I never speak in absolutes

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 17:18 PM.

There are a few words I studiously avoid, both in talk and type. Normally when anybody uses them in conversations or correspondences, my alarm bells go off and I tend to discount and drift away from the messages.

No, I’m not talking about cuss words, which truthfully are some of the most descriptive. I’m speaking of drop-dead absolutes such as “always” or “never,” a couple of common examples.

I’ve just never been a big fan of absolutes, which means more than a few philosophers believe that makes me “wishy-washy” by extrapolation. I couldn’t care less and leave weighty esoteric concepts relating to absolute truths and lies and realities, religions and good and evil to those deep thinkers.

My ocean of interest is very much shallower as you would probably suspect. I find degrees of shading in most things. And I believe what anybody doesn’t know generally outweighs what they do know or think they know.

Given my avoidance of absolutes, whenever a client asks if something is possible, my default answer is that about anything is possible if it doesn’t suspend immutable laws of physics or mathematics. Said another way, there are few things impossible.

You may think that silly on the surface since everybody intuitively knows all answers contain implied qualifiers such as “generally” or “normally.” But it’s my habit to take questions literally, which probably irritates many to no end.

When I get that “mad scientist” windblown look, my wife Ann captures my head with comb and scissors. Invariably the next day I’ll hear the same rhetorical question repeated, “Get a haircut?” My response to the literal question, “Nope, I got them all cut.”



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