Minds are like parachutes

I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Minds are like parachutes: they only work when they're open."  At the next red light, I rolled my window down and asked the driver whether she yanked the fucking ripcord when she cut me off a half mile back.  Based on her driving, her parachute is more like that hydrogen zeppelin that caught fire.  Whoever graded her driver's ed test must have had one big, open fucking mind and a parachute the size of Rosie O'Donnell's trousers.  Here's an idea I hope she'll meet with an open mind: learn the rules of the road and follow traffic statutes.  Then you can impart your unsolicited pearls of wisdom on fellow drivers.  I put more stock into people's advice when they're not endangering my life while they chat into their cell phones.

Minds only work when they're open.  This is poor counsel.  We have too many open-minded people and they're to blame for most of our problems.  Before you object, ask yourself whether we have too few or too many gullible people.  Remember we are a nation that spends millions on bottled water, Fen Shui consultants, palmistry, and Glade Plug-in air fresheners.  Open-mindedness gives rise to gullibility.  If you open the cognition valve too far, crap of all sizes squeezes through the pipes.  Then your brain becomes a pool of turds and debris and you develop an appetite for “reality” television programming and The Daily Show.  So much for open-mindedness.

Sometimes an open-mind is a virtue.  I try to keep an open mind whenever I'm at the Chinese buffet.  You must force yourself to sample food from this bin and that one if you're to discover new and delicious concoctions of Chinese delicacy.  Don't trust your first impression.  Much of what you see at a Chinese buffet looks about as appetizing as Chinese water torture.  I swear those people butcher food as badly as they butcher the Eeengrish language.  But it tastes great.  I owe my affinity for ethnic foods to my open mind.  But I close it back up again after I read the fortune cookie and pay the bill, because outside the Golden Dragon is an ocean of bullcrap draining into open mental manholes.

Open-mindedness is useful only for subjective matters: art, music, writing, religion, the collective work of Neil Diamond.  But many other things aren't subjective.  They're objective.  They're facts.  We don't ask anybody to keep an open mind when adding two and two.  We needn't keep an open mind when studying historical records, principles of thermodynamics, biology or the best strategy for Deal or No Deal.  Even social and political issues can be objective.  When you're watching a documentary on Hitler's Third Reich, should you keep an open mind?  Hey, maybe those poor Nazis got a bad rap.  Aren't we being awfully judgmental?  Nonsense.

The parachute metaphor is bunk, too.  Consider what happens if you open your parachute at the wrong time.  You get sucked out of the plane prematurely.  Your chute tangles in the propeller and your diced corpse plummets to earth.  If you'd kept your parachute open from the beginning, you wouldn't have even made it to the plane.  You would have suffered death by strangulation after your parachute tangled on the drinking fountain.  How's that for an epigram?

  Here lies a jumper in his chute, bound.
  He never made it off the ground.
  He left it open, like his mind.
  Propellers diced up his behind. 

The way I see it, if an idea is any good, our minds will open up despite our efforts to keep them closed.  I can still remember my first fried Twinkie, my first episode of Sex and the City, my mini-Mac, my first toke on a fatty, and my first murder by bare-handed strangulation -- I didn't want to like any of these things.  They were rubbish.  But the facts chiseled through my rock head and kicked a foot into my mind's doorway.  Hey, a mixed metaphor.  Cool.  Anyway, even if the world is chock full of close-minded people, there's no keeping a witty, sophisticated HBO sit-com featuring four New York women down.

Let me suggest a better metaphor. Minds are like strip bar doormen: They're only as good as their ability to bounce the riffraff.


Rox said...

So, basically what you're saying is people who have bumper stickers are douche nozzles, right?

Dumbest product ever? Touchless handsoap. You know, because two seconds after you touch a soap dispenser, you WASH your hands.

Jennifer Fabulous said...

"Here's an idea I hope she'll meet with an open mind: learn the rules of the road and follow traffic statutes. Then you can impart your unsolicited pearls of wisdom on fellow drivers."

That is honestly the most best quote I've read in a while. And this post is genius. There is nothing I could say here that you haven't already eloquently (and hilariously) stated. All I can do is virtually bow down and say well done, LBB. Well done. :)

Nadine Hightower said...

Amen brother!

Ashley Rose said...

I love reading your blog. You always have something interesting and funny to say and the cast majority of the time, I completely agree with you.

SQT said...

This is why I love you. I can't tell you how many times I have ranted on about reality TV-- I despise it.

I never really understood people who put bumper stickers on their car. First, they always stick it right on the paint -- which is stupid to begin with. And they they frequently put their politics on display, which is a good way to get your car keyed. It's like they want their car to become a worthless pile of crap as soon as possible. I guess you just have to be an all-around idiot to use your car to express your philosophy on life.

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

Wait a tic . . . You're criticizing people who watch reality TV and the Daily Show and you watch Sex in the City? Oy vey, my friend. Oy. Vey. ;)

Budd said...

The poem sells this post. Minds are like treadmills, they will generally sit in the basement unused.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

The only good thing about bumper stickers (especially the high and lofty "I've got news for YOU" type) is that I get a good laugh from them.

XLMIC said...

I'm laughing so hard that I can hardly leave this comment. It is so hard living in the Open-Minded capital of the Universe... you have NO idea :P

Sorry 'bout the no hair-tossing yesterday... but I did run down the street dressed like a nun.

Sandra said...

How do you even come up with this deep and insightful commentary. I bet you don't sleep right? That's it, right? You're one of those people that can function off of an hour and a half of shut eye. Jealous!

Penny Lane said...

I think the goal is to appear open minded, without actually having to do so.

Memphis Steve said...

The people who proudly preach the importance of an open mind rarely apply their beliefs to themselves. Usually what they mean is, "don't tell me I'm a great big whore because I sleep with anyone and everyone. Be open minded and accept me for my whoreness or else you're a right-wing, narrow-minded, capitalist, bourgeois, fundamentalist, judgmental, Republican asshole." Which translates to: I can judge you, but don't you judge me back or else you aren't open-minded. Bumpersticker slogans usually require a minimum amount of thought and logic which is why they translate so well into political campaigns.

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

OMGosh! You are so right! You and my husband should sit down and have a couple of drinks together! I am forwarding him this post. Hilarious!
And I love the bouncer analogy. You're right, much better than the open parachute.

MiMi said...

I like the ones who say, "I'm so open minded! I'm a peace, love hippie! Oh. You're a Christian who is pro life? You're EVIL!"
Power of discernment is highly UNDER rated.
Good post. :)

MiMi said...

Or people who get their "news" ONLY from The Daily Show. Guess what. He's a commentator. A funny one, but not a REAL one, even though he makes some good points nonetheless. Okay. I'm done.