Something Old: The Analogist
Back in 2007, I started a semi-regular feature called The Analogist. It was like an advice column, except not helpful—you told me a problem, and I told you what that problem was like. In 2008, amid all those presidential primaries and Olympic swimming events, I forgot about The Analogist completely. Now it's time for a revival. Here are a few situations we Analogized in the past, followed by a plea-for-emails.
I love my sister but she's the worst. When I was nine, I fell out of our treehouse and broke my collarbone. Angry at the attention I was getting, she jumped from the same treehouse and broke both legs (she still walks with a limp). I'm getting married next month. She's bound to pull something and I want to warn people. What's a good analogy for our relationship?
Your sibling rivalry reminds me of the space race. Did you know that while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were traipsing around the lunar surface, a Soviet spacecraft—Luna 15, at left—slammed into the Moon? Sounds like something your sister might do if you were an astronaut and she ran a rival nation's space program. This analogy will work especially well if your friends are still harboring Cold War resentment.
Dear Analogist: I've been temping with an insurance company, splitting time between communications and HR. The HR folks just offered me a full-time position. A job's a job and I'm grateful and happy. But when I asked my boss in communications why they didn't want me, he told me that they did. However, last week, both groups had booked our main conference room for different important simultaneous meetings. HR agreed to find another meeting space if communications agreed to give me up. I've been traded for a two-hour stint in a conference room! Has anything like this ever happened before?
This isn't as bad as it sounds. And I don't mean that in a "be happy you're employed" way. This reminds me of a story about Dave Winfield, who had an illustrious Hall of Fame career, compiling over 3,000 hits in 22 seasons. Two weeks before the 1994 baseball strike, Winfield was traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Cleveland Indians for the proverbial "player to be named later." Winfield hadn't played in a game for Cleveland when the strike forced the cancellation of the season. In all the turmoil and labor strife, no player was ever named to complete the transaction.
To settle the trade, executives from Cleveland and Minnesota went to dinner, and the Indians picked up the check. So Dave Winfield—according to The Sporting News, the 94th greatest player of all-time—was traded for a dinner. You're in good company. Congrats on the new job.
Does a third-party candidate actually have a chance to win in 2008?
Hmmm. I think you misunderstood the concept. Asking me this question is like asking spelling bee contestants whether or not they'd make good pirates. An interesting query, yes. But altogether inappropriate for the venue.
This revival will only work with your help. If you have a situation you're dying to see Analogized (or you just want to be polite), send me an email or leave a comment.