Turtleʼs Thoughts™ on Threats

1999-06-15 05:17:00 +0000

Although usually an unhappy topic, itʼs amazing what threats can and canʼt do. Lucky for you, I have several examples. Isnʼt this so inspiring?

Case 1: Last week I had the opportunity to assist in the instruction of young boys in the art of archery. These boys, whose ages ranged anywhere from six to eleven, were covertly competing against each other to see who could launch his projectile the farthest. Of course, the other staff members and I had to retrieve the arrows, and, being our lazy selves, we didnʼt want to walk more than absolutely necessary. Therefore, this situation called for an appropriate threat.

“Do it again, kid, and weʼll duct tape you to the target and paint concentric circles on your stomach.”

Now, we knew that the head instructor, Mr. Tom, wouldnʼt let us do this, but the kids didnʼt have to know. This tactic worked quite well until one of the older boys was smart enough to realize that there was nothing behind our threat. We walked farther the rest of the week. The battle was lost. The war still rages.

Case 2: This is a brief one. Itʼs painful for me to dwell on threats that donʼt accomplish anything. It brings a tear to my eye …

For some reason unknown to me my sister can get away with almost anything. That brings a tear to my eye as well. Accordingly, threats neither work against her nor bother her. Sheʼll run to my mother, put on her “sweet child” charade, and it all comes out right in the end … for her. Iʼm the one at fault. I threatened her. My mother locks me in my room. Itʼs as simple as that.

Case 3: This case encompasses the notorious line, “Itʼs not a threat, itʼs a promise.” As everyone knows, this only causes the one being threatened to know what little you can do to follow through on you threat. Itʼs like reverse psychology, only in reverse. So that would make it reverse reverse psychology, or maybe forward psychology. But that makes it regular old psychology. Maybe itʼs not reverse, but to the left. That sounds right. To-the-left psychology. An interesting field of study.

“Whatʼs your major?”

“Oh, Iʼm going to double-major in upside-down chaos theory and to-the-left psychology. How about you?”

“I was going to go into somersault calculus, but now Iʼm not sure.”

Iʼm so glad thereʼs no such thing as to-the-left psychology. You should be, too. Donʼt forget to go out and make an empty threat at least once a day this week! Itʼs good for you.

This is Turtle, signing off.


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