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Book of Opposite Day

Questions for Contemplation

1. This Book begins with Patrick and SpongeBob staging a birthday party for Squidward - but it isn't Squidward's birthday. Do you think they were aware of that? Have you ever surprised someone in bed? Did it make them irritable like Squidward? Would the world be a better place if someone would throw a birthday party for someone else even when it wasn't their birthday? When was the last time you threw a birthday party for someone, let alone stage it when it wasn't even their birthday? Can you think of someone who could use a birthday party? What's stopping you?

2. People can be touchy about land values, especially in the United States, where owning land is a big deal. Can neighbors ruin your ability to sell your house? Have you ever seen a sale fall through because of bad neighbors? Does your house and yard help or hurt the local land values?

3. Taking advantage of the naive by manipulating their honesty almost always backfires. Squidward knew that his concoction of "opposite day" would appeal to SpongeBob, but he didn't really believe in it, himself. What characteristics of Squidward do not allow him to believe in his fun constructs? Do you ever make something, and have absolutely no fun doing it? Why would you bother? Have you ever presented something you knew would appeal to someone, for your own behind-the-scenes benefit, without actually believing in it yourself? Have you ever been fooled by someone this way? How did that make you feel?

4. We know how important it is to be ready. SpongeBob is so willing to completely participate in Squidward's construction that he actually says "I'm not ready" when he actually is ready. At first this may seem heretical, but think about it: SpongeBob is merely committed. When was the last time you were that committed to an enterprise that you thought would be fun? What was the last thing you were committed to? How committed were you - enough to violate your own tenets? Have you ever been committed to something that turned out to be a big lie, that you weren't supposed to find out was a big lie? How did that make you feel? Have you ever wanted to not make a full commitment to something, just because you're afraid it might be a lie? What price (if any) did SpongeBob pay for fully committing himself to Squidward's lie?

5. Games are fun, but can they be taken too far? When SpongeBob explains the idea behind Opposite Day to Patrick and suggests he play along, Patrick immediately begins to hold his breath (since that's the opposite of breathing.) SpongeBob has to stop Patrick from killing himself, with the admonition, "Not that opposite." It's a kind rebuke, He could have been more insulting. When you rebuke others, what tone do you take? When you see someone do something particularly stupid, do you call them an idiot, or do you kindly point them in the proper direction? SpongeBob takes responsibility for engaging Patrick in the game right away by making sure he understands the game's boundaries. What games do you play? Do you know the boundaries? Do you play stupidly sometimes? Who in your life reminds you "not that opposite?"

Statements for Consideration and Absorbtion

You should throw a birthday party for someone even if it isn't their birthday.
Manipulating the honesty of the naive may appear to work in the short term but will not work in the long term.
If you're going to do something, do it completely, but don't hurt yourself.
If you are honest, sometimes you can be participating in a lie and not realize it.
If you are honest, you can also achieve your own successes despite the lie.
Rebuke others kindly.

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