posted by dave on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 5:32 PM in category morals

This is something I've been thinking about for a while. Months, even. I've known that it was a subject worthy of an entry, but I just haven't been able to figure out how to tackle it.

This will be my final attempt. I'll either post whatever I come up with, or I'll forget the idea entirely.

Maybe some things just aren't meant to be entry topics.

Anyway, here goes.


Imagine a couple of people in a bar at 6:00. Go ahead and imagine a guy and a girl, if you would. It will make things easier.

In your mind, please also position the guy and the girl so that they're in each other's lines of sight. But they're not sitting together. Maybe they're at opposite ends of the room. But they can still see each other.

They each order a beer. Maybe an Upland Wheat for him, and a Guinness for her. Something fairly tame for each of them, but not the same beer. That would give them something in common, and that would just complicate things.

The guy sees the girl drinking her Guinness, and he wonders about her. He wonders if she knows that Guinness has one of the lowest alcohol percentages around, so maybe that's why she's drinking it. Maybe she has to work in the morning, so she's taking it easy. Or maybe she genuinely likes the taste of Guinness. Or maybe it's the only "exotic" beer that she's heard of, and she's a little afraid to try anything more adventurous. Or maybe she's intrigued by the Guinness Advertisements she's seen. Or maybe she's planning to be in the bar for a long time, so she's pacing herself. Or maybe she's going somewhere else later, and this beer is just something to drink while she waits for her friends to come and get her.

Across the room, the girl sees the guy, too. She sees him drinking his beer at 6:00, and she decides that he is an alcoholic and that she's repulsed by him.

At 7:00, the guy drains the last of his beer and moves behind the bar. His shift is starting. He'd heard that there might be something wrong with the Upland, but it tasted fine to him.

The girl pays her tab, barely concealing the look of disgust on her face. She wonders how the bar owner could have such an obvious alcoholic working for him. Then she decides that it's because the owner is an alcoholic, too.


Another venue this time. Let's make it a fancy restaurant. Different guy, different girl. They've been dating for a long time. They're having dinner.

Once the waiter has taken their orders, he leaves, and they sit in silence.

The guy looks at the girl, and he wonders why she's so quiet. He wonders if she's angry at him. Or maybe she's had a bad time at work. Or maybe she's contemplating an affair, or maybe already having one. He wonders if she's going to break up with him. He wonders why. He wonders how she'll answer him, if he ever gets around to asking. He wonders if he's just being paranoid - if maybe her silence has nothing to do with him. He replays the last several weeks in his head, trying to figure out if there's a problem or not. He wants tonight to be perfect, and he nervously taps his jacket pocket.

The girl looks at the guy, and decides that his silence is because he's cheating on her with that pretty blonde at his work, and that she hates him.

Finally, the guy breaks the silence. "Are you okay?" he asks. "You seem really quiet tonight."

"I'm fine," she answers. "There just wasn't anything to say."

"Okay," the guy says. He stands up shakily.

"Maybe this will give us something to talk about," he offers. Visibly shaking, he lowers himself to one knee and brings the box from his pocket.

"Sweetie," he croaks. "You are the love of my life. And I want to spend the rest of my life trying to make you as happy as you've made me these past several months. Will you marry me?"

The girl is shocked.

"Why don't you ask your other girlfriend to marry you?" she demands.

And she gets up and walks out.


The moral of each of these stories is that people who jump to conclusions suck.

The other moral is that people who cling their wrong conclusions suck hard.

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