At 85, dad is overripe crotchety squared. Some advice I hope to pass on to myself is don’t become dependent on your children. It’s not in the natural order of things. Or is it?
A devout contrarian, time’s passage seems only to strengthen the commitment. Having played tens of thousands of games of solitaire on his computer over the years, for some reason he recently began calling it “online solitaire”. It’s not online. It’s the same solitaire on the Windows Vista computer that came from his Windows XP computer. Literally. I copied the files. And what the fuck would be the point of “online solitaire” anyway? The final confabulation on this topic was his claim that the online solitaire was somehow cheating and that Microsoft had no interest in answering this accusation, but was only interested in charging money to open a support ticket.
Contrarianism is a losing game. Eventually thought processes are distorted. In a recent article The Atlantic on math education, the following logic problem was presented.
You have a drawer full of socks, each one of which is red, white, or blue. You start taking socks out without looking at them. How many socks do you need to take out of the drawer to be sure you have taken out at least two socks that are the same color?
Seems simple enough right? The answer, four, appears in the next paragraph. Dad had circled the answer and presented the magazine opened to that page, on his face a look of consternation. He could not agree that the answer was correct. Even when presented with a simplified version (drawer full of black and white socks), he refused to accept that n+1 selected socks (where n = number of colors) guaranteed a matched pair.
As a well-read college dropout, and aforementioned contrarian, dad had a lifelong mission to debunk basic tenets of mathematics and logic. And yet, his daily thinking was always extremely concrete. Irrational thinking was a primary target of his rants. With this Woody Allen School of Philosophy he dismissed the entire science of psychology. Though maybe his actual participation in the Milgram Experiment (he may have seen this ad in the New Haven Register when he was between jobs) had more to do with that. His story is that he refused to administer the shocks. I wonder if he collected his four dollars.
At any rate, I have dad to thank for my own outlook on life, which is one of anti-contrarianism. Yes, I proclaim this a THING: anti-contrarianism! I aspire to follow the code of improv, which is to say yes. Or yes, and …
And as I posted about 8 years back, I choose to ignore a vast amount of shit.