Monday, February 20, 2012


 If we are Facebook friends and you posted something along the lines of "Just believe in yourself, nothing is impossible!" at some point then you probably don't like me that much anymore.  Sure, right at the start when I replied "Believe all you want, impossible things are impossible" you were probably still high enough on positive thinking to to playfully challenge me to name something impossible.  See that was your biggest mistake.  I am an angry zen master and I take challenges like that pretty seriously as you no doubt figured out by the third page of my subsequently posted list of absolutely impossible things.

Look, I get that it was a pretty douche-y thing for me to do and I understand why you don't want to talk to me anymore.  I would apologize if I thought I could mean it at all.  Thing is I'm not sorry.  I wasn't sorry the first time it happened, I wasn't sorry the subsequent times it happened and smart money is on me never being sorry for any of it, ever.  Can't help it, this just brings out the worst in me.  For some people it's neglecting to use apostrophes or using "ironic" incorrectly, for others it's pronouncing "espresso" as "expresso".  For me - unfortunately for our damaged friendship - it's people saying "nothing is impossible".

Now I'm not going to go off on one of my fun rants about how pointless and destructive positive thinking (or its retarded cousin The Secret) is.  I think I've done enough of that.  Positive thinking has led to an epidemic of narcissism and entitlement.  We have an entire industry built around the fact that people believe they can do anything they set their mind to, no matter how untalented they may in fact be.  Not trying to be alarmist but all this endless self affirmation will destroy us all.  Seriously, when you start talking about how just by believing hard enough you can achieve the impossible, this is what you look like to me:

Yes, that is you, believing in yourself and looking like an idiot because of it!  Deeeeep breath.  Sorry, I got sidetracked there for a moment and started ranting again.  Said I wasn't going to do that, didn't I?  Right so all I really wanted to say that it's not so much the positive thinking bullshit that made go off on your Facebook status.  Sure, I despise it (as my brighter readers may have been able to deduce by now) but that wasn't it.  It was the fact that you said something really stupid when you said the impossible was possible.  Look, that simply isn't true!  If you can do it then it was never impossible!  It's a bit like that cheesy line from Roadhouse when Swayze says "Pain don't hurt".  Because, well actually, yes it does!  That's why we call it "pain".  If pain doesn't hurt then what do you call something that hurts?  Gah!  Sorry, that's a completely different rant!  Where was I?  Oh, right.  Impossible means something that cannot happen or cannot be done.  It does not mean something that is hard or improbable or slightly tricky to master.  Impossible means impossible.  If we don't use words right then we may as well just start inventing new words all the time and language would cease to mean anything and CIVILIZATION ITSELF WILL END!  Is that what you want?  Is it??

Yeah, didn't think so!  Getting a job, riding your bike to work, losing that extra weight, finding a parking space in the mall - none of these things are impossible.  Building a condo on the sun, running faster than the speed of light or literally consuming your own bodyweight in cheesecake - these things are actually impossible.  Which is why you can't do them.  Because they are impossible!  And that's what the word means!

In closing, here is a little poem I first heard on The Benny Hill show a long time ago that have always helped me to understand the distinction.  Perhaps it will help you out too! 

Benny Hill

They said that it could not be done,
He said "Just let me try."
They said, "Other men have tried and failed,"
He answered, "But not I."
They said, "It is impossible,"
He said, "There's no such word."
He closed his mind, he closed his heart...
To everything he heard.

He said, "Within the heart of man,
There is a tiny seed.
It grows until it blossoms,
It's called the will to succeed.
Its roots are strength, its stem is hope,
Its petals inspiration,
Its thorns protect its strong green leaves,
With grim determination.

"Its stamens are its skills
Which help to shape each plan,
For there's nothing in the universe
Beyond the scope of man."
They thought that it could not be done,
Some even said they knew it,
But he faced up to what could not be done...
And he couldn't bloody do it!


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