Explainers Anonymous

13 min read

Explaining, like taking a drink, need not be not a problem. Telling a story to entertain or teach is wonderful. It’s when I have to do it that the cycle of addiction begins.  I immediately become a victim of the explanation.  “I have to tell you why Rob is such a bad person.” “We got divorced because she was always working, put her friends in front of me, thought she could make me happy by buying me sweaters, and got us to have a child when I didn’t want one.”  Explainers Anonymous is for people who can’t help explaining why they are dedicated victims of circumstance  Sometimes, explanations are really useful such as in telling the doctor why your hand is bleeding. Sometimes they are useful as long as everyone understands it’s an explanation, and only one out of a hundred thousand possibilities. Sometimes, they are useful as warnings, such as in “ look both ways before crossing the street because you might get killed.”

What’s worse is that everyday I wake up into a sea of explanations. On weekends, I turn on the television and find myself in channels  of religious explanations about how the world was created, who God is, what he wants from us and how I better be good or else.  Some religious people blow themselves up as acts of terrorism explaining that they can get into heaven faster.  Others say that there is no God and all we have is ourselves and have intelligent explanations for that.  Being addicted to explanations myself, I want to believe one of them but there are so many I get confused and keep finding holes in what they say.

Then, there are Democrats and the Republicans. I listen to Rush Limbaugh, the talk show host, whenever I can.  I’m fascinated by the way the man thinks. He is very intelligent, has an explanation for everything and it’s always the same explanation. Conservative people and plans are good and the Liberal people and plans are bad. Rush can find something wrong in the way Hillary Clinton feeds her cat. The Democrats are no better. All their explanations are aimed at proving that they are okay and Republicans are not. Do they think I’m stupid?  Every body has clay feet but their explanations always make the speaker right and their adversaries wrong.  I wish they would all find something else to talk about.  It all comes with an ulterior motive which is to sell something or to get or maintain power.

Investment companies are everywhere stimulating urges to fear or greed blaring out from stock market reports of fast made riches or how to avoid quick losses from plunging markets.  Mostly, you can’t believe the explanations of anyone who is selling something. It’s not evil. It’s just marketing talk. They are only telling me the good part. It is hype aimed at justifying their point of view and business interest. Plus, while explanations about why things happen or don’t in the market are usually spoken with conviction, they are often wrong and the same reason is sometimes given as to why things get better or worse. It’s the same with any advertising, public relations,  women talking about men, men talking about women, and new age religions holding hands in circles desperately  seeking salvation by other means. My list is endless.

What they all have in common is the addiction to explanation. Often, maybe always, they began with a genuine experience of something profound or useful, from a sacred experience to an investment strategy that worked. Then, always, they explained it and it became their “truth.” Other people who want to believe joined up and a certain arrogance began to color the explanation. Vaclav Havel, the great Czech politician and writer said that every great idea in history has gone wrong when people became arrogant about it.  Still, once in a while a saint comes along who isn’t arrogant at all and by their example proves the worth of the cause. This could be some nice lady who lost 150 pounds using their explanation or someone making tons of money or someone who God talks to in the middle of the night while taking dictation. The need for Explainers Anonymous is intense and growing stronger. We now have five televisions sets in the house.

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