If you ever hear someone saying "... technically it doesn't count" in reference to anything other than a sporting event, just point and laugh. If someone said, "Life is a game, and I'm close friend of the referee. I'm sure he'll let us avoid any unpleasant consequences in this case," you'd probably assume they were joking, maybe give a polite chuckle. Right? Considering the hilarity of the later statement, you'd be surprised how often the former appears in serious thought without anyone pointing out the humor.
Fortunately, most people use it only when trying to convince themselves of the validity of a particular course of action. The odds are, the next time you notice someone using this statement, you'll only be pointing and laughing at yourself. Unfortunately, that means it's unlikely anyone else will be able to save you from thinking this way unless you try to explain your "reasoning" to them. Personally, I've missed many chances to point and laugh at myself (until it was too late), including:
- Quitting smoking - "I'm out at the bar with my friends and they all smoke, so technically it doesn't count."
- While I was married - "That chick was really hot and I was drunk at the time, so technically it doesn't count."
- Buying a new computer - "I know this is outside my budget and it's more than I need, but I'm buying it on a credit card, so technically it doesn't count."
Any use of "TIDC" should warn you that the sentence containing it is, at the very least, willfully ignorant, and more likely down right psychotic. It instantly catapults a statement into the same category as "Don't worry, it's not loaded", "It's okay, I'm on the pill", and "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" - If you believe it without solid corroborating evidence, you deserve everything you get. In fact, "TIDC" has a rich history of use just preceding catastrophic errors in judgment, although the scribes of the ages tend overlook it:
- When Microsoft said it would license DOS to IBM but Microsoft would retain ownership of it, some executives at IBM said "It's just the software, and no one makes any money on software, so technically it doesn't count."
- While planning to kill Julius Caesar, the would-be assassins convinced Brutus to help them by saying the Latin equivalent of "It's for the good of Rome, so technically it doesn't count."
- As Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the world governments said variations on "Well, they're not taking any place important and it used to be theirs anyway, so technically it doesn't count."
- In 1981, hospitals started noticing "strange cancers" killing gay men. They called it GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency). The world at large took very little notice of this new disease, because "It's just a bunch of gay men dying off, so technically it doesn't count."