January 22, 2009

"Because Eddie Told Me To!"

"Hammond boy licks light pole, gets stuck" Associated Press, January 15, 2009.

Despite his bleeding tongue, the ten-year-old was able to indicate the reason he did it—in sub-freezing temperatures—was because a friend dared him to.

I burst into the hardest laugh when I read what compelled this child to stick his tongue to the metal pole. If this boy is as smart as I hope he is, he will take this lesson a long way and never again be suckered into dumb acts by intimidation. He'll do well to learn lessons early (and keep them learned the first time around).

But sometimes acting out of intimidation turns out really well. Shanti Bansal would not have married his beautiful bride last week were he not intimidated into approaching her. Describing the day they met, Mr. Bansal said, “One of my friends actually dared me to talk to her, so I went up to her and said, ‘Hey, how do you like my party.’ ”*

Ultimately, you've got to exercise—as in practice, practice, practice—your own judgment until you get it right. Sometimes succumbing to the duress (forceful encouragement) of another is smart.

Like my parents' neighbor accused me, I can be scrappy thrifty. But I've been known to spend kinda crazy on things that would make your wallet curl up tight.

So take Broke Girl's savvy, smart saving suggestions with a grain of salt. One person might choose to have bread and water for a week so she can buy a concert ticket or an expensive facial cream. Another will opt for generic soaps or forgo home air conditioning, but never scrimp on the finest organic foods.

Broke Girl claims to be very smart, but she will never claim to "think, so you don't have to."

*"Neeru Khanuja and Shanti Bansal" Weddings/Celebrations, The New York Times, January 17, 2009

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