(first appeared 10/9/2012 as a spoken word story on www.thetripodcat.com, may it RIP, as read by Brogan Sullivan)
Did you know that if you throw a snowball against a wall it will leave a mark that looks identical to your hand? Obviously, the size of the splatter and subsequent handprint will be relative to the distance that the snowball traveled before impact, but it will always leave four identifiable fingers and a thumb with a few superfluous bits of icy wetness clinging nearby.
What’s more, due to the fascinating nature of snow crystals and their hexagonal symmetry the snow clinging to the wall will actually contain your fingerprints. You would have to have a machine that could put the snowball back together perfectly before you could get the print but it’s still an interesting fact and might cause you some concern if the snowball you threw didn’t actually hit a wall but instead flew off course and hit a small child on a toboggan in the head and caused them to swerve into a cement mixer traveling at a high rate of speed on a nearby icy road. Stuck to the bloody mangled wooly cap would be all the evidence the authorities would need to put you away for a long time.
Not really. I just made all that stuff up.
The question is whether or not you believed me even for a moment. Doubtlessly you’ve thrown your share of snowballs and seen them explode into watery Rorschach smudges against countless walls and such, but I wonder if for a minute you thought about it and it actually kind of made sense why a snowball thrown by a hand would leave a hand-shaped spot on a wall. If you’re smart enough to manipulate logic and math to the point where you can make obvious crap sound plausible then you have to reconsider your definition of smart, don’t you?
As far as the science involved with water molecules, crystalline lattices and six-fold symmetry, I’m sure you were just happy to plow right through any actual explanations and get any references to physics behind you. Had I started in about how snow crystals tend to form simpler shapes when the supersaturation (humidity) is low as opposed to more complex shapes at higher humidity (had I mentioned supersaturation again I fear you would have abandoned this story entirely) then I could have probably told you that the snowball not only carried your fingerprints but your phone number and credit score as well and you would have believed me just to get past it quickly.
Maybe science is throwing us a bone by making a snowball explode into a dripping ambiguous design as opposed to some cool quantum anomaly. What could be more fun than a smear that lets you see whatever you want in it? I will admit that the post-collision snowball lacks the bilateral symmetry of your standard Rorschach inkblot but you get the general idea.
Or do you? Perhaps the mere mention of the word symmetry in the last sentence tipped you off that we were once again going to plunge into the verbiage of academia and you’re bracing yourself for the blizzard of big words sure to follow. Sort of a like a big freezing snowball right smack to the brain.
You would think that a guy who came up with a famous psychological test would be nerdy and unattractive but Hermann Rorschach was a dead ringer for Brad Pitt. How he had time to fiddle around with inkblots when he could have been out starring in movies and banging chicks I have no idea. Perhaps his good looks were the reason his inkblot tests didn’t catch on until he sold them to someone who was nerdy and unattractive like Hans Huber. For this reason, Huber is widely considered the Ray Kroc of psychology.
Not really. I mean he could be but I just made that up so it’s probably not the case. I wasn’t lying about Hermann looking a lot like Brad though.
The word crock, as in “someone is feeding you a crock of shit”, actually comes from the screw job given to the McDonald brothers by Ray Kroc.
No, not really. Crock means an earthenware vessel and its meaning predates Ray Kroc by thousands of years and before you get any bright ideas about the term “crock pot” it also came about before ol’ Ray McFucked the burger brothers. Obviously, otherwise it would be a “Kroc pot” first of all and second of all, who cooks burgers in a crock pot?
I’m not sure why you need bilaterally symmetrical inkblots in the first place. A not-bilateral-at-all snowball thrown against a black wall would work just as well. Truth is if you want to learn about a subject’s motivations, perceptions, cognitive operations and response tendencies, all you have to do is write a dumb short story and see what they read into it.