Friday, March 22, 2013
Can You Say No?
In more extreme cases, the diseased person is unable to say "no" even in the most dire of circumstances. Let us suppose he is a married man, and lives in - oh, we'll make up a mythical city - Brookhaven, Georgia, and his wife poses a perfectly frank query such as does he think it's a good idea to knock out the walls, install roof-beams, and turn the chimney forty-five degrees to the right so it will face the entertainment center. Instantly images of fat fistfuls of cash flushing down the toilet appear in his mind, coupled with tableaux of fat contractors with greasy butt cracks applying jackhammers to brick and mortar, filling the house with migraine-inducing racket and clouds of dust. Evolution has spent billions of years equipping us to say "no" in such situations. Ask a typical marmoset or weasel this question, and he'll say "no" in a hot second, and yet this human, equipped with a so-called rational mind and a thorough command of the English language, will only be able to mutter, "Hmm, well, it's an interesting idea. Let me think about it."
The victim of this debilitating condition is actually not in control of his own vocal cords. He has the distinct intention of saying no, and instead comes out with, "I'll get back to you on that," or "Let me think about it," or even, "Maybe." No medical treatments exist as yet, besides which, sufferers who seek medical help thwart effective diagnosis by the very nature of their condition. A doctor will ask, "Have you been exercising - cutting back on your drinking - eating less red meat - like I told you?" and the patient will respond without hesitation.