**Bobwhite sits next to me in my creative writing class. The only thing that makes Bobwhite angry are people who believe in absolutes. He makes this declaration with absolute certainty.
It is a declaration that makes me mildly uncomfortable because, of course, I only believe in absolutes.
I absolutely believe that certain teenagers who tell you that they are “ready and able” to drive the family van, will, in fact, run that van off the road at fifty-miles per hour through a barbed wire cow fence—at the first available opportunity--causing four thousand, two hundred dollars worth of damage and an ulcer epidemic.
I absolutely believe that two-year olds, left on the back porch by themselves, when told not to eat the dog food, will eat the dog food after soaking it in the dog’s water.
I absolutely believe that college students, who do not pay taxes, car insurance, tuition, or their own meal allowances, are excited about the re-distribution of wealth—mostly other people’s.
Bobwhite believes that human beings don’t even know why they do what they do, but after they do it, they try to figure out why they’ve done what they did, so they’ll know stuff about why they do what they do for future doings. I don’t pretend to understand that sentence, but it's the kind of thinking that comes from being told that chemistry rules the world.
He believes that human beings are driven by chemicals, genetics, and reality television, and (for no apparent historical precedent) that the future looks brighter than the past, because of all the information available online, of course. If we can just stuff enough information into people, they will not want to rip-off the old folks' pension plans or sell drugs to the known world.
I remain skeptical—also menopausal. I believe that thieves with a lot of education are just educated thieves or Enron execs.
Bobwhite’s basic premise is that human beings have no actual ability to exhibit will power or self-control above that of the average poodle without the ability to Google.
Wanting to put his theory to the test, I asked him, “Do you mean to tell me that if I get the urge to smash your head in with a brick it won’t be my fault, but a combination of menopausal hormones, urban blight, and Irish angst.
Bobwhite said, “Exactly.”
When I get into these deep philosophical discussions the other students sit in a semi-circle starring at me to see if I will stroke out.
Turning to the semicircle of doom I said, “Girls, go get me a brick. I want to test out Bobwhite’s theory.”
I am serious.
Oh, those college kids are so adorable, but they’ve got a lot to learn. It’s true that the two-year old will eat the dog food, but she won’t eat it forever. It’s also true that teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to drive until they’ve joined the army or the Peace Corp. The truest absolute of all is that the fuzzy-wuzzy thinking of the young and freshly educated will sharpen right up as soon as someone they are closely related to decides it’s a hilarious idea to drive around with a fake bomb in the trunk of the family car. True story. Happened to a friend of mine.
Linda (Absolutely Me) Zern
** Name has been changed because I am not an absolute dweeb.