Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obfuscational Explanations

To many of you the title of my Exhortation is unclear. That is the point. To obfuscate is to render obscure, unclear or unintelligible. Let me illustrate.
         “Johnny, did you knock over that lamp? Were you guys throwing balls inside again?”
“Mom, me and Billy were playing football outside and then we came inside. Billy wanted to throw the ball. I knew he couldn’t throw straight so I tried to warn him about that. After a while we noticed the lamp was broke. Not exactly sure how it happened. Guess he’s not too smart.”
         “You are right, Johnny, Billy can’t throw straight. He’s not yet two years old! How did the lamp get broken?”
         “Well mom, as I was saying, Billy wanted me to throw him the ball and he is not that good at catching, so I was trying to be careful, like you said, but the lamp got in the way and Billy didn’t catch the ball.
         “I didn’t say be careful throwing the balls inside, I said, Don’t throw the balls inside. So, you broke it?”
         “Well, not exactly. The football made an unexpected bounce off of Billy’s head.”
         “Johnny, I don’t care so much about the lamp. It’s just a thing and now its broken. No big deal. But you broke the lamp and then you lied about it. Go up to your room. I’ll be up in a minute.”
         “But mom, wait, I didn’t lie. I can explain.”
         “You have. I’ll be up in a minute. Try to get the real story figured out. And, uh, while you’re thinking, grab the wooden spoon out of the drawer.”

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