case may be).
    It’s much easier to re-accept an already declined proposal (in most circumstances, although not all, obviously) and far less disappointing for the other person than saying yes and then wriggling out of it!


  5. Tell you what, phone her mum up, and tell her what it is you’d like to do with her daughter and see if that gets you anywhere – worked for me 🙂


  6. kevin: Ja, I got kicked out of Mensa for making the rest of them look bad.

    parenthesis: Cool. What’s your mom’s number?

    the tart: Shhhh. That was supposed to our secret.


  7. You’re saying that three, whether in jokes or relationships, is the magic number?
    Oh, I’ve just reread the post. Cedric is. Not the magic number, just saying it.
    Wow. It seems that accuracy really is of lesser importance to me.


  8. Wow, you do me a great honour quoting me. I feel all special. In order to preserve this moment, I will never wash again!

    As for the 3 times bit, I have met some people who call it off after 1 brush-off and others who persevere a little longer. I like 3 because it’s from the old saying: “Once is an accident. Twice is a conicidence. Three times is enemy action.”

    Or, in this case, no action.


  9. Pingback: UNDERCULTURE :: The PE Report - 26 February 2007

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