CRAP I THINK OF WHILE MOWING THE LAWN – #7

Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn

Volume 7

(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)

 

Interesting, if not deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

Mower and Statesman

 

Welcome to Volume 7 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn.

 

GREATEST OF ALL TIME

 

I’m not sure when it was that so many of us decided that we needed to determine who (or in some cases, what) was the greatest of all time in his/her/its respective category. This compulsion may have started with the great Muhammad Ali, who would famously and immodestly proclaim from a mountaintop, boxing ring or podium that he was “the greatest [fighter] of all tiiiiiiime.” I’m not sure if I believed him (Joe Louis? Rocky Marciano? Jack Dempsey? Gene Tunney?), although many did, and there was no way to objectively prove or disprove his claim.

The point is that these decisions are highly subjective. In football, while there are many statistics one can use to bolster one’s claim, there is no definitive way to prove that Tom Brady is greater than Peyton Manning, or Johnny Unitas, or even Babe Laufenberg. Now, you should probably be incarcerated without NFL Red Zone if you’d take Laufenberg over Brady, but there’s no way to prove that you’re wrong. Just as there’s no way to prove that my favorite movie of all tiiiiiime (It’s a Wonderful Life) is a better movie than one of my least favorites, Million Dollar Baby. The same offer of incarceration holds for those that would argue that the latter movie is better.

The second point is that, for certain people (like me) it’s almost impossible to not make these types of rankings and comparisons. I’ve ranked everything from movies to politicians to hottest female rock stars to cereals, and I’ll probably continue to do so. And yes, incurable me has even ranked my own Top 10 lists.

And so it was that last Sunday, several hours after posting my latest Crap I Think Of, Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic to win a record ninth French Open (tennis, for the unfamiliar) title. The title was his 14th major championship, leaving him just three short of his most famous rival, (Roger Federer’s) total. As Nadal has owned Federer in their head-to-head meetings, many believe that Rafa can already claim the unofficial title of Greatest of All Time – or GOAT, for short. It should be noted that Rafa is too modest to make such claims but many of his fans (and objective pundits) are more than happy to do so for him.

What is my take?  It’s very close between them, yet I don’t know if either of them has had a better career than a semi-modern era player named Rod Laver. Others may advocate for even older players, and you already get the point. There is no way to prove that someone is/was better than the other. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this. Until and unless…

people, essentially, start to lose their mind and set up a dichotomy where someone is either the greatest of all-time or, well, he sucks. I’ve heard this expressed as binary thinking, and in many respects binary thinking has possessed many of our brains. It’s become an all-or-nothing society, with very little nuance or grey. And not much useful grey matter, for that matter.

For example, LeBron James is nowhere near as great as Michael Jordan…he sucks! Roger Federer? He’s lost 24 of his 34 matches with Nadal? He sucks!  Million Dollar Baby?! That’s not a great movie. It sucks.

Well, sometimes even binary thinkers are right. It’s not exactly a burning issue, but Million Dollar Baby absolutely stinks. Even on ice.

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