Paint-Covered Fingers

Something to ponder…

Why is it that when someone tells you that there are billions of stars in the universe, you automatically believe them. But if they tell you there’s wet paint somewhere you have to touch it?

Words have intense power. The meaning behind them allows for extensive analysis. If we wanted to, we could probably choose to debate the true meaning of the word “meaning.” But, then again, do we really want to? English majors and scientists alike take great pleasure out of discussing hidden meanings. It becomes an adventure, a new answer to be discovered.

However, sometimes our eagerness to analyze everything can conversely put blinders on other aspects of our knowledge, as we also allow ourselves to be persuaded. We are pulled in by the allure of well-made rhetorical decisions. We know that the adorable bears on the Charmin Ultra commercials are probably not the most compatible with our toilet paper needs, yet we eagerly go Charmin when it comes time to make the decision (or at least I do). We watch Bojangles commercials and laugh at the dramatic placement of the fluffy biscuit on the table and the overly-excited workers, but when driving to find a place to get our fast-food fix, we turn right into the Bo’s drive-through. The acknowledgement of the persuasion is there. We realize how ridiculous commercials may be, but we are still affected by them.

When we think that we can see past the rhetorical decisions made by companies and believe that we are fully aware of the persuasion around us—maybe we should think again. Because I don’t know about you, but I almost always walk away with at least a smudge of new paint on my finger and stare up at the sky in peaceful, unquestioning admiration. Next time you feel like you are not susceptible to persuasion, ask yourself how many times you have tested the door with the “Wet Paint” sign. Or, how many times have you tried out your just-painted fingernails to see if the polish has dried because the bottle promised that it “dries in seconds,” while also just accepting the huge statement made by your star-gazing friend that there really are a billion stars in the sky that we just can’t see…



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