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The Great Debunker

“Hey dude, yeah you.  I see you or someone like you every morning on my way to work.  You’re the guy who impatiently blows by me on the road, you know, because I’m only going 10 miles over the posted limit.  Do you ever notice that I’m also the guy you see 5 traffic lights later, idling at a red, just on your right side?  I don’t know you, but you seem to display a clear misunderstanding of the principles of traffic flow.”

OK, how about this one:

“Yo, chemtrail believer!  You do know that the jet exhausts you see in the sky are due to temperature differentials, not some government attempt to spray us down and make us more docile, right?  I could break it down more technically but, well; if only my brother were nearby he’d tell you.  He’d make you understand.  No one is trying to poison us with aluminum gas.”

I’m pretty smart, but my brother is REALLY smart (I always claim this: I read somewhere that if you downplay your intelligence, it’s in reality a sign of great self-awareness and actually, a somewhat more enlightened intelligence).

My brother Luis, plus his equally smart (because she always downplays the fact too) wife Kathleen and I form a kind of debunking trio.  We love to debunk conspiracy theories (9/11, Lincoln, Kennedy) and strangely held beliefs (like that it is sometimes too cold to snow).  Though I still haven’t taken time to read it (sorry Kathleen), I view Michael Shermer’s book “Why People Believe Weird Things” as a kind of Bible, or maybe anti-bible (if you will).

I don’t have to read it because I kind of get it.  I understand the scientific underlying principles (though not as well as Luis, who is a kind of debunking expert).  But I haven’t read it because I have a feeling that if I did, it would make me kind of angry, angry at the people who believe in such balderdash.  I don’t want to be bitter.

The misunderstanding of traffic flow, and the reasoning behind the placement of red, green and yellow lights at certain intervals, is one that gets me every day, however.  I just can’t let it go.  I won’t let it go because people who speed impatiently like the ‘dude’ mentioned above, are really sacrificing safety (and really science, right?) for expediency.  They really think they are getting there faster and every day (like the guy in “Memento”) they have to try to relearn something that’s really right in front of them.

Other beliefs, like many conspiracy theories, come as an attempt to macro-explain the micro-frustrations and failures of a singular life.  “The government is spraying chemicals out of passenger jets and military planes to keep me from getting that job.”  That’s really what it is.  Now I know I’m right on this, I can’t break it down for you technically.  But my brother could.  He’d make you understand.

Belief and mind seem to occur together naturally to me.  Belief (I believe) in something can only happen for me when I observe its occurrence repeatedly (as in, I believe my car will start when I turn the key in the ignition).

But what about those who’d say, “I believe in what you call ‘weird stuff’ because life is just more fun that way!”  What about those people?  They believe in Faeries and Goblins and Angels.  I’d say, “Well, the way I think about things like this, well, I just usually never factor in things like fun!”

But I’ll bet we all do it, me included.  I’ve observed it enough that I’d almost call it a belief.  Take ghosts.  I don’t believe in them, but I’d sure like to!  Just once I’d like to see a specter, a ghost, whatever.  It would be……fun.

Years ago I did a haunted house tour in Old Town, San Diego.  I actually did this; I splintered off from the group so I could be in rooms by myself.  I verbally taunted the room and took weird pictures of empty spaces and corners.  I knew I ‘believed’ in that moment because I was kind of scared shitless (my forearm’s goose bumps told me) while I was doing all this.

What if I got my wish, what if it threw something at me?!  What if I pissed it off?!

But after studying the photos later, alas there was nothing.  I had to let it go.  But it would have been cool.

Fast forward to yesterday…..

Yesterday I was at work fixing a printer in the Prepared Foods Kitchen at Whole Foods, a store that was constructed only 3 years ago.  A woman named Barbara told me something odd.

She said, “Hey computer guy, look at that on the floor there.  See that?  It’s a footprint.  Every day we clean it up, yet every morning it reappears.  It’s been happening since about 2 months after the store just opened.  We think it (and actually it’s 2 other footprints nearby) is a ghost.”

“Wow, that would be awesome, but it’s probably some dirt residue or something that can’t be easily cleaned away,” I mused.  I looked.  The weird thing is that they were small BARE FOOTPRINTS.  That got me.  I mean, who the hell would walk around in a service kitchen barefoot?!  I almost would believe it’s a ghost before I’d believe someone would walk around with no foot protection!  I mean, there are knives everywhere!

I bought into it.  No science, no facts.  It would just be fun to believe it.  Also, one footprint is underneath the metal desk unit, just a little bit underneath.  That clinched the deal for me.

I have a friend who has a husband and two twin boys.  This can easily be seen and proved by anybody.  But she and her husband insist that there is a little girl living with them too!  They’ve seen her walk down hallways and disappear.  They can employ my personal definition of belief because they’ve observed it so many times.  Empirically.  They say.

I wish I could house sit or something, because I’d love to see this too, they just never seem to take vacations though.  And if I got to go, and I actually saw something, if I actually saw something, well, I probably wouldn’t talk about it too much about it to my brother Luis, The Great Debunker.  It just might spoil all my fun, you know?

3 replies
  1. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    Very funny about chemtrail believers (I happen to be a proud one myself). My own brother scoffed at me just 2 days ago as I matter-of-factly pointed at a sky full of them. He made me feel slightly embarrassed that I really thought they were something other than ye olde standard airplane “vapor trails”. Ha, and I’ve also seen a ghost (I saw her and spoke to her!)

    • Bill Hardesty
      Bill Hardesty says:

      Ryan, I would love to hear that ghost story. I’ll read it one night and scare the crap outta myself! Dorie is one of your fellow chemtrailers. It seems to me to be a particularly Northwestern thing. Maybe because the sky is usually hidden, you don’t know what you’re seeing, what the source is LOL

      • Joe Seely
        Joe Seely says:

        i think the chem trail phenomenon is not a Northwestern thing. I lived there for 30 years and never heard of this or thought about the government’s clandestine activity. Then, I moved to NYC and started working at Integral Yoga Natural Foods and it’s all a couple of my co-workers could talk about for years! (Seriously, Bro, how come you never see a clear day anymore, like the ones we had when we were kids, before the Illuminati started salting the sky with Aluminum. Seriously, Bro. Think about it for a sec.) These folks were also very hard-core 9/11 Truthers, JFK conspiracists, and don’t even get me going on “the real meaning” behind the Wizard of Oz! My sense is that it’s a distinctly “Non-mainstream Natural Foods Store/Co-op” thing. These fine community gathering places tend to attract folks who live on the outer reaches of the Mainstream Social Spectrum. All of these conspiracies, new and old, are SO MUCH FUN to try to wrap one’s brain around…and it might (allegedly) be WAY MORE FUN to do so while smoking ancient native herbs that tend to be almost de rigeur practice for said denizens of these fine community gathering places…if i went to a Megachurch on Sunday and people started speaking in tongues, I’d say those folks are out of their minds, but they sure look to be having a lot of fun. I spent all my formative years being indoctrinated into the Catholic Church, and was led to believe I was eating and drinking Jesus every Sunday, ferchrissakes! That’s waaaaay weirder than Fluoridated water turning us into a population of acquiescent dunderdomes.
        Everybody pretty much believes in something unexplainable or transcendent (Love?! I mean, what the hell is that?!). It’s all a part of Life’s Rich Pageant…Now, excuse me while i try to figure out why the government’s HAARP weather control technology couldn’t figure out how to stop Wednesday’s Yanks-M’s rainout. I really wanted to see King Felix throw in the Bronx!

        Damn you, Unreliable Secret Gov’t Programs!!!


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