• It is among the things we do that 'make little logical sense' but for tradition
“Marriage isn’t for everyone.”
That’s my default answer to everyone who questions my single status. Unless that someone is a female seated across from me at a nice restaurant, and is only making polite dinner conversation. Only then does my answer become more nuanced, and I break into a practised monologue that would put Nelson Mandela to shame.
But think about it. Why do most people get married? The guaranteed sex? Companionship? Children? Security? Those are some of the default answers for most about to tie the knot, but the truth is far simpler than that.
Ever heard of the bandwagon effect? It is a psychological phenomenon where people do things only because other people do them, disregarding their own beliefs. It is also known as a herd mentality.
I know what you’re thinking: religion, politics (especially the great con by the name of democracy), world peace, formal education, blah blah… And you’re right. Few people question these “facts of life”. Opium of the masses and all that jazz.
If you’re one of the sceptics, good for you. But how about this… Do you throw away food because it’s past the printed expiration date? Do you buy stuff just because it’s cheap, though not useful? What about that time you decided not to speak to someone to teach them a lesson? Haha! Or doing a job you dislike just because it pays well?
And the list goes on and on. Things we do that make little logical sense but for the fact that they’ve been here since Mr T-rex inhaled his last ash-heavy breath.
A patient of mine who had smoked two packets of cigarettes a day lay dying of cancer in my office.
“Why do you smoke so much?” I asked him.
“My father used to do three packs a day,” he said, “and he was 90 when he died. His father was a smoker, and so were all the other fathers before him. It runs in my family.”
“So does death,” I said before realising how unprofessional it was.
A sure as chocolate milk doesn’t come from brown cows, smoking isn’t for everyone, folks, and neither is marriage. You don’t believe me? Ask Oprah, Beethoven, Isaac Newton, the Wright brothers, or my idol, Nikola Tesla.