Is there a school or college in America that teaches someone how to be inscrutable? I doubt it. From what I hear, many of today’s public and private schools don’t even teach kids geography or how to sign their own names.
What is inscrutability? It’s a person’s talent for not displaying his or her emotions, personal opinions, beliefs, net worth or ZIP code.
In short, to be a zero or mystery to anyone who might ask, “Is that dude a Republican? Is that woman kind to animals? Are you scrutable?”
Inscrutable, the word, comes from a Latin verb “Scutari,” meaning “to search or examine.” A related word is “scrutiny.” (Aren’t you glad we’ve gotten all that etymology out of the way?)
Inscrutable persons come in all shapes, sizes and nationalities.
Many of them are corporate giants. I've heard that at some business schools there are professors who say “if you wish to become a high-powered executive and you’re scrutable, you're screwed. Your enemies and competitors will detect every move you intend to make.” Or words to that effect.
But think of this paradox: the more inscrutable a person learns to be, the less transparent she or he becomes. And in today’s world, the cry for transparency is heard down the halls of Wall Street, in Tyrone Mall and inside U.S. Senate restrooms. How can anyone be both inscrutable and transparent?
I must confess: inscrutable people wear me out. That’s because I never know where I stand with them or what they’re thinking. On the other hand, scrutable people have no guile. You can always tell how they’re feeling and what they may be thinking.
But what if they’re faking it? Let’s say Harriett is famous for being honest, open and scrutable. Everyone trusts her. But one day she slips up and somehow reveals she’s actually inscrutable. Where do you go with them apples, partner?
President Trump is neither scrutable nor inscrutable. Two reasons for that: (1) He’s a liar, and (2) he changes his mind every six minutes. So how can you know what he really means or stands for? I’m not criticizing Trump. With a mindset like his, I bet he confuses the pants off Vladimir Putin every time they get together.
When I was younger, I preferred inscrutable women. I believed in the saying that “Where there is no mystery there is no charm.” But as time passed, I realized how much time and effort I was spending as I tap-danced around my most recent inscrutable woman (her name was Kitzy Faloom), pondering what might be behind her secret smile.
One day I woke up and realized there was really nothing behind Kitzy’s inscrutability. She was just not very bright.
From then on, I tried to seek out scrutable women. With them, a person can stop the pettifoggery and get right down to what we came here for, whatever that may be.
Occasionally people will ask me, “Are YOU inscrutable?” I reply, “No, but apparently some of my columns are.” Hardly a week or a month passes without someone saying to me, ‘Driver, what was that last tirade all about?’” I reply, “I’ll let you know just as soon as I look up the meaning of ‘tirade.’” That usually ends the query.
Can you think of anyone more inscrutable, or nearly so, than Special Counsel Robert Mueller? I can’t. His supporters and adversaries keep saying, “Tell us more, Bobbie. Kick the lid off what you know. End the suspense so that we can get on with crucifying or glorifying Trump.” Mueller merely replies, “Read my report. It’s all in there.”
Not a bad comeback. I think I’ll use it myself someday.