Sunday, 2 January 2022

Catch 22

'F only in name, a year end from the rear end, two days in but still remarkably redundant, retrospectively unremarkable, less a history, less an homage, more an outlook or attitude toward two naught double two.
Gonna be the change and make my resolution, change subject to change at the whiff of a whim, what with personal precedent established way back when I could claim Catholic qualification by default of a sacrament yet to be forsaken. The precedent was a retroactive compromise around what I had given up for Lent, having originally gone with candy bars as my tribute to the temptation of a messiah meditating and marching through the desert toward his arranged execution. By Easter, the one they call Snickers had remained uneaten for the feast of the fast of forty days. So Snickers it was, Snickers it is, and Snickers it will forever be. At least it was that year.
In that same spirit it was decided today, not yesterday, or the day before yesterday, that today, not yesterday or the day before yesterday, is the day for this entry. Yesterday was the better day. Today is the best.
In that same spirit I resolve not to spout what I haven't spouted for a while, that being an oft spouted turn of phrase, which, as turns tend to, is something come to mean something else, assured on its way to being an established, well-documented and catalogued, standardised alternative for something, now something else, the way "literally" can also mean nothing at all. What is it we say we do... sprinkle? We sprinkle such things. Liberally. And illiterally. It doesn't matter. I can't count my own contradictions.
What I won't spout is not out of being peevishly aggrieved. At least that's not the reasoning, if reasoning can mean what I think it means. Can you feel the rationalisation coming? For what is rationalisation if not the pinnacle of reason!
There is very good reason not to spout this trite turn, and it's not because it's trite. It's not recognised as trite. Neither is it recognised for what it really means. By way of introduction to what I vow never to spout again until further notice, I ask you to consider the expression "a lot".

We say "a lot" a lot. I can only imagine a time when it would have conjured a literal sense in many of the people who heard it. "You mean 'a lot'?" "No. Not literally. Just give me a bunch." "Does it have to be in a bunch?"

Yet even back when you could buy a literal lot of weed for $17.50, nobody called it a lot of weed except maybe to say they thought it was a large amount. It has a sense even though it's not exact. A sense of proportion.
Whenever someone makes an assertion about 99% of something or someone,  the assumption, I assume, is of a virtual entirety. Place a "point nine nine nine" on it for greater precision. No reason pseudoscience should be any less precise than the real thing. I note the 99.9 claim in inverse frequency to someone's subsequent scepticism. In an age of amateurs eager to cite statistics they don't understand, this will not do.
I suggest that "99% of..." be replaced by "as far as I know", the rest of which is ninety-nine percent of everything else I'm sure of but won't be held to because it's just a throwaway expression passed off as near certainty ninety-nine percent of the time. And that's the last time you'll hear it from me.