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This and That
by Peter Wakefield Kitcher

I was sitting, doing nothing, and allowing my thoughts to wander. I had been studying how people think and how the brain functions and was wondering how I could include something of importance in my doctoral thesis and add to our knowledge of the brain’s contribution to knowledge.
It occurred to me that when one asks someone what they are thinking about, they often say, “Oh, this and that.” Then I wondered if people made more emphasis on the present such as “this” or of something more distant, such as “that”.
I decided that I would carry out a survey of everyday people and, perhaps, get some inkling of the brain function.
I made a few notes and ventured into the city. I happened to pass a bar quite soon and entered. Only two men were there, both of whom, I thought, had had a few drinks. This might be useful since it might give an insight to emotional decisions.
I approached the bigger and rather more incoherent man who was nursing a large glass of beer and said to him, “If you were asked what you were thinking about, what would you say?”
He gave me a look and said, “I was thinking about this,” pointing to his beer, “and I tell you now I wouldn’t touch that stuff, if you paid me,” pointing at the smaller man’s glass which was half full of Scotch whisky. The smaller man bristled and said, “If you asked me, I’d say this is all I drink and that stuff has deteriorated in recent years and I wouldn’t have it if you asked me.”
Unfortunately, this began to deteriorate into a frenzied argument and I decided to leave.
I realized that this is how people think and that it was not worth following up; I decided to forget the whole research.
Some weeks afterwards, I was invited to a party by a friend. As I walked in, I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and she was alone. I sat next to her.
She talked about her early life and what she had done and I talked about my early life and what I wished I had done. She was charming and intelligent and so attractive and it was obvious that we had so many things in common.
Suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, she stopped and said, ”Have you ever thought about this and that?” and I answered, “As soon as I entered this room, all I have been able to think about is that,” and she said, “I knew it and have been wondering why we were talking about anything else.”
And at this point we decided that we would like to get married.