Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Human nature exposed in the woods

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By G.D. Maxwell

Like so many things in life, I imagine you can apply the 80-20 rule to explain the garbage I keep finding where people have camped before me. The 80-20 rule, if you’re not familiar with it, is one of those gems of insight business consultants come up with to explain the obvious to the myopic, who feel better paying someone $2,500 a day to tell them the same stuff their staff has been telling them for years for a pittance. It suggests 80 per cent of your customers really only provide 20 per cent of your profits and vice-versa, 20 per cent of them drop a wad and account for 80 per cent of what you make. Like any chestnut of wisdom, it is a blunt instrument but carries a kernel of truth.

The 80-20 rule explains things like VIP lounges at airports, champagne in first class, valet parking at impossibly expensive restaurants, the Chateau Whistler, and why you see 80 year old rich wankers with 20 year old pneumatic blondes on their arms. I also imagine it explains the bizarre things I find left behind in fire pits and around camp sites. Eighty per cent of the people only produce 20 per cent of the trash and 20 per cent of the people should be paddled out to the centre of the lake and dropped in with a sizable chunk of cement tied to their legs for the crap they leave behind. They are pigs and it’s damn insulting to real pigs for me to call them that.

It never ceases to amaze me, for example, that people who have evolved enough to be able to light fires whenever and wherever they want to, still haven’t grasped the simple fact that aluminum foil doesn’t burn. For all its brilliance and manifold uses, aluminum foil only has three outstanding physical characteristics. One, when you wad it up and toss it on the floor, it drives cats crazy – recognizing there are many who would say making a cat crazy is more akin to a short putt than a drive. Two, if you have a lot of fillings in your teeth and make the mistake of believing someone who says chewing a piece of foil is cool, you will see sparks fly out of your mouth, which is unquestionably cool but hurts like hell for the next several days. Don’t ask how I know. Finally, if you warp aluminum foil around a potato, drop it into a fire, let it burn for a couple of hours and take it out, you will have an overcooked, charred lump of potato, as opposed to an ingot of molten aluminum or aluminum ash. It’s not supposed to burn, idiot.

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