I don’t do ‘perplexed’. Not now.
Perplexity is for those with expectations: those who think the world should make sense; that a+b should equal a+b. But now that I’ve been around awhile, I’ve realised that due to factors invisible in the original equation – the vagaries of human nature, acts of god, misunderstandings regarding the nature of a and b or good old malice aforethought – a+b can just as easily result in p, q or z.
This might well make me angry, worried or even devastated, but not confused or bewildered. Shit happens. And while you might prefer that I phrase it differently… well, it just does.
Take the possibility, for example, that Donald Trump becomes President of the US. Dangerous Man + Top Job should not equal success, and if it does, I will be enraged and devastated – but not perplexed. The outcome would be the result of those factors overlooked when he first popped up: human gullibility, his ability to home in on national insecurities, and perceived shortcomings in his opposition. Unfortunate, but not beyond the realm of understanding.
I’m tempted to say that one of the main reasons for all these p’s, q’s and z’s is stupidity, but that would be unfair. Stupid is only stupid in my terms, and my terms are no more valid than anyone else’s, much as I’d prefer it otherwise.
Herb, meanwhile, is very perplexed by the fact that his beloved owner has walked out the door and left him behind with me for half an hour.
He is very young, and doesn’t yet understand that even if a+b = a+b 60% of the time, there is always that other 40%.