The Costanza theory in everyday lifeSteve Hammer
Last week was not a good week for me. It was one of those weeks where everything I did seemed to be wrong. I tried to get a story done, only to find out that a writer working for me had already done it. I worked for hours to track down a source, only to find that it was exactly the wrong source. We all could benefit a little from the Costanza Theory.
I planned my week around Monday night's Fever game, only to realize that it was scheduled for Tuesday all along. I bought a gift for someone but it was one size too large.
What does one do under such circumstances? I thought back to that classic Seinfeld episode where George Costanza found himself in the same predicament.
"Every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong," he said while sitting at the coffee shop. "My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be."
So he decides to do the opposite of what his instinct tells him to do. He approaches a woman with the line "I'm unemployed and I live with my parents," and it works. He insults a prospective employer and lands the job.
Sometimes, doing the opposite of what you're inclined to do is the perfect solution. For example, the air conditioning unit in my apartment died last week, coinciding with the 90 degree weather.
Understand that I live in the worst apartment complex in the world. The only thing they do in a timely fashion is remind you when your rent is due.
Usually, when I call them with a problem, I'm very meek. "Um, the water is out in my apartment," I'll say, and the person would vow to get to the bottom of the problem. I'd have water five days later.
So I call the apartment complex. "Can you tell me when they'll come fix my air?" I ask.
"Sir, they have several runs to make. They don't report back to us, so I can't give you an answer," the woman says.
"When is the rent due?" I ask.
"Well, I have a lot of bills to pay," I say. "I'm not sure when I can give you the money. Tell you what. I'll drop by the office and get the corporate credit card and rent a hotel room until you guys decide to fix my air. Just deduct it from my rent."
As of NUVO press time, the situation still hadn't been resolved. If it wasn't for legal implications, I'd call them out by name and urge a worldwide boycott of these hosers. But at least I felt better after doing the opposite of what I'd normally do.
The Costanza Theory could work for other people as well. As you may know, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement last week. Since everyone expects the president to name a Gestapo member as her replacement, why not do the opposite and name a liberal to the court?
Start with Bill Clinton and work your way down the list, Mr. President. Maybe John Kerry would be a good choice. You could pick Hillary as a justice; that'd keep her out of the White House permanently. And since she's been investigated about 100 times, her nomination would go through the Senate quickly.
If the president really wanted to apply the Costanza Theory, he could start by telling the truth to the American people.
He could call a press conference and say, "You know what? I planned the war in Iraq before I was even elected. But I had no idea that it would go this badly. We're stuck now, so we better prepare to be there for the next 50 years."
He could add, "I just figured that if I said 9/11 and Saddam enough in the same sentence, people would start believing me. It worked for a hot minute, but I've drained that well dry. The truth is, I have no idea what to do about Iraq now. Anyone got any ideas?"
His approval ratings would go up about 30 points overnight. He'd go down in history as the first truthful president since Eisenhower.
We all could benefit a little from the Costanza Theory.
I talked with The Indy Star's Bob Kravitz for the first time last week. I've ripped him in print for a few years but had never spoken to him until NBA Draft Night at Conseco Fieldhouse. Turns out he doesn't have any visible fangs or horns and he seems to be a nice guy.
He was a little peeved that I picked on him a few weeks back about a question-and-answer segment he did for The Star's online product. I mistakenly said the material had appeared in print, when in truth it only appeared on their Web site. I haven't picked up a copy of the paper in about a year, so I didn't know the difference.
He said there are a million different things I could've mocked him about, but the Q-and-A thing wasn't one. I agree. I apologize to Mr. Kravitz and look forward to making fun of him in the future.