Circular Reasoning

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Outside the Wendy’s on University Parkway in Orem is a sign that reads as follows:

Pick-up window open “TIL” 2 a.m.

Notice that “til” is apparently being used sarcastically, as indicated by the quotation marks. Wendy’s is open “til” (wink, wink) 2 a.m., if you catch their drift.

I wonder what preposition they really meant, if “til” was not it? Pick-up window open “underneath” 2 a.m.? Pick-up window open “due to” 2 a.m.? Pick-up window open “on account of” 2 a.m.? The mind reels. Well, mine does, anyway.

Speaking of signs, there are several billboards in the valley right now for “The Christmas Box Miracle,” a sort-of sequel to Richard Paul Evans’ grossly overrated “Christmas Box” semi-novel. The billboards say, “You’ve only read half the story.”

Really? Must have been the bad half, then.

Speaking of books, there are also a lot of billboards for Ken Merrell’s “The Landlord,” advertised as “a clean thriller.” Is this our only criteria now? If it has no sex or profanity, it’s automatically worth reading? I haven’t read “The Landlord” (though I do recognize the potential for ruthless villains who go by that title), but if the fact that it’s “clean” is the best thing you can say about it, then maybe you’re sort of grasping at straws the way Jack Dawson grasped at that piece of driftwood. A math textbook is pretty G-rated, too, but I’m not going to curl up in front of the fireplace with it, unless I’m low on firewood.

Speaking of advertisements, I’ve been alarmed lately by radio commercials that include sound effects of horns honking. I’m always in the car when I hear these, and I always think there’s some real-life commotion going on. And then I realize it was just a radio commercial, and I feel stupid, having flipped off the guy behind me for what turns out to have been no reason.

Speaking of radio, I realized recently that whenever I hear something surprising on the radio, I always look at the radio itself in disbelief, even though I understand that the person who said the surprising thing is not actually there. Does everyone else do this, and/or am I just a big nerd?

Speaking of being puzzled while driving, I made reference a couple months ago to the way people in Utah react when they’re at a stoplight and it turns green, i.e., they don’t move. I want to expand on that with the following discussion question: What is the DEAL with these people?

Here is my theory. Utahns are so accustomed to being humble and meek that when the light turns green, they feel unworthy. They think, “A green light? For me? Oh, goodness, that can’t be right. I don’t deserve that. These other people to the left and right of me, they don’t have green lights. Why should I be the special one? (Five-second pause.) Well, I don’t feel right about this, but I guess I’ll go ahead and put the car in gear now and hesitantly take my foot off the brake and very, very slowly start to press the accelerator and oh, well, the light’s yellow now, so I’d better stop.”

Speaking of “STOP!,” I was watching an old episode of “Press Your Luck” (“No whammy, no whammy, STOP!”) on the Game Show Network the other night. The winner was a delightful old lady named Alpha, who shuffled away with more than $12,000 after a very tense second round in which she nearly lost to some Yuppie woman named Wendy who I did NOT like. And I was really happy to see such a nice grandma type win so much money, and then I realized this was in 1984, and she’s probably dead now.

Speaking of Wendy, outside the Wendy’s on University Parkway in Orem is a sign that reads — I’m sorry. Now, where was I?

Is this really just several random topics loosely tied together? Yes, but don't tell anyone. It did take a little creativity to connect them all, didn't it? Didn't it?

Actually, I don't feel like this was a cop-out, which is what I thought it was going to be before I figured out how to tie it together. I'm actually rather pleased with the whole concept, and I might try it again sometime.

"Now, where was I?" is the last line in "Memento," a movie that overlaps itself sort of the way this column does (sort of).

Finally, that reference I made "a couple months ago" to the way Utahns react to green lights? It was actually two years earlier, and upon examination (follow the link in the column), I see that I said pretty much the same thing I said here, in what was supposed to be an elaboration, not merely a rehashing. Oh well.

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