I Have No Idea What’s Going On

I really love South Park, both the place and the show. My favorite episodes — anyway the ones that make me laugh the hardest — feature Towelie. Towelie is a towel who has been scientifically engineered to be exceedingly helpful. The problem with Towelie is that he is a stoner and once he’s high, he has “…no idea what’s going on.”

I’m not a stoner, but often I have no idea what’s going on.

When I was teaching critical thinking to the entire population of a small city, one of the chapters in our book was “What Does it Mean to Know?” The author of our book, Vincent Ryan Ruggiero, explained that the first step toward real knowledge is saying, “I don’t know.”  It’s difficult for us to say that, or “I have no clue,” or “Beats the hell out of me,” or “I’m confused.” Instead we make stuff up or take a side or revert to tradition or do something so at least we (hope?) we come across to others as knowledgeable.

In most of the episodes featuring Towelie, he’s trying to figure things out, fakes it, lies, gets in trouble, gets his friends in trouble, gets high and finally says, “I have no idea what’s going on.” At that point, he stops. There might be a lesson in there somewhere. Or not.

About ten years ago I painted one of my blue towels to look like Towelie and it rode in the back seat of my car. It was useful both as a traveling companion and to protect the back seat from muddy dogs. As Towelie says, “Don’t forget to take a towel!”





24 thoughts on “I Have No Idea What’s Going On

  1. I have the same feeling too. The phrase “Don’t forget to take a towel”, is also reminiscent of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”–“Always know where your towel is.” and ” I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without my wonderful towel.”

  2. Towelie….now I’ve heard it all! 🙂 I don’t watch television much, so although I know of South Park, I haven’t watched it. I’m staging a one-woman protest against all the commercials on Canadian television. They drive me straight up the wall, and they come on about every six minutes. It’s appalling. So I’m enjoying Towelie vicariously through you…

    • I haven’t watched South Park in a long time (no TV; I also hate commercials). It’s possible to stream it, but I don’t. It is great social satire, though.

  3. I’m proud to admit that there are many many things I don’t know. Sometimes, it’s because I’m not interested enough to find out. The rest of the time, I haven’t gotten to it yet and may never get to it. But that’s a different issue.

    I am well-acquainted with quite a few know-it-alls. I’ve never understood why anyone is bothered by not knowing something. No one knows everything, except my father. He knew everything. He said so.

    • 😀 I have a few friends who have to have the last word and who always make sure everyone knows their opinions in detail. I find I distance these people and I wonder if they even notice?

  4. My father was like that. He had an answer for everything. He used big words wrong all the time. I was in my twenties when I found out that bell peppers weren’t called mangoes.

  5. Intuition is a right brain function, many of us become lost because society trained us to become left brained individuals…focusing on logic rather than our natural instincts

    • I think that intuition is useful but not the whole story. Logic — real logic that includes, “I don’t know” is very useful, too I don’t believe it’s “either or” — both stragedies need to be working for us to make good decisions and humility is also very helpful in letting us step back, look around, gather information and think about something that perplexes us. 🙂

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