preambles to stupidity

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Before a rule change, "illegal defense" was a commonplace foul call in NBA games. I know it had something to do with doubling a man who didn't have the ball, but that was just the toe of this mysterious elephant. I didn't get it. I would never get it. When I taught college technical writing, I went so far as to offer extra credit to anyone who could write me a definition that I completely understood. Many tried. All failed.

And thus did "Whoop, that's gonna be illegal defense." become my first preamble to stupidity. Whenever I heard that phrase, I knew was going to understand nothing that followed. That phrase became a reliable predictor of my own stupidity.

The modern day equivalent is "Quantum theory tells us..." There's not a bloody chance of me understanding what comes next. Quantum physics is to me now what algebra was to me as a kid: I can repeat back what you just said, but please don't ask me to rephrase it.

At work, it's "Marketing has a request."

At home, it's a contractor saying "Hey John, lemme show you something..."

In love, it's "You know what your problem is?"

And then there's my accountant, the hall of famer. He doesn't even get a catchphrase. I don't understand anything the man says after he inhales.