[Paleopsych] WP: What If Gene Were a Genius?: Oh, never mind . . .
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Mon Oct 10 01:09:02 UTC 2005
What If Gene Were a Genius?: Oh, never mind . . .
By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, October 2, 2005; W32
Critics sometimes complain that my columns lack intellectual depth. So
today I thought I would examine fundamental epistemological questions
of life in a contextual fashion, by postulating alternative realities
and extrapolating likely results.
What if Freud had been a woman?
Sex would not be considered the primary force that drives human
behavior. Instead, it would be Fear of Having a Large Behind. All men
would be haunted by a condition known as "penis shame." The mind would
not be divided into the Id, the Ego and the Superego but the
Shoe-Desire Region, the Weeping Center, and the
Also, sometimes a dried apricot is just a dried apricot.
What if wishes were horses?
Then beggars would ride. But so would everyone else. We would each
have, like, 7,000 horses. They would completely paralyze civilization,
consuming all vegetable matter in a week or less. Continents would
rise several feet, just from accumulated poo. And anytime anyone
wished for no more horses, another horse would appear. The world would
end in a terrifying, thundering apocalypse of horses, is what would
What if Hitler had beaten us to the bomb?
Humor wäre heutzutage verboten, und Humoristen würde man in der
What if Shakespeare had been born in Teaneck, N.J., in 1973?
He would call himself Spear Daddy. His rap would exhibit a profound,
nuanced understanding of the frailty of the human condition, exploring
the personality in all its bewildering complexity: pretension, pride,
vulnerability, emotional treachery, as well as the enduring triumph of
love. Spear Daddy would disappear from the charts in about six weeks.
What if our thoughts scrolled across our foreheads, like a TV news
All men would be incarcerated for public lewdness, conspiracy, fraud
and crimes against humanity.
What if, as originally predicted, heavier-than-air flight had actually
Rocket-propelled blimps. Travel would take a little longer, but the
9/11 plot would have failed, comically.
What if celebrities were punished by God every time they took money to
endorse a product they don't use?
It's happening already! Consider Rafael Palmeiro, who did those
obnoxious ads for Viagra even though he claimed he didn't need it and
hadn't used it. Now he's ruined.
Is this, finally, empirical evidence for the existence of the deity?
It is hard to deny.
What if all snowmen could walk and talk, like Frosty?
They'd be gone as soon as we made them. You think snowmen would sit
around here just to entertain kids, waiting until the first warm spell
melted them? No way. Responding to some primitive instinct for
survival, they'd hoof it for Antarctica, or climb Kilimanjaro. The
only time anyone would ever see a snowman is by climbing a mountain.
We'd expect them to be gurus, and ask them about the meaning of life.
But they would just say things like, "Me want toy." Snowmen are
What if you could smell air? And it smelled like B.O.?
That would be real bad.
What if the wheel had never been invented?
Even worse mileage for SUVs.
What if the U.S. Constitution required presidential candidates to
campaign wearing only a sombrero and a cummerbund?
The only people who would run for president would be shameless,
contemptible, power-mad, ego-crazed, narcissistic exhibitionists. So,
basically, this one's a wash.
What if dogs were as dumb as chickens, but chickens were as smart as
No one would notice the difference in dogs, but we'd feel a lot worse
about continuing to eat all those plump, delicious chickens.
What if there were a doomsday Web site, where if any-one logged on, it
would instantly annihilate the world in a fiery inferno? And what if
the url were published in a news-paper? You know, something like "Log
on to www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/endofworld.html and the
world will end?" How long would it take some irresponsible jackass to
Probably no more than three sec
*Humor would be illegal today, and humor writers would be taken out
back and shot.
Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is weingarten at washpost.com.
Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon at www.washingtonpost.com.
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