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?
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.