Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bluffing [or, possibly, riffing]

Most of life seems like an elaborate bluff to me. We pretend that we know what we're doing, that we have at least some of the answers. Trust is, we probably don't. Or maybe we've got the answers wrong. But that's cool. I've always learned [learnt? learned? answers on a postcard, please] more from my mistakes than my successes. Of course, the successes are more pleasureable, so they tend to shine a little more brightly inside my memory space.

What was I talking about? Bluffing. When you're freelance and somebody asks if you can do something, you bluff. Of course I can, you say out loud. Inside your head a little voice is screaming with panic, but a good poker face can hide that. It's why bluffing is so much easier over the phone. [Grud help us if videophones ever become mandatory.] Nobody sees the quiet stab of panic in your eyes, the contraction of your pupils, the perspiration.

Tsk. Did it again, gone off on another tangent. That's can be another cool strategy. Hand waving, distractions, a little of legerdemain [often coupled with a degree of intrepidity. Come to think of it, can you study for a degree of intrepidity? It's probably an undergraduate thing. Maybe there's a night class I can take somewhere. Online would be even better, fit it in round my busy schedule. You know how life gets sometimes...]

The great news is I managed to spell legerdemain correctly without loooking it up in my dictionary. Obviously I did look it up to check I had gotten it right, but that merely enables me to be accurate with authority. [Assuming my dictionary is accurate. If it isn't, we're all in trouble. Hmm, could be the basis for a story. The linguistic anarchist who alters dictionaries. Nah, maybe not.] So legerdemain could be wrong after all.

Where was I? Bluffing. Actually, this blog post should probably have been called digressions, since I seem to have written next to nothing about bluffing. On the other hand, all of this it could be interpreted as an elaborate bluff to distract from the fact I don't have any particular message or nugget of wisdom [or even perceived wisdom - or even perceived stupidity - you be the judge] to impart. So this post is bluffing in action.

I know, I should have called it riffing. Take an idea, run with it, try not to fall over. [Hopefully you're idea isn't as sharp as scissors.] Sort of like jazz. You know the kind of thing - they start a tune you recognise, then everybody has a noodle with it, riffing away for a few minutes. Eventually somebody gets them all back playing whatever the tune was in the first place. So, where was I again? Oh yes, riffing about --

Time's up. Come back tomorrow, I'll turn the record over and see what's on the other side.


Jason Arnopp said...

Bluffing definitely has its merits. About eight years ago, someone at heat magazine casually asked if I could design crossword puzzles. "Yes I can," I said confidently, then ran away shrieking about how I didn't have the slightest clue how to design crossword puzzles. And I'm still designing theirs now.

That conversation was on the 'phone.

Adaddinsane said...

Yeah, bluffing. "Do you know how to integrate web services?" "Yes!" ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod.

Usually works out alright in the end - usually "they" haven't a clue what they're talking about anyway - the bluffers leading the bluffed?

Maybe not.

Today's word verification is "spordrot" Yes indeed, no one wants to get rotting of the spord.

Jonny Morris said...

The difference between bullshitting and lying:

You're lying if you say something is true when you know that it isn't.

You're bullshitting if you say something is true when you don't know if it is or not.

So Jason was following in the grand tradition of bullshitting when he said he could design crossword puzzles. He'd have been lying if he'd spent years trying to design crossword puzzles and knew he wouldn't be up to the task.

All writers are bullshitters. You don't know you can't do something until you've failed at it.

Oh, and there's one other difference been bullshitters and liars. Bullshitters occasionally get found out. Liars always get found out.