Research!

Composed on the 17th of January in the year 2008, at 8:55 PM. It was Thursday.

After some thought, I've decided, at the risk of creating competition, to describe my research methods. I seem to have a duty to my public, because I am apparently so famous. For those of you who haven't done your research, a quick Googling will inform you that I am a United States Representative, a New York photographer, and Newburyport's premiere Welsh plumber, to say nothing of my immensely popular blog. So, with out further ado, here are my primary methods:

{Balls}

I got this one from my dad. People will believe nearly anything as long as you toss it off in a loud and confident manner, followed by a hesitation-free cover for any lack of supporting information. Fact: The government planned seven assassinations last year, in Zimbabwe alone! Questioner: Where did you hear that? Answer: You have lovely hair.1[1]

{Google}

Where the computer word processor has eliminated the better part of my spelling errors, Google has eliminated the better part of my formerly egregious misuse of big words. If you don't know, type "define:multi-syllable-word" into Google, and it will give you a quick list of definitions from various sources. Now you might think I use Google for other types of research, but I rarely see the point, since a few well-used multi syllable words combined with with the above-mentioned brass balls and quick evasions usually do the work for me.

{White Knowledge}

To clarify, I don't mean WASP knowledge per-se, though that did help my SATs in exactly the way it didn't help the foreign students sitting next to me. I owe this to my lovely friend Amy, who pointed out that most of what we know comes from background conversation we tune into when we're too drunk/shy/lazy/uniterested to contribute to the discourse. We remember despite ourselves, and even if we question the veracity of the source, we can at least trust in the viral nature of the content.

{Not Being A Fucking Idiot}

Clearly, any example I give might offend someone, so I'll give as neutral and as polite an answer as possible: Say, hypothetically, for the sake of the argument, someone told me that, oh, at random, the world was snapped into existence six thousand years ago, and the total lack of evidence, and the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is all because the evidence was finagled by the snapping entity just to mess with my head. This is where I could employ my "Not Being A Fucking Idiot" research method, without doing any actual research. This is a powerful method, and not to be used lightly. I even refrained from playing this card when confronted with a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, just to be absolutely fair. In that circumstance, I really did do some research, because conspiracy nuts have to be taken down point by point, lest they get overconfident and infect other Fucking Idiots.

{Research Assistants}

That's actually a euphemism for "whichever unlucky bastards are on AIM when I'm drunk and curious". I find it a highly effective method, for if they don't know, they'll often want to look it up so as not to admit they don't know, or because they become curious as well, giving me three or four valuable minutes with which to take a leak and get another beer. In the event that they do know, I lose out on the beer time, but I become informed regardless.

{Research}

This happens very rarely, but occasionally I go out and run down the facts, usually when I'm feeling vindictive or especially bored. It consists of Google, and reading "books".2[2] I stress that this does not happen often, and you should trust me because I'm charismatic, not because I know what I'm talking about.

So.

It's not a screaming endorsement of academic integrity, but it does provide an edge. Here's an example from my days at UMass, where, due to my hectic travel schedule, I mastered the art of picking up girls on busses.3[3]

An attractive asian woman boards the bus. Having made the mistake of spending a lot of time with a friend who was less socially competent than I, but much more attractive, I was having trouble keeping the interest of women who mistook his shyness for mystique. I'm not bitter,4[4] but I had to take advantage of his lack of interest in asian women, so I struck up a tepid conversation and tried to warm it. It was going well until she mentioned she was a Buddhist, at which point I said, "Oh, so am I." A classic example of the Balls technique, since this was an outright lie.

Now, I could easily claim to be Catholic, or at least protestant, due to the abundance of Christian White Knowledge available to me. I liked Buddhism because it has reincarnation and I'm afraid of annihilation, so maybe the fact that Buddhism taps a lot of twitches in my basal ganglia contributed to my mouth saying something not even my tongue could back up.

Naturally, because these essays are entitled Still Drinking, she called me on it. "Oh, what branch?" she said, leaving me to mumble something like, "Oh, no branch, I just... like the principles."

Despite English being her second language, she successfully translated this into "I'm an asshole trying to bullshit my way into your pants." She responded with a tonally perfect "Ah," which I could understand as "scumbag."

Now, I couldn't rely on White Knowledge in the situation, and Not Being A Fucking Idiot was clearly out of the question, but I could have used Google prior to trying to pick up a real Buddhist. Had I been prepared, I could have confidently said I was just beginning to study Vajrayana Buddhism at the Institute of Buddhist Studies at Amherst College, which would have had all the following benefits: Vajrayana is also known as Tantric Buddhism, which could have led to a discussion of my (actual) studies of Tantric sex, It would have led to my admission that I hadn't found a temple yet, and had to study at the Institute, and maybe she could help me research one, and it would have allowed her to infer that I went to Amherst College, which is almost entirely populated by rich business majors.

None of this happened.

Though the situation of bullshitting girls on busses is a very particular situation, we must not forget that all the Works of Man are worked to impress Woman, so research is of primary interest for the most basic primal ritual: Loud Bar Conversation.

The setting is always the same, regardless of the men or the setting. After covering the latest gossip, bragging about our exed and potential girlfriends, and catching up with practical business matters, but just prior to the too - drunk - and - now - admitting - all - the - things - we'll - feel - stupid - for - admitting - and - pretend - not - to - remember - next - week portion of the night, there will always be a small section of the evening in which we discuss philosophy, art, or engineering. It there are no women, we discuss engineering, or some technical matter involving building and/or destroying something. If there are women, we discuss philosophy, art, or music, and–this is important–we raise our voices slightly.

Once our voices are raised, we're accountable for our attractiveness. We're declaring, as loudly as possible without being asshole loud, that we are not limited to the curses of our birth, and if you didn't look at us before, you'll at least listen to us chat about philosopher/band/artist/crazy ass party.

On the off chance that there's a selection of Hot Nerd Girls 5[5] or Hot Hipster Girls,6[6] they will start listening to you. At this point, it is vitally important not to lose whatever debate you're having. The two approaches to this are to maintain the I'm OK, You're OK attitude, or to win. Winning requires either knowing more than the opponent, or being able to sidetrack the conversation with an interesting fact. Both of these skills need to be backed with extensive research.

I realize this is somewhat male centric. If you're a girl, you need this research too, in order to identify pseudo-suitors who are overemphasizing the Balls method (see above "bus" example), and too attract those of us with that nerd girl turn on. If you're a hipster girl, don't bother. We don't care. Just know your local bands.

Well, I hoped this has helped everyone. I need to go take some pictures of the chamber of commerce bathrooms. And write about it.

1 Alternate answer: Stern, dismissive glance.

2 A collection of paper, parchment or other material with text, pictures, or both written on them, usually bound together along one edge within covers. I Googled it. Interestingly, book is also defined as "A bound publication of 49 or more pages that is not a magazine or periodical", in an astonishingly negative definition.

3 Who, without exception, later turned out to be crazy, married, or just not interested. It was a long year and another story.

4 Anymore.

5 Do a google image search for "hot nerd". You'll see the one that I mean.

6 They'll at least pretend to be interested in case you're the next big thing.

Weirdly, I think she would be cute in the right light.

Hi there! You should totally go buy my book for the low low price of 6.66! It's like buying me a beer at an out-of-the-way dive bar in Brooklyn! Not in Manhattan. Manhattan prices are ridiculous, though there are a couple of decent Irish dives where you can snag a drink for five bucks. Otherwise, you're looking at a two or three book beer.
×