Less is more

Gene Weingarten on

WASHINGTON -- These are difficult times. We often find ourselves facing hard choices between unappealing alternatives: A flawed Obamacare or no Obamacare? Stick with Trump or shift to Pence? It is time to think positively about it all, and find some solace in the concept of choosing the lesser of two evils. To wit:

Eyelid twitch vs. accidental trigger of the gag reflex

I have to go with the gag reflex, even though it is deeply uncomfortable and mildly alarming and could even make you vomit. But it's my choice because of a strange disquiet the onset of the twitch brings to me, and will soon bring to you, because of something I know and you probably didn't. That little annoying tugging can sometimes be the presenting symptom of Lou Gehrig's disease. You're welcome!

Office Christmas party vs. the neighborhood barbecue

The barbecue, because if you get drunk and clumsily hit on the hostess, pee into the flower bed and pass out facedown, you will still have a job.

Treason by intent vs. treason by incompetence

Ask yourself this: Would you rather lose a foot because the surgeon made a boneheaded mistake or because he wanted to maim you and steal your girlfriend? The results are identically awful, but at least with the second one, the bad guy will rot in jail. Same for treason by intent.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn

Facebook can be really annoying in that it seems to be based on a 10-year-old's idea of friendship, and because it is filled with pointless prolixity and banality from boring people. But LinkedIn is one of the most obnoxious corners of the Web that specialize in annoying everyone with a hemorrhage of unwanted and dishonest emails. Facebook is the lesser evil simply because anything is better than LinkedIn. Trump may be better than LinkedIn.

Garlic salt vs. Old Bay Seasoning

I once had a chance to ask Julia Child if there was any seasoning she flat-out didn't like. "Garlic salt," she said instantly and violently, like someone spitting out a bad clam. This dried monstrosity tastes sorta like garlic only in the sense that cherry Kool-Aid tastes sorta like Lafite Rothschild. My mom habitually used garlic salt and, I say this with fondness, she was a terrible cook. However, Old Bay tastes like something scraped from the rust around toilet pipes then mixed with dandruff harvested from grave-robbed corpses. Faced with this difficult choice, I'm going with garlic salt, in honor of my ma.

Noogies vs. wedgies

Noogies. Underpants and pain are two things that should never go together.


Eric vs. Don Jr.

Tough one. Both like to shoot magnificent wild animals. Junior once compared Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles and has re-tweeted white supremacists. Eric once said that Democrats "are not even people." Both seem genuinely stupid and malign. But the nod here goes to Junior, because he may have actually, deliberately -- because he thought it was smart and advantageous -- provided investigators with enough evidence to get himself indicted.

Nuclear annihilation vs. a slow slide into national mediocrity, fascism and, ultimately, barbarism

This is not as easy a choice as it seems at first glance. There are things to which death is preferable. But I am going with barbarism as the lesser evil, because even in a state of totalitarianism, chaos and violence, there might still be oysters.

Blow to your funny bone vs. stubbing your toe

Stubbing your toe is better because it merely hurts. A blow to the funny bone adds some creepy existential anxiety. You feel like the human body should not ever feel any sensation like that, as though God is urging you to consider your mortality. Added ironic fact: The funny bone, which is really the ulnar nerve, is right at the end of the ... humerus.

My editor vs. a sharp stick in the eye

Depends. If the stick actually penetrates the eyeball and takes out the retina, then probably Tom the Butcher.


Gene Weingarten can be reached at Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group



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