Here’s a new thought exercise game I call “Tenfold.”
It’s simple: I give you 10 completely unrelated things, and you stack rank them in order, with #1 being what you think is the best thing and #10 being what you think is the worst thing. (Feel free to use your own definitions of what “best” means).
Let’s try this out and see how it goes. Tenfold these:
The Feeling of a New Haircut
The Mona Lisa
Nick at Nite
The song “Oops, I did it Again”
Robert Downey Jr.
The Television Show Two and a Half Men
"Your Mom" Jokes
1. The Feeling of a New Haircut
2. The Mona Lisa
5. The song “Oops, I Did It Again”
6. Nick at Nite
7. Robert Downey, Jr.
9. “Your Mom” jokes
10. The television show Two and a Half Men
The Mona Lisa is a classic, sure, but I’ve never felt any personal resonance with it. I guess I wouldn’t call a haircut resonant, but I’m so irresponsible with getting my haircut at reasonable intervals, so it feels extra good to get it over with every time.
Checkers is a fun pastime, though I couldn’t imagine it’s informed things I care about as much as The Mona Lisa has. Still a great game though. Simple, playable at almost any age. Practically made for kids to play with their grandparents.
Strawberries are pretty great, but I couldn’t put them higher since they get progressively worse after you eat maybe three of them. But they’re versatile in cooking. You have to give them that. I ate a strawberry out of a garden for the first time last month. It was gritty, but I still liked it.
"Oops, I Did It Again" is a pretty good song. I’m in the mood for strawberries a little more often and they’re generally more rewarding. I’m a fan of Britney Spears, though, and her early work holds a fair amount of nostalgia for me. If the song on this list was "…Baby, One More Time," "Lucky," or "I Will Be There," it would have finished higher.
Nick at Nite should have the nostalgia factor as well, but I never really felt I was the target audience, even as I got older, so I rarely watched it. I remember watching Gilligan’s Island on there, but little else. But I’m glad to have had the options. I did really like Gilligan’s Island.
Robert Downey, Jr. is certainly talented. I liked Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Charlie Bartlett, though I think his admirers get wrapped up in his charm or some sort of intangible, but exaggerate his acting capabilities. He’s a good actor, but not a defining actor of our generation or anything. I never heard anyone defend Nick at Nite that much, so I’ll inclined to pick that first.
Here’s where we get into the things I actively dislike. Starbucks isn’t as bad as people say it is, but I hate the culture that surrounds it. I kind of hate coffee culture in general, but the barrier to entry that Starbucks willfully creates is especially off-putting.
"Your Mom" jokes are cliche and easy at best and bigoted at worst. They’re misogynistic practically by definition, but tend to employ elitism and body shaming as well. It’s punching down rather than punching up in every case.
Two and a Half Men is like a TV show version of the “Your Mom” joke, but it also helped create Chuck Lorre’s presence as a successful TV exec, which has shaped the way TV networks look at shows in a negative way. Good shows get cancelled despite having avid fans because Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, etc. have given executives unrealistic expectations about what a show should be able to achieve and have obscured the issues of the outdated Nielsen system.
I put way too much into this, but it was really a cool exercise. By comparing dissimilar things, you kind of get a picture of what matters to you and what you look for in experiences. This exercise places #1 on my list.