Yes or No, Existentially Speaking

by Bernard McCormick Wednesday, June 26, 2024 No Comment(s)

Those who follow public affairs are familiar with public figures being demanded to answer complicated questions in a simple way. Example:

Senator Magpie: "Senator Target, are you directly responsible for all the problems of the world? Just answer yes or no.

Senator Target: Yes or no.

Sen. Magpie: What kind of answer is that?

Sen. Target: You asked me to answer just yes or no.  I answered yes or no.

Sen. Magpie: I see, you're being a wise guy. Let me rephrase. Without answering yes or no, just answer yes or no to the question - are you responsible for everything bad in the world.

Sen. Target: Well, you have asked an existential question that requires an existential answer. If you speak existentially, when it comes to the end of the day, and push comes to shove, and it's crunch time for an existential answer, when the rubber hits the road, and it's the last of the ninth, and you come to an existential inflection point, and it's the 11th hour and time is of the essence it's time to get off the dime, and timing is everything, and put up or shut up, and you need a Hail Mary or kick the can down the road, then existentially speaking, the existential bottom line is that it is what it is. Does that answer your question?

Magpie: I don't know. I forget the question. But I have another. What does existential mean?

Target: That's a good question. It’s a word politicians use when they don’t know what to say. It means what it is. Sort of a long way to say the verb to be.

Magpie: What's a werb to be?

Target: It's verb to be. I forgot you're a MAAG. It's kind of existential. like "to be or not to be. That is the question.”

Magpie: Like the Beatles song. They wrote that, right?

Target: If you think existentially,  yes or no. And maybe that’s your two-word answer. Until something dumber comes along.

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