I Can Imagine and You Can Too

I hate it when people say, “I can’t imagine,” as in “I can’t imagine that Rajiv will be late for this appointment.” Really? You can’t imagine a person being late for a meeting? That is too much for your brain to comprehend, process, and visualize?

I love to quote, perhaps to a fault, but Lewis Carroll (Charles Babbage), the author of “Alice in Wonderlan,d” has a great line about this. He says, “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” That’s some impressive mental gymnastics, though not too difficult with some practice.

Here’s a mental exercise. Try it: Imagine a dentist. Now imagine him or her holding a banana. Close your eyes if you need to. So your Dr. So-and-So is holding a ripe, canary yellow banana or perhaps a more thoroughly ripened, sweeter brown banana. It doesn’t matter to the exercise what state of freshness the fruit is in. Now turn your gaze to the dentist’s feet. The dentist is wearing cowboy boots. Now instead of being in his office, or on the street, the dentist is standing on the blood-red surface of Mars. You have a dentist holding a banana, in cowboy boots, and on Mars. Completely impossible. But is it impossible to imagine? No, not at all.

In fact, it’s quite easy to imagine. You can imagine anything you want to because there are no rules and no limits. So don’t say you “can’t imagine.”

And don’t call people mouthbreathers. Yes, we all enjoy colorful phrases to describe stupidity – dolt, moron, nincompoop, ignoramus, dunce, and the like. Fine, I understand that. But some people actually have a medical condition that keeps them from breathing through their nose. There’s nothing inherently stupid about breathing through one’s mouth. Plus you’re seriously scraping the bottom of the criticism barrel if you’re mocking someone for how he or she breathes. Excuse me for breathing, through my mouth, in the middle of a hurricane, on Christmas, in Chicago.



  1. #1 by tutoringmatch on January 13, 2010 - 10:23 am

    This goes along the lines of people who start a sentence ” You have to understand….”.

    When someone automatically interrupts and says ‘No, I don’t”, the look of confusion is priceless…

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