The email subject line simply announced, “Bamboozle”. At first, I thought the email might be yet another rant about the ongoing political controversy enveloping Washington D.C. and the rest of the nation these days. I decided to open the email anyway. It turned out to be spam about a special sale of “Bamboozle Housewares”.
Why would anybody use a word with such a negative connotation as a name for their product? They might as well come out with subsidiary brands called hornswoggle for the flatware, and hoodwink for the table linens.
So, I clicked the link only to find advertising for plates, and bowls manufactured from bamboo. Evidently, the designers chose the name as a wordplay of the plant’s name but failed to investigate the word’s meaning before giving their company such a bad name. If I was the person naming the dinnerware, I’d invent a new name such as “Bamboodle”, or “Bambeasy” instead.
I suppose people will buy the fancy dishes because the name looks “cute” or they just don’t know the meaning of the word. My collegiate dictionary defines bamboozle as:
“1: to deceive by underhanded methods: dupe, hoodwink
2: to confuse, frustrate, or throw off”
I don’t think I’d want to eat breakfast from a bowl that celebrates dishonesty and deceit. Life is already full of humbug, misinformation, and BS. I don’t need to have a set of hoax dishes in my cupboard. Perhaps there are people who will see the name and buy it out of a sense of contrarian humor. Maybe they will be sucked in by the wordplay alone.
To me, the word bamboozle doesn’t give me warm, fuzzy, happy feelings. I’ve been burned far too many times by fast-talking salespersons, politicians, and con-artists whose aim is to mercilessly bamboozle their victims. Civilization is in a world of hurt because of delusional misinformation.
We are dazzled by speeches that say exactly what we want to hear. Sometimes we willfully ignore the warning signs of fraud and are seduced by the bamboozlement. We’re strung along until it’s too late to back away. We have a great deal of emotional investment or have spent money on the scheme, so we justify the mistake and continue to be taken in. I’ve been led down the garden path more than a few times and have had to swallow my pride and admit that I have been bamboozled.
Healthy adults mess up then realize their mistakes. Sometimes others encourage us to misstep then we realize that error, too. We have a surefire way to defend ourselves against the sucker punches of deceitful people. That is, to put on our thinking caps. Life is like the science of trial and error. We already know that dishonesty and fraud are examples of how not to live. Just as a good scientist doesn’t become too attached to an hypothesis, the smart person doesn’t become attached to wishful thinking.
We can be open-minded without being vulnerable to those who wish to bamboozle us. We can exercise healthy skepticism.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the great Carl Sagan. “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”