You might think that with all the cute and colorful stuff I draw, that I am probably one of the world’s great optimists. Yet beneath all the colorful pixels and rainbow donkeys, there actually lies a notorious cynic and overall pessimist. I find it curious that pessimists get bashed for their gloomy outlook on life… after all, pessimists will never get let down and can only be pleasantly surprised when things to work out well, while it’s the optimists in life who are gulping down all the Prozac because life isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, kiddos….
My aim wasn’t to talk about the philosophy of how one sees the half full/empty glass, but rather the insane logic behind one of the most ridiculous tactics that’s used to fool people into believing they are more powerful and important than they really are. And for this post, I must start off with my all time favorite example of this type of reasoning…
Back in the not too distant past, I used to enjoy stopping by the local Dairy Queen for one of my favorite guilty pleasures, a hot fudge sundae (It’s pronounced SUN-duh around here) with nuts. This was back before a SUN-duh at DQ cost more than $4.00, and it’s been at least a few years since my last visit, so I’d shudder to think what they’re charging for one now. Anyway, underneath the drive thru window, they had one of those donation boxes where you could drop the change from your order if you so desired. I believe the charity being collected for was Children’s Miracle Network, but that’s neither here nor there so far as the point of my post is concerned. The sign on the donation box used to entice people to cut loose with what little change they may be getting back from the money-grubbing brazier read something like this….
IF EVERY OTHER CAR DONATED 25¢, THIS STORE COULD RAISE $2,500.
It didn’t say over what period of time it would take to raise that $2,500, a week, a month, a year, until the sun turned into a red giant…. who knows? It’s all mox nix anyway, the point is in the sneaky way they’re trying to mess with your head. Do YOU want to be that every other car who drives off without dropping anything but a Fancy Ketchup packet into the collection box? Do YOU want to be the one who keeps this store from raising $2,500? Do YOU want to be the one who has to explain to some dying kid that he can’t take a $2,500 trip to Disney World all because you decided that quarter you got back in change from your SUN-duh would be better spent getting your fortune read by a bathroom scale in a truck stop?
If, like me, you tend to ignore these pity boxes, let me reassure you that by driving away without flipping a bust of George Washington into the box, you are only dooming the store to collect a mere $2,499.75. By being a selfish asshole, CMN will now be a quarter short, so at worst, some dying kid may not be able to use the hospital pay phone to call his Aunt Mabel to tell her where she can shove the underwear she bought him for Christmas.
Seriously, that’s all you are “on the hook” for here is a damn quarter. And if you do choose to donate, well guess what…. it works the same way. Now that kid will be able to make his last call to chew out his stupid auntie, but he still won’t be going to Disney World unless every other car behind you does their part too….. and guess what! You have no control over that whatsoever….
No matter what you may want to think, you really are just one, insignificant little person who can’t do any more than you can do. And you know what? There’s nothing at all wrong with that! Remember this in the coming months when you’re reminded sixteen billion times how important it is for you to vote in November, because YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Unless you reside in Chicago, by showing up to vote, you have casted exactly one vote in elections that will undoubtedly be decided by thousands, and maybe even millions of votes. In the macro picture, a statewide election that is won by a mere 1,000 votes is a very close margin. But like it or not, we live in the micro world where your one measly little vote made absolutely no difference in that election result. You could have just stayed home and looked up Spongebob porn and the same guy would have won the election anyway.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote, so don’t start getting all patriotic on me. I’m just saying, look at it realistically. The only vote you can control is your own, and whether or not you choose to exercise it has absolutely no effect at all on what everyone else will do. Sometime between now and November 6th, someone, probably with crocodile tears in their eyes, will utter those dreaded words, “Well, what if EVERYONE ELSE just decided to stay home and not vote too?” Bitch, please…. I can’t control what EVERYONE ELSE does, and neither can you. The world is a random place, and the odds say that enough EVERYONE ELSE’s will get out and vote (or not vote) that the expected result is not going to change regardless of whether that sad plea was made or not.
And if you’re wondering what brought on this preachy
rant advice I decided to dole out today, it’s related to another application of this basic logical flaw that makes people think they alone can move mountains.
It’s no surprise that on a forum where everything is discussed, especially if it might piss off other people on the board, the controversy over Chik-Fil-A’s stand on gay marriage has come up. What business is it of ours what the head honchos at CFA think, some ask, and doesn’t this make the protests and boycotts silly? Not according to one poster, who bluntly stated that he was thankful to find out what CFA believes in, so that he can never patronize them and have his money go to support their causes.
Now think of this in terms of what I’ve just talked about here. Let’s assume Chik-Fil-A does indeed support nasty anti-gay organizations with the profits of their business. How much of the profits do you think would actually be donated to these horrible people? What percentage? 10%? I wouldn’t think it could be a large percentage, because aren’t businesses supposed to reinvest most of their profits into the company to keep it growing and make the stock price nice and lofty?
I really don’t know much about business, but I do know a lot about fast food since I eat at such establishments quite a bit. I’ll choose KFC since it’s a well known chain, and one that I usually visit three or four times a month. If it were to come out tomorrow that Col. Sanders, or at least the guy who has inherited his suit and beard, were funneling off part of the profits to Afghanistan to support al-Qaida, would I stop eating there?
Given the small percentage of my money I give KFC that would be going towards their net profit, and the percentage of THAT percentage that would be going overseas… my guess is that over teh course of even a whole year, the Taliban wouldn’t even be able to use my indirect contribution to them to take one of their camels for an oil change. And it doesn’t matter that everyone else’s contributions combined might buy them a nuclear scientist or two…. the fact is, I can only control what I give to KFC, and that’s just the reality of the situation. No matter how badass I might think I am because I have my own silly blog now that gets about 6 page views a day, there is no denying the fact that I can not singlehandedly stop the Colonel’s dastardly plans. So I might as well just order up another bucket of chicken and take it down in my bunker with me…..
So go ahead and order yourself up a Queer-hatin’ Cordon Bleu sandwich, and quit worrying about stuff that’s completely out of your control….