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Baffling Them With Bullshit

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There comes a time in every man’s life when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Maybe you’re in the middle of an essay, maybe law enforcement just crashed your party, or maybe you were asked to explain how female periods work — there are a plethora of reasons you might need to pull something out of your ass. In times like these, there are some words my grandfather always had for me: “Karl,” he’d say, “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

Something I’ve learned in my 23 years is that nobody really knows what they’re doing. Yeah, that professor has sure as hell read, and possibly written, a ton of books. The guy can probably give you a really solid history of ancient Greece, or tell you all about how your shoes make or break an interview. But there’s one thing they’re unwilling to say in fear of sounding unprofessional — everything is bullshit. As they stand in front of a slew of bored eighteen to twenty somethings, all they’re doing is winging it. Sure, they’ve probably given this lecture a whole heap of times or they’ve prepped themselves with enough coffee to perk up a bull elephant. After all, proper practice prevents piss poor performance. Regardless, even if you sit down and memorize a manuscript of things to say, one little slip is going to completely derail all those flowery words.

The first great bullshitter that comes to mind is Shakespeare. All of his quotes (“brevity is the soul of wit,” “all the world’s a stage,” etc.) scream “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Yet, somehow, the man’s works have lived on for centuries. Coincidence? I think not. Do you think Lincoln really sat down and memorized anything past “Four score and seven years ago?” Hell nah. He went out and said what needed to be said. Made some solid points too. Maybe those men were truly great orators, or maybe they just knew the secret to flying by the seat of their pants. Keep your cool, and say the next smart thing that comes to mind. If you say it with enough confidence and poise, you’ll make whoever’s listening hang on your every word. It’s not that difficult. Human beings made verbal communication a way of life, and it’s a big reason we’re sitting on top of the world. Thumbs might have helped, but phrases like “damn the torpedoes” and “I bet you won’t” had a whole lot to do with it.

Bullshit is a lot more than falsehoods and fluff. Bullshit is the ability to keep the words flowing while not losing your train of thought. It’s thinking on the fly. Letting it flow when you find yourself under duress. Maybe you were making eyes at the cute blonde across the bar and your slam knows it. A little “don’t worry baby, she’s in my marketing class” will work wonders. Perhaps that officer of the law has an inkling you’re not of age, but the old “I forgot my wallet, reminds me of that time I left my passport at home” can make a tough situation into a nice belly laugh for everyone involved. Does it always work? Hell no, but the more you use it the better you’ll get. Don’t believe me? Well, I just got you to spend a few minutes of your life reading this, didn’t I?

Respect it or not, you can never knock the hustle.

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Karl Karlson

Karl Karlson is TFM's self-proclaimed cartoon expert and your best buddy. He resides in Eastern NC where he spends his time roasting pigs and attempting to grow a beard. Karl enjoys drinking on elevated surfaces and rapping on podcasts.

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