Friday, November 24, 2006

What is Antihelp?

My brother deserves credit for introducing me to the concept of ANTIHELP. I see someone logged an Urban Dictionary entry for the term, but I find the definition given there unsatisfactory, because it doesn't properly identify the importance of intentions in the administration of ANTIHELP; nor does it recognize the distinctive characteristics of the outcome of ANTIHELP.

ANTIHELP is, of course, the fusion of "ANTI-" and "HELP." The general gist of "ANTI-" is well known; it implies "opposite," "against" and, most germane to this discussion, "opposite in effect." This is the ANTI- found in antigravity, the opposite of gravity, the imaginary force that would move the apple up from Newton's head and back into the tree before hurtling it off into outer space at ever increasing speed.

Good intentions are a key component of ANTIHELP. Malice is never a factor. When malice is involved, more appropriate words may be used, words such as SABOTAGE or SUBVERSION. Furthermore, ANTIHELP would be much less painful if malice were involved, because one would feel much more justified in feeling anger. It's infinitely harder to be angry when the subverter was simply trying to help.

ANTIHELP occurs when your mother-in-law comes to stay with you, washes all your dishes and stows every dish in the last place you'd look for it. It's a well-intentioned act of kindness that will leave you cussing things like "Where's the bleepin' sifter!" for months after she leaves.

On the balance sheet of help, she left you with 10 fewer minutes of dishwashing and an hour's worth of cussing and hunting for lost utensils. Note the deficit, the loss. ANTIHELP demands this deficit. You must be left worse off than if you had no help at all. No help at all is a zero. ANTIHELP always leaves one below zero. The absence of gravity isn't antigravity. In order to have antigravity, you need that force pushing in the opposite direction of gravity. So it is with ANTIHELP.


Anonymous Mr. Morty said...

I like it. I grok. Another example -- Jilter to the jilted, during a breakup: "...but I still would like us to be friends..."
Never helps. Antihelp.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Never helps. Antihelp."

Fer shizzle.

9:17 AM  

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