The "Done and Done" Syllogism

Something must be done.

I am doing something.

Something has been done.


I like that syllogism, and I’ve often seen it at work, especially in politics.

But the incident that comes to mind was this:

Many years ago, we lived next door to a neighbor who had utterly let his back yard go to ruin. The entire space was choked with weeds, brambles and a large assortment of wild, ugly, untamed plants. He himself was a total slacker who made his living as a substitute teacher and evidently spent most of his time drinking and watching tv.

One day I saw him emerge into his back yard carrying a canister of Weed-B-Gon. He gave the yard an appraising look, aimed the can in the general direction of the homegrown jungle, and fired one quick pfffft.

He contemplated his handiwork, then turned back into the house.

I have never before or since seen such a completely ineffectual act executed with such profoundly misplaced hope.

But he could return, warmed with the satisfaction of the above syllogism, to his sofa and sitcoms.