You remember syllogisms, don’t you? They were those one-more-thing-I-gotta-remember behests your fifth grade teacher foisted onto your scholastic plate of youthful indifference.
To refresh your memory-starved frontal lobe, here’s a classic syllogism from our old pal, Aristotle:
- All men are mortal
- Socrates is a man.
- Ergo, Socrates is mortal.
You see, syllogisms are a way of thinking. A way of reasoning. A way of deducing.
With syllogisms, it’s as if words “decided” to usurp math’s death-grip hold on the concept of algorithms by stating that this line of logic plus that line of logic — knitted together — equals this obvious outcome. Take that, numbers!
Okay, that all sounds good, you say, but “why should I care,” you ponder? After all, if you’re a dad like me, you’ve got viruses to avoid, Netflix binge-watching to do and kids’ soccer games to attend while answering email from “Bob” at the office. You know: a life.
Look, don’t get your rhetorical panties all in a bunch. I’ll bring it home for you.
Here’s a syllogism about fall — at least when fall falls in Michigan:
- During fall in Michigan, dads like me find ourselves: 1) at cider farms on two out of every three weekends; 2) demoralized because of yet another heartbreaking Lions loss; and, finally 3) being injectively depressed by a spate of “I-endorsed-this-message” ads claiming every political candidate’s opponent is the devil’s bastard stepchild spawn.
- Lately, I find myself at cider farms, losing all hope in the Lions and watching horrid political ads.
- Ergo, it must be fall and I must be in Michigan.
See? Now you really remember syllogisms, don’t you?
I’m a native Michigander who just returned to The Mitten after spending almost six years in on the Left Coast. Back in Seattle, there were only two things that informed your coffee-stained, grungy self that fall had, in fact, arrived: 1) the September 22 set-your-clock-by-it rainfall debut and; 2) suddenly noticing that every man, woman, child and dog are suddenly wearing some form of blue and stark-teal jersey with a “12” on it. Well, okay, I guess there’s a third reason: the Seattle Freeze (yes, that’s a thing; Google it) gets even freezier when colder temps nestle in.
But, I digress. Back to Michigan, and back to parsing out the Great Lakes’ clarion call for fall. Brace yourself.
Michigan’s cider mills
Ah, yes, the obligatory cider mill drill. Where else can you miss a great college or pro (non-Lions) football game just to get stung by platoons of far-too-available honey bees? While there, you also are cordially invited to burn your mouth with scalding hot apple juice – all while ingesting circular sugar tubes masquerading as donuts. But, hey, look on the bright side: although Michigan’s cider mills may be uncomfortable, at least they’re over-priced.
And, the Detroit Lions, you ask? Oh, you mean the team where coaches and players go to die? Ever notice how nobody ever gets out of there alive? Nobody ever moves on from the Lions to: a) head-coach a team ever again; b) play on a winning team; or c) have a reputation or resume worth salvaging.
Bobby Layne, the once-famous (infamous?) Lion QB cursed the Detroit Football Lions — after decades ago winning the league championship (the equivalent of today’s Super Bowl) — was suddenly traded to the to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his departing invective, Layne chirped that the Lions wouldn’t win another championship for 50 years.
Well, he was wrong: it’s been 62 years.
As for things political, that autumnal rubric, too, is equally — if not more — depressing. Feeling good about your place in life? God’s in His heaven and all is right with the world?
Just turn on the TV in between late August and early November. There, you’ll start to think the candidate you support — based on the opposition’s commercials — is merely a Legion of Doom Puppy Murderer destined to demolish your way of life and everything you hold dear.
Do you like visiting your sweet grandma? Oh, that’s going away (and so is her pension, her home-baked apple pies, and Christmas itself) if you vote for the candidate on the business end of the negative ad.
And, don’t forget the self-righteousness of this quadrennial political chestnut: “This is the most important election of your life.” But we hear this drivel every four years, so how can every election be the most important ever? I feel sorry for voters from all previous electoral cycles, ‘cuz their elections clearly weren’t that important.
So, you see, the syllogism — as an explanatory mechanism — still applies. But maybe, just maybe, we’d collectively benefit from a new one. Something less fallible yet more “fall-able.”
- I live in Michigan and seek peace and harmony year round.
- The fall season has traditionally depleted my peace and harmony with three Michigan traditions: 1) painful and expensive cider mills, 2) abjectly depressing Lions football; and 3) soul-crushing political ads that make me question motherhood and all that’s right with the world.
- Ergo, I’ll avoid the above three and live in peace and harmony. In Michigan. In the fall.
Aristotle would be proud.
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