Can You? The False Equivalency, Maybe Unintentional Lie

“Can you? No. That’s the wrong question. Ask, have you? You want experience not aspirations or illusions of grandeur. I’ve made that mistake before.” I said this to a friend. She wanted to get a hair bond treatment and was texting her stylist, “can you give an Olaplex treatment”?  Anyone can google and get “online guidance,” but, familiarity does not mean the ability to execute. Yet so often we ask “can you” rather than “what’s your experience with.”

You’ve had an experience where someone is trying to help and you realize they are making it worse. Then, you are stuck saying “it’s ok” or maybe even shouting STOP, please stop. I was changing a flat once and my neighbor offered to help. He tried to remove the lug nuts without removing the hubcap and I am cringing, he is about to damage a $75 part.  Ugh, I have to stop this exercise in imbecility and said, “that hubcap can be tricky to pop off, I’ve got it, I’ve done this before.” 

Up and Over

A few years back, my car stopped in the middle of a tunnel. The guy behind me came up to my window said “I can do this, I can get you out of here. I’ve done this. We can do a bumper push.“  There was no cell service in the tunnel and I thought, nothing to lose.  It worked, I was grateful.  A couple of months ago, my neighbor mentioned an alarm going off behind the stacked washer dryer in the laundry closet. Aha, “I know what it is, I can fix it.” Conventional wisdom would be to remove the dryer from the top of the stack and then pull out the washer to get in order to reach what ever has fallen behind the stack. There is no “wiggle room” with only 2 inches of clearance horizontally on each side and 16 inches of clearance from the top. But, I had perfected the up and over technique and In less than 2 minutes I was up and over with the retrieved the alarm.

Can you is open to interpretation that may or may not be agreed upon with those in dialog.

  • Can you pick me up from the airport? Implied will you pick me up?
  • Can you stop making that racket ? Implied, please be quiet you are annoying.
  • Can you do your taxes? Implied, are you willing and able to complete your taxes?
  • Back to the starter question, can you do an Olaplex hair maintenance bonding treatment?Implied, do you have experience with giving  Olaplex hair maintenance bonding treatments?

This week, consider the nuances of can you; are you asking what you mean or depending on an implied interpretation? 

The first time, I took a video and just in case “I think I can” became “I knew I shouldn’t.”

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