My three sons, aged 21 to 25 often accuse me of “bottom-lining”. After conducting a futile google search, I realized I needed to ask them what they meant by that. Briefly, and I paraphrase, they meant I like to offer glib responses to current events, often but not always having to do with professional sports, that make it seem like I know more than I actually do. For example, last nite while cooking steaks and burgers on the griill for my assorted progeny and their gfs, I offered the following question/comment about the NBA finals between Dallas and Miami: “Well, it’s not like any one player is dominant so far, am I right?!!” My sons, knowing my pitiful lack of basketball knowledge all rolled their eyes simultaneously and made a collective sigh that said volumes, but primarily meant, “Dad is such a poser! He doesnt know shit about B-ball. He’s bottom-lining again!!” Ok, they were right…..this time. I am capable of engaging in man talk that is designed to: 1) keep interesting social dialogue going while I burn the barbecue and 2) cover for the fact that I sometimes dont know much about things others care alot about. So there it is, a public mea culpa….They should get a big kick out of that.
However, now that I’ve got the confession part out for all to see, read and possibly use against me later, allow me to argue why cutting to the chase, or bottom-lining may not be a bad thing, especially when it comes to certain subjects, objects, persons and topics of interest. Let me also say one more thing about this bottom-lining label that I now own and wear with pride. Well, maybe not wear with pride, but also not exactly shlep around with like a scarlet B upon my chest either.
In this complicated pluralistic world, I find it increasingly odd (and irritating) that people arent willing to say what they really think and stick to their opinion. On the other hand, i find it just as strange that so many folks arent willing to listen to reason and common sense, and if convinced otherwise, be amenable to changing their viewpoint, even if it means being initially WRONG. Everybody loves to play the extremes by either being absolutely certain (as in “you cant change my mind”) or dont want to cut through the crap and say what is obviously the more obvious truth. This seems to be the real mental disease of the decade, along with the proliferation of psychiatric labels and Big Pharma drugs used to treat the plethora of popular new diseases, ie. bipolar, ADHD, love and sex addiction, borderline,etc.The very partisan nature of politics and professional life makes the situation even worse. As a licensed psychologist, alot of people expect me to use the in vogue labels and diagnostic categories, like Dr. Drew Pinsky does on TV. Let me cut to the chase and say this. I think Dr. Drew is a sham and a dickwad. He thinks everyone has an addiction and sees sex abuse behind every single case and corner like George Bush frantically looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) under every Iraqi picnic table and behind the drapes at the White House or Saddams sleazy overdone palaces.
Why is it every new news event, whether it is Anthony Weiner’s weiner or Swartzenegger’s shlong gets turned into a political debate about party politics or a personality disorder? I could bottom-line it and say its the fault of the highly polarized news media and the crazed TV talking heads like Dick Morris, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher, etc.. who are trotted out like a matched set of Sesame Street characters on steroids to argue with each other and convince us that stupidity is highly correlated to ones voter registration card. Here’s another mea culpa for you. I dont vote, and its not cuz I eschew the polarization of American political discourse. It’s because I dont want to get called to jury duty and have to waste my day waiting for my turn to convince someone that either I’m too crazy or too willing to vote GUILTY merely for WASTING MY TIME! They can keep the lousy 25 bucks cuz I think Casey Anthony is guilty as sin, Arnold is an Uber-groper, and Anthony Weiner loves himself and his cell phone way too much. There, I said it. I guess I am a bottom-liner….and slightly proud of it. I guess that’s why I call myself a Pirate Psychologist and my new viewpoint Pirate Psychotherapy. We all need to practice cutting to the chase and telling it like it is. If we mess up, or God forbid are wrong about something, we should be held accountable and own it fully….or walk the proverbial plank. Arrgghh!!