Theories are fun, but not those conspiracy theories that anyone can come up with. Since they're impossible to disprove, the theorist feels justified and just a little smarter than the rest of us objective dummies. We're all a little slow, since we can't prove George Bush and the Jews didn't plan 9/11, or that Clinton wasn't responsible for the deaths of Vince Foster, Jim McDougal and Jayne Mansfield.
The theories I love are odd ones with some actual rationale. My friend Mike “Soup” Fink has a few pet theories … some old, some new, some borrowed, some blue.
He ran a borrowed one by me recently, which I've coined, “The Nerd Evolution Theory,” that originated with his friend Chuck. Chuck is upper-middle age and admitted to Mike he was a nerd in high school. Cheerleaders, brainiacs, the girls next door … they all denied his very existence.
But that seems to be changing, Chuck chirped, because “the older a guy gets, the better his romance odds become.”
His theory purports that the teenage dork might be considered quite a catch 45 years later when other men are dying off.
Technically, he's probably right, since statistically the average life expectancy of a woman is five years longer than that of a man. That leaves a lot of still-frisky widows just chomping at the bit, so to speak.
Combined with other factors such as riskier lifestyles, it adds up to a dork's odds increasing daily, particularly if he watches a lot of TV instead of mountain climbing or skydiving. Chuck said many retirement communities boast three women per every man. Still, my “Theory of Diminishing Returns” says if I ever end up in a community with a 3 to 1 ratio, the guy next to me will have six! I'll still be watching TV alone.
But I can't dispute the once-geeky Chuck's Theory of Nerd Evolution. Even Erkel and Pee Wee Herman might eventually be considered studs if they live long enough, I suppose.
That was Fink's borrowed theory, but he also has “something new,” and I'm intrigued – although deeply troubled by his thought process.
First the setup to what I've named Mike's “Big Cow Theory.” A few weeks ago, I shingled a three-car garage on a big farm on the outskirts of Cody. Driving the winding, dirt road, there were cows nearly as far as the eye could see, and beside nearly every one was a cute, little, still-wobbly calf.
I told Fink about this, and we agreed those little suckers are almost as cute as kittens.
“I bet it almost makes you want to stop and pick one up,” he offered.
“Well, yeah … I'd never really thought about it, I guess,” I answered, bemused.
And then his theory: “Ya know, if you stopped every day and picked up a calf, by the time they're full-grown cows, you'd be strong enough to still pick them up.”
Now, my first thought was, “Hmmm; I never figured Fink for a crackhead.”
Yet, what he was putting out there was technically accurate. He and I used to lift weights together and are both aware of the magical gym formula of muscle-growth: “Repetition + increased resistance = larger, stronger muscle mass.”
My friend Soup, in an insane way, was transferring that formula to farm animals, and theoretically, he's spot on. If I indeed drove that road every single day and lifted a calf over my head, eventually I could clean-and-jerk a full-grown Guernsey.
But it would be foolish on so many levels. First, it's much simpler and convenient to go to the gym and pick up barbells. It's difficult and awkward trying to get a good grip on a calf. Also, your average calf is gonna be thrashing and scrambling to get away. So before you could perform the proper set of repetitions, you'd have to chase and tackle it several times.
True, this would increase my capacity for aerobic exercise, but chances are eventually someone would notice and report me. The humiliating “Police Reports” page of the newspaper would say, “Passerby reported short, unkempt-looking man in a roofing truck trespassing on private property. ‘He does it every day and always stops to hoist cows over his head.'”
So Fink's theory will remain just a theory, because that is not how I roll.
I don't think my friend was trying to give me a bum steer, but simply stating a theory, and one with credible rationale. Still, to come up with something like that, theoretically he might be crazier than a pet coon.