Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's Time to Institute a 3-foot Rule

Today I would like to introduce the idea of proximity. In particular, proximity to things you shouldn't be near. And no, I'm not talking about germy people, deranged exes, rabid dogs, or crazed fans. Even though I think you need to watch out for those too. Here's what happened to me last weekend. I was afraid for my life.

If only. Here's what really happened last weekend.

Ok, ignoring those self-deprecating thoughts, I would like to broach the topic of things you shouldn't be near which are worth more than your house. Travel gives incredible opportunities to see priceless works of art. You can drink in the sights of the masters or, more likely, make yourself seem incredibly cultured next time you want to hit on a waitress. You'll be talking about the elegance of Van Gogh's brushstrokes and how you were exhilarated by that Monet. You can sound like a worldly, high-class gentleman. Or an ass. But you never know, some women like that.

While it seems like it should be common sense, an art museum is a situation for "lookie no touchie". I doubt we can convince the Louvre to do an interactive play-doh exhibit. Though, that would be awesome. Until we can, we have to keep our proximity beyond the damage threshold. Look at Winston here, he's doing such a good job.

Most Americans are well aware of this because we know what will happen if we don't follow this rule. Let's see how Bertrand does.
That probably wasn't a good idea. Here's what happened next.
Ouch. It looks like Bertrand isn't doing so hot. Maybe you shouldn't try and poke a painting. That seems pretty obvious. But one thing that isn't as obvious, the acceptable proximity to pieces of art vary greatly. I've devised a graph to explain this.

As you can see from the graph, there is a certain distance you much stay away from even the worst art. When you get to point A, the distance drastically increases. Point A applies to art done by people you'd hear about in an introductory art history class. Assuming you took and weren't just texting the entire time.

Point B is a little more interesting. Point B is where the acceptable proximity starts to increase exponentially. The location of this point varies depending on the type of art. I will break it into "Art that Looks Like Stuff" and "Art that Looks Like it Was Done by a Kindergartner". You know what I'm talking about.

In the case of "Art that Looks Like Stuff", point B is where viewers spontaneously break out crying while in its presence. In the case of "Art that Looks Like it Was Done by a Kindergartner", this is where it becomes so ugly that, if it was actually done by a kindergartner, the parents would be too embarrassed to even put it on the fridge. Better stay away from that. The ugliness may rub off on you.

Not all tourists seem to have gotten this memo. I once saw a little, Italian boy on a field trip put his hand on a Michelangelo statue. Too bad my spidey senses weren't buzzing or I would have stepped in with a dramatic


I could have tackled him to the ground to deter this horrendous snafu. Maybe it was good I didn't. The clumsy person I am probably would have looked like this afterward.

This is why I think we need to institute a 3-foot rule. It's just safer for everyone.

Until next time, God bless America.


  1. Poor Bertrand. Or maybe lucky Bertrand? I'm pretty sure there are clubs you can go to where they charge an arm and a leg to tie you up like that!

    1. I think you're right. I was always a little too scared to go into those. Maybe Bertrand will head there next, though I'm not sure how to draw a stick figure in a leather bikini...