Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Could You Rephrase That

Limitless came out last weekend and topped the box office. No, I didn't see the movie, but I did see the myriad of commercials for the movie that flooded television. And in each commercial they always manage to say the phrase "...humans only use 20% of their brains." Normally I hear that it's 10%, but regardless it annoys the piss out of me. So, in honor of that, here are my top five phrases I hate:

1. We Only Use 10% Of Our Brains: I don't think I can criticize this any better than Cracked did, but this phrase has pissed me off long before I read that. Since high school I've known this stat was bull. We use all of our brain, we just don't use it all at once. Heck, there may even be parts of our brain where we don't even know what it does, but it's doing something.

I understand the appeal. Who doesn't want to think that locked within our brain is the secret to seeing through people's clothes? But, alas, it's not to be...because this phrase is utter BS.

2. I Don't Believe In Luck: I play poker. If in one night I take down huge pots because I have four-of-a-kind when my opponent has a full house and, later, I have a straight flush when my opponent has four-of-a-kind then I got lucky that night. Now, I understand the idea that no one is inherently luckier than anyone else or that nobody can be "born unlucky." But luck, chance, randomness, whatever you want to call it, does in fact exist.

3. It's A Free Country: I suppose the saying itself doesn't bother me aside from the fact that it's more accurate to say "it's a freer country." I mean, last time I checked I still can't kill someone just for looking at me funny (if only). Also, I'm not really free to rob a bank or even yell fire in a crowded theater. So while the USA provides more freedoms than most countries, it's still not completely free.

But, really, what bothers me the most about this saying is that people just use it as an excuse to be dicks. When the founding fathers decided to make this country "free," having you drive donuts in my front lawn and then yell to me from the driver side window "Hey, it's a free county!" before throwing an empty beer can at my face and driving off is probably not what they had in mind.

4. Live With No Regrets: I understand the sentiment of this phrase. Stop dwelling on your mistakes, move on, look towards the future, blah, blah, blah. But the fact is if you live with no regrets you're either lying to yourself or just plain stupid.

When I wake up in the middle of night and go to the bathroom but decide to keep the lights off so I don't hurt my eyes Gizmo-style only to have my urine splash back at me due to the lid of the toilet being down....well let's just say I can't NOT regret forgoing turning on the lights.

To say you live your life without regrets is to say you don't make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes...except for Optimus Prime. But he doesn't count...he's a robot.

5. Live Like There's No Tomorrow: Needless to say, living with maxed out credit cards and no pants isn't a viable long term life plan.

7 comments:

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Hah! Teebore Hannah and I just had the "20% of your brain" usage conversation a few weeks ago.
And i agree with everything you said. Except i would classify Optimus Prime as a "Robut". But to each his own

Anne said...

ha! this is awesome
Sarah beat me to correcting your 'robut' spelling mistake

I read a book once where society had started allowing people to have children only by a lottery system.
after generations of this they had bred super lucky people because only lucky people would get to breed, and then those offspring would have to be lucky (and then would breed with other lucky offspring). It was a fascinating thought

Teebore said...

Who doesn't want to think that locked within our brain is the secret to seeing through people's clothes?

Yeah, I have a particular sore spot for that one, since I fell for it hook, line and sinker back in the day (and even wrote it into an early draft of a novel). In any case, that Limitless commercial was like fingernails on a chalkboard every time I heard it.

having you drive donuts in my front lawn and then yell to me from the driver side window "Hey, it's a free county!" before throwing an empty beer can at my face and driving off is probably not what they had in mind.

Only because I know of some of the issues you had with your one-time neighbors, but is that example drawn from personal experience?

Everyone makes mistakes...except for Optimus Prime.

I dunno...what about Hot Rod?

Dr. Bitz said...

Anne - It is an interesting concept. I do believe that confidence and a positive attitude can make someone appear to be luckier than someone else, but it won't literally affect the odds of something happening.

Teebore - The fact is you're either an Autobot or Decepticon. Optimus Prime doesn't determine what decal gets slapped on what robot.

Blam said...


@Anne: I read a book once where society had started allowing people to have children only by a lottery system.

Then everyone threw rocks at them?

Blam said...


The phrase that I hate, hate, hate is "I'm giving 110%" (or more). No you're not.

Look, I get the point, but I promise I'm not simply being a pedantic prick when I say this. I don't just object that — unless you're talking about a percentage in relation to something else, which you're not — you cannot by definition give more than your full capacity of energy, time, effort, concentration, focus, whatever-the-hell. You are not giving 110%, or 200%, or 1,000%, because I'm listening to you and you don't even sound all that committed.

Part of my issue with this is admittedly that I've been dealing with a debilitating chronic illness for a decade now that means I'm pretty much never giving my all at any given time out of self-preservation, to an even lesser extent than any of us really does. Honestly though, I truly despise hearing people throw off this hyperbole not only because it's ever more meaningless the bigger the nonsensical number but because it's frankly demeaning to the very concept of truly bearing down on something and giving it 100%. Very few of us ever do that, for anything short of making sure we don't drop a baby we're holding on it's head, but that's only human; we multitask, we compartmentalize, we get distracted yet still function.

VW: ruckwa — The writer of Whiteout at peace in Japan.

Teebore said...

@Blam: The phrase that I hate, hate, hate is "I'm giving 110%" (or more). No you're not.

That one bugs me too. Mainly because it's the kind of nonsensical pablum self help gurus and amateur coaches dispense ("give 110%") instead of providing any real advice.

My favorite word on the matter comes from, of course, The Simpsons, when Mr. Burns hires a hypnotist to work with his team of MLB pros turned softball ringers:

Hynpotist: You are all very good players...
Team:We are all very good players...
Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville...
Team: We will beat Shelbyville...
Hypnotist: You will give one hundred and ten percent...
Team: That's impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give...