What’s black and white and red all over?

Stephanie Schoch

Indicators are meant to be hints. If you’re anything like me, advanced sudoku would be impossible without them. Most often, when searched on Google at least, indicators have much to do with science, each a small token of gold, easily exchanged and holding just enough information to be scientific as well as intriguing.

If you have an aging uncle or distant relative whose catchphrase is “did you know,” you’re sure to be (in this case literally) a wealth of knowledge. I feel like so many of the statistics and predictions that are put “out there” are meant to shock us, make us think twice. Competing with one another, it is as if these tiny forecasts are jumping up and down like Hermione in potions class, hoping to hold the attention of anyone who will listen in order to make their jaw hit the floor; either that or for the confused and questionable stares.

There are a bunch of “apparentlys.” Apparently attraction causes preferential treatment. Apparently people in love are more likely to be mean.

Apparently spiritual people are more likely to be mentally ill, intelligent people are more likely to binge drink, however big your wrists are is an indication of your “natural” weight, and unhappy people are more likely to watch TV while happy people often read and socialize.

How is it that these miniscule facts have the ability to become tic-tac sized terrorists? Although some correlations are not hard to interpret, others covertly lay in the base of our brains, growing, sprouting roots that have us saying “whaaaaaaaa?” until finally our brains turn to mush — oatmeal, porridge-like mush (how did you think your crazy uncle or distant relative got to be that way, huh?). Intricate questions have a way of causing us to scrutinize until there is nothing left to ponder. And the smaller the question, the bigger its mind-blowing powers.

When it comes to indicators, as a society we customarily like to be given a moderately challenging question. Not too hard, not too easy, but just right.
We like to be spoon fed, yet every other bite we like to take control of the utensil. We are not given the answer, but instead another piece of the puzzle so that we feel accomplished when we finish the last, however, not all, of the puzzle.

I think people are afraid to let go, to not know all of the answers. But, of course, I’m right! One of the largest fears of your fellow man is fear of the unknown.

So why exactly are we afraid to find each puzzle piece on our own? Maybe it is impatience, or possibly it is coupled with a fear of being unsure.

Whatever the case, we want — we need — to find the final answer: it would be like someone setting up a riddle and never giving us the solution. (Though when it comes to riddles, we are not always as hell-bent on finding the answers. You throw away the outside and cook the inside, then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat? No one really cares). However, when it comes to questions like what does your life look like in 10 years, or what career have you chosen, it is easy to see how these sometimes mysterious riddles wrapped in enigmas could suddenly become tic-tac sized hazards.

We need hints in life. If they suddenly pulled the extinction card, crosswords would go extinct, and humankind would go crazy — apparently. Let’s not test it.

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