Explainers Anonymous™ – II

By Charles E. Smith | Bio


Explainers Anonymous is for people who can’t help explaining they are dedicated victims of circumstance.

Explaining,
like taking a drink, need not be not a problem. Telling a story to
entertain or teach is wonderful. Sometimes explanations are really
useful (such as in telling the doctor why your hand is bleeding) or
when they warn you of something (such as in looking both ways before
crossing the street because you might get killed). Sometimes they are
useful as long as everyone understands it’s an explanation—and only one
out of a hundred thousand possibilities.

It’s when I have to
explain that the cycle of addiction begins. That’s when 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 before me, thought she could make me happy by buying me
sweaters, and got us to have a child when I didn’t want one.”

What’s
worse is that every day I wake up into a sea of explanations. On
weekends, I turn on the television and find myself swimming 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 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 then 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 the 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. 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?  Everybody
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: they are either
trying to sell something or to get or maintain power.

Investment
companies are everywhere stimulating urges to fear or greed by blaring
out stock market reports of fast-made riches or tips on 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’s 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, anything from a sacred experience to an investment strategy
that worked. Then (always), they explained it and it became their
‘truth’. Other people who wanted to believe joined up and a certain
arrogance began to color the explanation. Václav 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, someone making tons of money, or
someone whom God talks to in the middle of the night while they take
dictation.

The need for Explainers Anonymous is intense and growing stronger. We now have five televisions sets in the house.

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