is one of my favorite answers.
Ask me if I wrote a poem today, and I will answer, Theoretically.
Ask me if I love poetry, and I will answer, Theoretically.
Ask me if I can do X or Y, and I will answer . . .
What I mean is something like, Maybe. Maybe not. Or, It depends on how you define poem. Or love.
I sometimes think it's words like theory and theoretically that separate the poets, the journalists, the politicians, from the scientists.
The first time I noticed this difference was a few years ago when a friend who is a doctor asked for a sip of my water. I said I had a cold, but she was welcome to take a chance. Ah, she answered, I am not a big believer in germ theory. Not when I'm this thirsty.
Germ theory? I asked. That's not a theory. Germs are a reality. She smiled and took a swig of my water.
A week later, my friend was very sick, coughing and spewing. She had a cold, not in theory but in reality.
As a joke she offered me some of her water. Would you like a theoretical cold?
11 minutes ago