We Should Overthink Everything
“Don’t overthink it,” we’re always told. To which I say, “Why not?”
Would we have had the key to relativity if Einstein hadn’t overthought it? Would the light bulb have gone off about electricity if Thomas Edison hadn’t overthought it? Would the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz have been able to say “The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side” if Pythagorus hadn’t overthought that? No, no and, well, not without a brain.
Think about it. In fact, overthink it. Should you take the I-405 or the I-710 to that job interview? Which is more scenic? Which is faster? Which has the lesser percentage of you being involved in a fiery crash of epic proportions?
What should you wear? Business casual or full professional? Heels or flats? If they take you on a tour, flats will be much better. But heels make your calves look thinner. Do pants make your butt look big? Maybe you should suggest a Zoom meeting.
See what kind of rabbit holes we can go down here?
You’re out to lunch. What should you order? Do you want an appetizer? If you eat an appetizer, will you be too full for the main course? Should you have a salad or the pasta? What kind of salad? Will arugula give you gas tomorrow or, worse, today? If you have the pasta, will you dribble some sauce on your clean shirt? Maybe you should have fish, or chicken. Is it too early to order wine? Does red wine pair well with tomato sauce and Tums? Should you have dessert or will people think you’re overindulgent?
These are all important considerations. And let’s remember, decisions have consequences! And wouldn't you like to know what those consequences might be?
Wouldn’t you want to overthink a bungee jump? Skydiving? Free solo climbing? Think of everything that could go wrong! Is it just one thing that could go wrong or are there more? How many more? Think of everything you might do to make those wrong things right. Would it help? Maybe. Maybe not. Think about that! Then think about what you’d be leaving behind if everything went wrong. That might be a long list. But then, again, if everything goes right, think about what you’d have missed. It’s a lot to think about. Or overthink about.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet says “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” He’s overthinking. In fact, he overthinks for so long that it’s Shakespeare’s longest but best known soliloquy. And, still, everyone dies in the end.
Which makes me think: Maybe I should go back and rethink this essay.
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'We Should Overthink Everything' in the style of David Hockney, Nancy's artist of choice.*