The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Games people play

Wednesday, 29 February 2012



Posted by Kathryn Edwards


California economist Glen Whitman’s preoccupation with ‘Two Things’ is such fun that it’s no wonder it gets whirled around the papers every now and again, most recently in Saturday’s Guardian.  Its premiss – laid out by a man whom Professor Whitman met in a bar – is this: for every subject, there are only two things you really need to know.  “Everything else is the application of these two things, or just not important.”  

“Oh,” said the professor.  “OK, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  

Not content to limit the analysis to his own game, Whitman has quizzed those from other worlds to discover the lie of their lands.  These are some of the perspectives he’s been collecting:  


The Two Things about Medicine

1.  Do no harm. 

2.  To do any good, you must risk doing harm. 



The Two Things about being an Executive Assistant

1.  The boss is always right. 

2.  The boss is always wrong. 



The Two Things about Marketing: 

1. Find out who is buying your product. 

2. Find more buyers like them.



The Two Things about Writing: 

1.  Include what’s necessary. 

2.  Leave everything else out. 

Nicholas Kronos  


The Two Things about Civil Engineering

1.  Dirt + Water = Mud. 

2.  You can’t push a rope. 

Todd Grotenhuis  


You can see where my thinking’s going: can we usefully hitch a ride? 

Okay, over to you.

What are the Two Things about Arranging a Funeral

Answers in a comment box below, please. A cigar will be awarded for the best.  


12 comments on “Games people play

  1. sweetpea

    Friday 2nd March 2012 at 7:49 am

    1. Do to the deceased as you would be done by.

    2. Try not be done.

  2. Thursday 1st March 2012 at 2:14 pm

    […] remember Kathryn’s post here setting out the rules of the Two Things game? Here’s how it […]

  3. Thursday 1st March 2012 at 1:20 pm

    – Prepare for the worst
    – Hope for the best

  4. X Piry

    Thursday 1st March 2012 at 11:54 am

    1. Do what the family wants.
    2. Don’t be suprised if they don’t know what they want.

  5. Thursday 1st March 2012 at 10:43 am

    1)He/she is dead: what’s the worst that can happen?
    2)He/she is dead: each detail is of vital importance.

  6. Kathryn Edwards

    Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I thought:

    1. The bereaved are free to arrange pretty much whatever they want for a funeral.
    2. The bereaved are often too blasted by grief to know what they want.

  7. Jonathan

    Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 3:49 pm

    No, come to think of it, he’s not your client, is he?

    2 Wake up, Jonathan

  8. Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 3:49 pm

    1. Count your losses
    2. Count your blessings

  9. Jonathan

    Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 3:48 pm

    1 Listen to your client

    2 Outlive him

  10. Vale

    Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 3:42 pm

    1. It’s all about the dead person
    2. It’s nothing to do with the dead person

  11. Jehdeiah

    Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 1:06 pm

    1. Pay attention to every body
    2. Pay attention to everybody

  12. Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 12:28 pm

    1. Prepare thoroughly to avoid uncertainty and confusions

    2. Don’t over prepare, allow for spontaneity

  13. Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 11:10 am

    Do what needs to be done.
    Do NOT to what doesn’t need to be done.

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