Mr. Wizard Part 8: Final Victory
So I’m down at the pool hall, when Mr. Wizard walks in. Hadn’t seen him in awhile, so was hopeful that he’d already left the country, but no such luck. Anyways, he walks up to me with a big grin and says, “Do you ever listen to Alex Jones?”
Well that’s a weird way to start a conversation. And it occurred to me that we were standing in the exact same spot as our first weird conversation. We’d come full circle, but this time my poker senses were tingling.
It was a bluff.
Mr. Wizard had not come down to the pool hall because he was so curious about my listening habits. If that were the case, he would have asked a more general question, like, “Who do you listen to?”
But he didn’t. Nor did he ask me if I ever listened to any of a thousand other commentators. He asked me specifically about Alex Jones. Mr. Wizard was up to something.
Alex Jones, for those of you unfamiliar, is an American talk-radio host and poster boy for ‘conspiracy theories.’ For you Brits, Jones is the American version of David Icke, minus the shape-shifting reptile people ruling the world.
The problem with Jones and Icke, isn’t that they are always wrong. They’re not. But when they are wrong, they are spectacularly wrong. Jones also has the handicap of behaving like a raving lunatic in his public appearances, and so has become an icon or symbol for crazy people.
That being said, how was I going to answer Mr. Wizard’s question?
The direct answer would be “Yes.” I had listened to Alex Jones. I’d seen him interviewed on TV and on the Joe Rogan podcast, I’d heard his radio show a couple times, and I’d even watched one of his movies, like 15 years ago.
That was the honest answer, but, was Mr. Wizard asking an honest question? I doubted it. My poker mind was screaming at me to fold, to reply, “No, never heard of him, who’s that?”
But hey, why be so suspicious all the time? Maybe Mr. Wizard had recently listened to Alex Jones and wanted to discuss what he’d heard. It wasn’t impossible was it? Shouldn’t I be more kind and extend him the benefit of the doubt?
So I said, “Yeah, I’ve listened to him. What’s he up to now?”
That was a mistake.
Mr. Wizard just grinned like a kid who had unwrapped a new train set under the Christmas tree, then leaned forward and said, “He’s a nutcase.”
The implication here, in Mr. Wizard logic, was that because Alex Jones was a nutcase, and I had listened to Alex Jones, therefore I too was a nutcase. And therefore Mr. Wizard has been right about everything, and I wrong.
Something like that.
Never mind that this sort of reasoning makes no sense, I mean he could have asked if I’d ever read Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, or Hillary Clinton. And though the answer still would have been “yes,” that wouldn’t make me a Communist, a Nazi, or a psycho in a pant-suit.
But Mr. Wizard thinks he’s won.
I’m not sure who was the bigger idiot though, him for his stupid line or reasoning, or me for seeing it coming and falling for it anyways. Of course I still could be mistaken, and there was an easy way to find out. I said, “Yes a lot of people think he’s a nutcase, but what was it in particular that caught your attention about him?”
“Well, you asked me about Alex Jones, so… I’m presuming you’d like to discuss Alex Jones?”
“Oh, I never listened to him.”
And there you have it. Mr. Wizard had no direct knowledge of the topic he himself had raised. He only knew what he had been told. He was a know-nothing know-it-all. It was not even possible to have a rational discussion with him, and that was never Mr. Wizard’s goal.
It was all just a stupid little ploy designed to fool me.
And I guess it did.
He fooled me into thinking that he was an honest person, asking an honest question, seeking an honest exchange of ideas. But he wasn’t. He wasn’t seeking the truth, or increased understanding, or an exchange of ideas. He was just trying to “win.”
And his juvenile strategy for winning was to maneuver me into some undesirable category that he could easily dismiss. And there I was. At least in his mind.
But he had unknowingly maneuvered himself into an undesirable category as well: an arrogant, illogical, douchebag. And from his self-appointed position of authority, he looked down on me, as a lesser life form. Someone beneath his contempt as an all-knowing wizard.
Mr. Wizard was a Wizard Supremacist.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Be kind whenever possible, and it is always possible.” Well, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean you should do it. Some people are simply unworthy of kindness.
I must admit I was angry, more so at myself than at Mr. Wizard. And yet it seemed that the time for words was over, that only one solution remained.
So I picked up a pool cue, turned it upside down, and swung it as hard as I could at Mr. Wizard’s head. Crack! The cue splintered into pieces. Mr. Wizard stumbled. I grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head down into my rising knee. Wham! Mr. Wizard fell to the floor.
I kicked him in the stomach. He groaned. I kicked him in the stomach again. He was silent. I put my shoe on his face and twisted until his nose cracked, while I shouted, “Take that you shape-shifting lizard person!”
But when I awoke from my daydream, I was saddened to see Mr. Wizard still standing there. Still grinning his shit-eating grin. It was a great disappointment.
If any more words were exchanged, I cannot remember what they were. I just didn’t see the point. I mean, I could try to explain the error in his thinking, but even if I were successful at that – which I doubt – then what?
Keep talking to Mr. Wizard? To accomplish what? To win?
No one was benefitting from our interaction. Neither of us was made better off. It was quite literally a waste of time. So I kept my mouth shut. If silence was violence I was a stone-cold killer. Be gone sir. I have no use for you. And so Mr. Wizard walked out the door triumphantly, went to the airport, and flew far far away from me. Thank God.
In the end, we both got what we wanted. He the victory he so desired, imaginary though it may be, and myself just a little peace and quiet. But unlike his phony victory, my peace and quiet was very real. And I’m going to call that a win.
I later learned that Mr. Wizard contracted Covid (self-diagnosed lol), and though he didn’t die, I’ve learned to live with disappointment.