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Who fired that shot? (12/12/2005)
By Janet Lewis Burns

Every one of us, if we live long enough, will learn the exact same thing numerous times during one lifetime (and not even know it).

The most compelling thing about "TRUTH" is that only a fool or an ignoramus would question it - but that's a matter of personal opinion.

Is it "truth or consequences" or "truth and consequences?" Depends on which side of the brain is tuned in.

I'm one of those understanding, empathetic souls who often finds myself on both sides of a debate. What does it mean when they say, "You're talking out of both sides of your mouth?" Wishy-washy? Menopausal? Too Minnesota nice?

You're a ventriloquist? A politician? Terminally confused? I'd prefer to think it's a sign of a deep and open-minded thinker. (Or would that be stinker?)

I admit, there are occasions when such a tendency can cause major bouts of indecision: when casting a vote, while trying to figure out how Judge Judy will rule on one of her obnoxious hearings, if your kid is the bully or the victim, or when trying to determine whether a certain new comedy sitcom on TV is funny or not.

Quotes, though often brilliant, don't always ring true to others. Here's one credited to Nicolas Chamfort: "Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live."

If I disagree, am I wrong or is good old Chamfort out to lunch on this one?

I hope I don't lose some readers by coming clean on this, but that new television show "The Office" speaks to me. I love dark humor, sometimes so disguised that its undetectable.

Truth can be destructive and hurtful, but they say that if its genuine you'll know it. Someone named Czeslaw Milosz said a mouthful. (Sorry, I have no way to verify that this quote was never literally uttered by another human prior to Milosz's declaration.)

He shoots off his mouth, saying, "In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." (It all depends on what he means by the word "a.")

"Either/or" conundrums can seem like trick questions in stressful moments - like what's to think about? These fall under the category of "all right already - I don't have all day!" "Give me liberty or give me death?" "Going up or down?"

"Trick or treat?" "Plain or ala mode?" "On the rocks or straight up?" "What's in your wallet?" "Got milk?" "Male or female?" "Where in the world is Matt Lauer?"

"One size fits all" queries are more or less givens: "Do you take this woman...?" "What part of NO don't you understand?" "Who would like to lick the spoon?" "Peek-a-boo, where are you?"

"Who put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bop?" Snicker, snicker, "Didn't they have your size?" "What? You were expecting the real tooth fairy?" "Who shot Cock Robin?" (PETA's ongoing lawsuit against Mother Goose.)

The most asked question might by "Why?" In that case, the most popular reply would be "I don't know."

The Pinocchio syndrome is usually outgrown by adulthood. It's as clear as the nose on his face, you won't catch a 16-year-old whining, "But Mommy, everyone else is doing it." Less likely, "It wasn't my fault. He made me do it." (Liar, liar, pants on fire!)

Some questions defy a reasonable answer: "Who cares?" "Did we get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?" "Who knows?" "Who do you think you are?" "Is there no justice for Cock Robin?"

I apologize if any portion of this sensitive subject matter offended anyone. Is "pardon me" a question?

The truth of the matter is, trivial trivia may not challenge the intellect, but its a simple way of giving the same old yatta, yatta a break.

You know what I mean? 


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