Rarasaur is kindly providing a series of prompts for the promptless and this week it’s on the 11th Possibility: the 11th Possibility is the idea that, regardless of data to the contrary, something unexpected and outside the realm of ordinary thought is always potentially around the corner.
This, my dears, speaks to my very soul. I love that kind of non sequitur, and all I could think of after reading the prompt were prime examples of humour that make me go <snort>.
For example, Monty Python’s hapless Spanish Inquisition, bursting in to cry “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!” and then failing miserably to torture or maim anyone, beyond making them sit in the Comfy Chair, ensuring that the victim will get “only a cup of coffee at 11” o’clock and making the torture “worse by shouting a lot”.
Ah, Messieurs Pythons, how I love you. I never wanted to run a pet shop anyway, I always wanted to be a lumberjack.
You know when you get an ear-worm – one of those tunes you can’t get out of your head, sometimes for days? It’s been a bit like that with this prompt. I keep thinking of something completely different.
Most clamorous have been Messrs Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Both writers convey the 11th Possibility with expertise and panache. In both cases I appreciate their sudden twists of logic which leave me wrong-footed but amused by the dissonance.
In Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, apart from the invention of the Infinite Improbability Drive to power a spaceship, there are little moments when things just don’t quite go according to the usual script.
“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“Ask a glass of water!”
As for Terry Pratchett, almost any page you care to look at will have some kind of twist or turn that leaves the brain faintly disoriented.
The question seldom addressed is where Medusa had snakes. Underarm hair is an even more embarrassing problem when it keeps biting the top of the deodorant bottle.
So does an 11th Possibility matter? For me, it’s about opening up new ideas, creating space to try something different, or just experiencing uncertainty in a safe but stimulating way.
I am making it sound dull. Let’s try this.
Humour is what makes the world go round without us falling asleep or falling out; our creative brains are engaged and exercised and expanded by indulging it.
In my team at work I am the most right-brain of us all. What that says about our team I dread to think. Anyway, on one occasion we were on a workshop together and during the day various members of the team would leave the main room to go and take part in an individual exercise elsewhere. My colleague sitting next to me said, during the tea break, “You know, I keep seeing people going out but I never notice them coming back.”
“There’s a mad axe murderer out there,” I explained. “We’re actually being picked off one by one. By tonight there will just be one of us left. It’s management cutbacks.”
She looked at me strangely. “Trust you,” she said. “I just meant I was impressed by how quietly they all slipped back into the room.”
I sighed. How boring.