Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Overanalyzing Stupid Questions

Some people are blessed with the ability to laugh at dumb jokes. Other people are slightly less fortunate, and plain corny jokes produce nothing more than a cold stare. People that laugh at dumb jokes are easily entertained and generally affable, while those who can't find humor in cute puns are hard to impress and difficult to befriend. I happen to not fit either of these categories. When I hear a corny joke I am genuinely entertained, and I typically give plenty of laughs. However, if I see any illogical points associated with the humorous tidbits I make sure its author is aware of them. First comes the laugh, and then comes the critique. People find themselves in a puzzling situation. Should they tell me their jokes or should they not? Most people appreciate my laughing, but few appreciate the follow up commentary. Although I believe I have been gifted with an appreciation for stupid jokes, my over-analysis needs to be dealt with.

A good example of my over-analysis of jokes took place a few weeks ago during a train ride. While on the train I was overhearing a few loud girls talking about random things. My ears perked up when I heard one of them ask a theoretical question that sounded like it would introduce a pun. "What would you do if you were stuck in a car and you had a baseball bat?" the girl asked. Before I could hold myself back, the over-analysis power was already in full force. I realized that since the obvious answer was to smash the windows with the baseball bat, it was obviously not the correct answer. Then I thought of a stupid but slightly amusing answer. Could it be that the answer is just to unlock the door? I thought this could not be the answer because it would violate the premise of the question. If you are really stuck, you can't just unlock the door. The other girls said that they would smash the windows open. Then the girl replied: "Why would you smash the windows? Just unlock the door!" At that point I realized that I had overanalyzed the joke. I also realized that a better solution would have been to put the keys in the ignition and drive off. If stuck doesn't really mean stuck, anything can be the answer.

A few days later I was going out for pizza with a friend of mine when the same question came back to haunt me. This friend of mine was trying to test my personality to see how I would react in dire circumstances. He came up with a brilliant question. Unfortunately, I had not learned my lesson regarding my over-analysis of theoretical questions. "Chaim," he asked. "What would you do if you were trapped in a room and you had no way of getting out?" Without even giving the question much thought I already had the answer. I had overanalyzed this question days earlier. I told him I would do absolutely nothing. Before I could explain my deep analysis I was enduring a series of insults belittling my foolishness and laziness. I knew it was too late to save myself, but I figured I would give it a try. "What would you do?" I asked. He answered in a very passionate manner. "I would yell and scream, I would start praying really fervently, and I would bang hard on the door." Then I asked him why he would bother doing those things if it was impossible to escape. He brushed away my point, and told me not to overanalyze stupid questions.

I have learned that acting illogically is very important in certain circumstances. When being told corny jokes it's always nice to just give a little laugh and ignore any logical flaws. After hearing an inspiring story, common courtesy tells me that I should at least pretend to be emotionally moved. It shouldn't matter if the story sounds like a commonplace occurrence. Overanalyzing may lead to logical conclusions, but logical conclusions are not always the end all.


  1. excellent observation. here's one for you: what would you do if you were trapped in a car with a baseball bat and a person who told illogical jokes incessantly? ...my guess is you'd smash his/her head in with the baseball bat and then wonder with preponderance how such a situation came about altogether and why you keep winding up getting stuck in places.

  2. If you hadn't used "he" when describing your pizza friend, I would've thought that maybe you were on a date and she was doing a test on your personality... then when i got to the part when your friend says (s)he would yell and scream and bang on the door, it would've removed all doubt...

  3. I love your blog. I just found it and have been enjoying it tremendously.

    I am adding you to my list of favorites.

    Hasya Ya'ara