Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Dubious stats and unsigned compliments.

It’s Groundhog Day. As much fun and silliness as this holiday inspires, not to mention one of my favorite Bill Murray films (“Rise and shine, woodchuck chuckers!”[1]), it’s one of those things that we do despite all our own common sense. A national superstition, if you will. When you sneeze, polite members of society ask God to bless you. Why, class? Because they’re afraid that you just ejected your own soul through your nostrils.

Well, no, not likely. That sort of thinking died out with the medical malpractice of bleeding…but while the thought is gone, the behavior survives, much like the thought that a common North American rodent has the power of meteorological clairvoyance. And while many animals do have incredible powers that they use in their defense–the camouflage powers of chameleons, or the hot gases of the bombardier beetle, for example–I find myself hard-pressed to imagine a way that shadow-fear has contributed to the survival of the groundhog species.

I wonder how many other such beliefs there are in our collective conscious. Santa Claus, obviously.

Somewhere in Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania, I imagine that there’s a register kept under lock and key in the town hall that details the outcome of every single Groundhog Day since the tradition began (although I somewhat doubt that the details of that origin are common knowledge anymore). Which brings me to another thought I’ve been having, about our fascination with dubious statistics; “dubious” here being a word meaning “compiled without any real reason other than to have it” [2]. Generally, these stats are most often found in sporting event broadcasts, where legitimate and noteworthy stats such as the fact that Rich Gannon threw a record five interceptions in last week’s Super Bowl get mixed in with stats that you can only scratch your head over:

ANNOUNCER:This marks only the second time in history that a left-handed hitter has knocked in a home run in Fenway Park after first racking up three balls and one strike in the seventh inning of an exhibition game. Stand up, America! You’re viewing history!

Yesterday’s Columbia disaster prompted CNN to flash the following headline:

Disaster occurs 4 days after the 17th anniversary of Challenger explosion.

At which point I could only look at the screen and say, “What?”

This was posted as a comment for Friday’s entry:

Youre alive and still poignant, sweet and talented.
Good to know some things stay the same.
Actually, i never really learned the real definition of poignant. Wait a sec, ok…moving and touching.
Yes, still poignant.

Unsigned, no less. Two things…first of all, thank you for the compliments. Second of all, and if you’re still reading this, you know what I’m about to ask: Who is this?

Because chances are that I as well have been wondering about how alive you are, whoever you are, because as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, I’m a Google-happy madman who enjoys knowing that people he misses are still alive, and as long as he’s there, he’d like to know what they’re up to. However, Google doesn’t always find recent news of these people if it finds them at all.

I’m concerned that the use of the word “poignant” and the subsequent commentary about the word are part of an in-joke that we may have once shared, and that I may have forgotten, although you’re banking on it to clue me in to your identity. I apologize if that is the case, and hope that you won’t hold it against me enough to not let me know who you are.

Just let me know. I’d beg, but somewhere after college I found my dignity, which had run off with some floozy named Veronica and set up a small head shop in New Orleans. It came back after same floozy ditched my dignity for a voodoo houngun named Balthazar. And now I’ve said too much.

[1] Seeing this phrase in print makes it look like the disc jockey was giving a wake-up call to the sorts of people who throw woodchucks around.

[2] Apologies to Lemony Snicket for clear stylistic rip-off.

Current music: None, but The Man Who Knew Too Much is on the television behind me.


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This entry was posted on February 2, 2003 by in News of the World, Sports, Thoughts.
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