Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's All Relative

When I was in college I had a roommate who was a philosophy major. I don’t remember too many things about him but I do remember that he had two favorite sayings. The first one was “When I graduate I’m going to get paid to think”. On a good day he would utter this over-confident phrase 6 or 7 times in an attempt to convince himself that his major was legitimate. I’m not saying that majoring in philosophy isn’t legitimate but honestly he was pretty darn annoying about his major selection.

The other thing he used to say was “It’s all relative”. This is a very normal thing to say when it’s used in the right context but he used to drop this line as a “I have something profound to say” statement whether it made sense or not.

Here are some examples:
Me: I think I’ll make some Raman for dinner before I go to study.
Philosophy Man: It’s all relative.
Me: What?

Me: I’m going on a date with Jenny this Friday night.
Philosophy Man: It’s all relative.
Me: Huh?

Me: Did you know that you can get 32 oz of Diet Coke for .25?
Philosophy Man: It’s all relative.
Me: You keep using that line. I do not think it means what you think it means.

As you can see this phrase would immediately kill any conversation dead in its tracks because everyone would stare at him like a dog watches TV. You know, your dog knows there’s something there but he can’t quite make it out so he stares for a while then walks away.

Jenny knew this roommate so sometimes I will randomly drop this line into a conversation when she’s around and she will start to laugh. It’s like the inside joke that never gets old.

The other day I was in the car with my 14 year old son and we were listening to a pop station that he loves. Trying to get teenagers to talk to you can be a challenge sometimes so I was asking him about different songs that I knew nothing about. We were having a great conversation when out the blue a song came on the radio and he blurted out “This song is soooooo old”!!!! When I asked him how old the song was he said “it’s like 3 or 4 months old”. Really? 3 or 4 MONTHS?

To me an old song came out in the late 1960’s which would make it 40 years old not 4 months. I guess our concepts of what old is are totally different.

I was kind of embarrassed but all I could think was “It’s all relative” and in this case it actually made sense for once.

Philosophy Man I hope you’re getting paid to think somewhere in the world.


JoLyn said...

Philosophy Man suddenly became relative! Great post Mike.

Jenny-Jenny said...

I've heard the kids say that about music lately too. And I always expect it to be a song from at least the past century... but no...

Anonymous said...


Mike J said...

I love it when I drop a movie quote in a post and some actually spots it.

DC said...

Two things:
1. I missed the quote the first time through, "Dead? He's only mostly dead!"

2. a comedian once said that he majored in philosophy because that way when he gradulated, no one would no if he was any good at it or not.

DC said...


I quess we "know" who's not a great proof reader :)

Dawn said...

Great post, Mike! Now I know some new comments to say, if I can only remember them when I want to. I wonder if Sam would think the songs I liked as a teenager were new! I wish I could get paid to 'think!' Oh, well -- it's all relative! Today's word verification isw 'arepr.' I wonder if I can make a definition for that. It could mean 'it's all relative' depending on the way you pronounce it. Hmmmmmmm

Dawn said...

Oops! Delete that w!