Around 90% of the time, when somebody asks how you’re doing, you respond with something along the lines of “Good”, right? It’s the cultural answer, and it’s been programmed into our brains.
But it’s not the ONLY question where we have a pre-programmed answer, right? There must be other questions that when asked, you can quickly pull out an answer that you have rehearsed.
“What do you do for a living?”
“Where are you from?”
Stuff like that. You don’t actively think about how you’re going to respond. You just blurt out words.
How do we reach that point? Simple: we train ourselves. We program these responses into our own heads, so that as soon as the question is asked, we can pull the answer out and not think about it.
I tend to do this with really stupid things.I really noticed it when people asked me to tell a joke and I had nothing to say. Without fail, if somebody wanted me to just tell a stupid joke, or my favorite joke, or something like that, I would lock up. I don’t really memorize and recite a lot of jokes.
So I forced myself to remember just ONE joke, so that if anyone ever asked me to tell one, I could.
As it turns out, I just make poor decisions, and therefore programmed a really bad joke:
A polar bear walks into a bar. He says “I’ll take a gin……………..and tonic.” The bartender says “What’s with the big pause?” The bear looks at his hands and says “I dunno, my dad had them too!”
So bad, right? So very, very bad.
I’ve noticed other things that I’ve programmed into my head as well. For example, if anyone acts immaturely, I instantly ask them if they are 12 years old.
I’m sorry, 12 year olds around the world. Apparently YOU are the mark of immaturity to me. I realize that’s unfair. But I’m stuck with it now.
Actually, the number 12 is just my go-to number. If I’m randomly pulling a number out of the air, 9 times out of 10, it’ll be the number 12. Guess it’s just an attempt to be a little more like Jesus.
Was that joke too much? You tell me if that’s offensive. I didn’t think it was.
Another fine example is names. I will name any inanimate object “Charles”. No clue why. In particular, it started with a flash drive I had that I gave the name to, so that whenever it was plugged into a computer, you had to get your files from Charles.
Then….it just spread. To really anything at all. Routers, furniture, rooms of the house. Charles became a go-to name.
But when people are involved, the name is different. It’s instantly Todd. And I love this response, because Todd is just a good ol’ name. Nothing outrageous. Nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t want to say it’s “plain”, for fear of pissing off the Todd community, but….it’s plain.
So when you throw it out as a response to random questions? It’s funny. To me, at least.
“Who was the 5th President?” “Todd.”
“Who was the lead singer of Aerosmith?” “Todd.”
“What’s that cat’s name?” “Todd.”
“Where should we eat today?” “Todd.”
Okay, so that last one didn’t work. But you get the point.
Finally, I get a kick out of throwing out “knife fights” as a favorite activity, mostly just to check and see if people are paying attention.
“So, what do you do in your free time?” “Oh, you know, I watch a lot of sports….listen to a lot of music….have a lot of knife fights out on the footbridge.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
“Isn’t it, though, Todd?”
What are some of your programmed responses?