Future Perfect

Dear Reader (including those of you whose home offices are closer to Les Nessman’s than Don Draper’s),

It’s all very simple really: Things are complicated.

In journalism, there’s an old joke that’s really more like an adage, or maybe it’s an old adage that is really more of a joke: “Three examples equals one trend.”

I don’t think this is actually true. But there’s something to it. Perhaps because it feels true to the reader and the writer (and editor), it has a certain amount of truthiness to it. There’s just something about three examples that flips some plausibility switch in your brain. One example feels like an anecdote. Two seems like it could be a coincidence. But three? “Oh okay, there must be something here.” (I guess this tipping point is sort of like the difference between 6 Minute Abs and 7 Minute Abs. Six minutes makes no sense, but seven? Yeah, that’s the ticket.)

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