A Catholic priest and a Methodist pastor from two local churches are standing by the side of the road, feverishly pounding a handmade sign into the ground with a large rock. The sign reads: “The End is Near! Turn Yourself Around Now Before It’s Too Late!”
As a car speeds past them, the driver yells, “Leave us alone, you religious nuts!”
From the curve they hear screeching tires and a big splash. The pastor turns to the priest and asks, “Do you think the sign should just say ‘Bridge Out’?”
Have you ever met a person who has a knack for complicating things? The other day, as some of us were visiting-while-distancing on our deck, a woodpecker began thumping away on a nearby tree. “Jon” was the first to locate the intruder. “He’s right there,” pointing to where he spotted the bird. None of us could follow his finger’s guide. “Right there. Go up to the first branch. Then it splits a little and goes a different direction. Follow that aways and then go right. To the left of that is the bird, hiding behind the leaves.”
T.M.I. Now it was my turn. I simply followed the sound of the pecking…and put on my teacher hat. “Follow the trunk to the height of our deck. Where the first branch splits to the left, follow it about five feet…” Specifics.
You get what I’m saying if you ever have tried to learn a new card game when the explainer cannot start at the beginning or dumb it down. My frustrations are in high gear whenever we play games with a certain, unnamed family member named Dave who has a tendency to assume that we get what he is saying. Although I’ve played the game 100 times, even I am confused. Most times, our kids or grandkids or friends will turn to me and ask for an interpretation…a dumbed-down interpretation. (I do not take that personally.)
Recently, I’ve been asked to give my opinion on a doomsday video that is circulating, prompting people to question if we are in End Times, and last night a friend forwarded an email in which a leading doctor proposed the Covid-19 is a conspiracy to depopulate the world. Both were way above my retired paygrade, so I forwarded them to brilliant friends who could “dumb them down” for me and give me their take on what they heard.
I quickly learned that some people are incapable of simple explanations. There was one, however, whose brilliance did not deter her from speaking at my level. (No comments necessary.) Line by line, she presented facts opposing what the reader had presented. Analysis such as “a sweeping generalization without one shred of evidence” or “If truth is subjective then each group has their own truth,” etc. were specific to the writer’s critique. Perfect! I copied and pasted her response to my doubting friend…who answered, “So what if truth is subjective?” Round and round we go.
After several days of watching videos, seeking experts’ opinions and attempting to explain the fallacies in what I was seeing/reading, I knew it was time for something drastic. The “bridge is out” story gave me my answer. People needed to “turn themselves around before it’s too late.” Period. I would do what I do best, dumb down my answer and share this: “I want to focus only on Jesus, and every minute I spend analyzing end-of-the-world theories is one less minute I have to think about him.”
Actually, that’s not dumbing it down at all. That might be the smartest thing I’ve said in my entire life.