Why Tom likes knocking things over that are “damaging to the people that made them.”


Stubble (Ross): Tom, we’ve called you reckless for a long time, but you’re telling me there’s actually a basis to this that you’re willing to admit right now.
Tom: I like to knock things over sometimes.

Stubble: The number one question is why.
Tom: It’s very satisfying to knock things over. Not everything, just things that are not a big deal to knock over. For instance, a little while ago I knocked over one of these folding chairs. It’s just satisfying to be like, BAaaaah!

Stubble: You knocked it over but then you picked it right back up and sat in it.
Tom: Yeah.

Stubble: So why not just continue throwing it over and picking it back up if it makes you feel so good?
Tom: Maybe I should. I’m not totally a feral animal. I know it’s not okay to knock things over all the time.

Stubble: But what if there were no social norms or rules against knocking things over?
Tom: Yeah. Then I would just be a beast of destruction.

Stubble: What’s the biggest amount of damage you’ve done with this unhealthy obsession?
Tom: Hold on a second. Let’s not call it an unhealthy obsession. But, I think if you’d ask Mike Steffan, it would be every time he makes a tower of Fresh Bar boxes I always knock it over. I don’t care how big it is. I don’t care how long it took him to do it. When I see him doing it I just want to walk up and go BANG, and I LOVE it!

Stubble: Do you ever feel bad about knocking things over?
Tom: No… No… No.

Stubble: So, you like knocking things over, but you don’t like knocking things over that could cause a lot of damage.
Tom: I like knocking things over that are damaging to the people that made them, not to the things. You know what I mean? Stiffy makes a pile of boxes; it’s just fun to knock them over – act like an animal and just be like BRAaawh!

I think what I love about it is that it’s so unexpected, so audacious. It’s like, who would knock over my boxes?

Stubble: Here’s an obvious question: Why aren’t you a lumberjack?
Tom: I should be. Is that a thing? Can people do that?

Stubble: Absolutely.
Tom: Alright. Sign me up.

Ross Pomeroy is the assistant editor of Real Clear Science. Tom Johnson is the editor of Stubble magazine.

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