Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

We've all heard this. It sounds nice...almost inspirational. But with a little thought, you realize it's a pretty stupid phrase. To illustrate, I'll use one of my favorite debating techniques, the always handy proof-by-counterexample...

How about if someone smacks you upside the face as hard as they can with a boat paddle? Probably won't kill you. Did it make you stronger? I would argue that it did not, in any way, make you stronger. Probably just a lot of pain, a severely damaged relationship, and perhaps a permanent mark.

How about a nasty bout with Leukemia? One which devastates your system to the point of NEAR-death. Unlikely you would be chosen 1st for the tug-o-war team.

And finally...let's say you have SEVERE case of facial acne. Doesn't kill you. Maybe you've learned to deal with it and continue to live your life...maybe even hit the inspirational speaking circuit to tell your story. Oops, no one will book you, don't want to give people nightmares with your scary-looking grill.

Now, in fairness, I think that I get the gist of the phrase. I guess I just take issue with the absoluteness of its tone. More appropriate, I believe, would be "SOME things that don't kill you make you stronger". But how un-inspirational does that sound? :)