Finishing a thought so I can move on to other things…
I have explored – for my personal interest but hopefully others’ as well – the issue of how it feels when your opinions are diminished, derided or dismissed.
All together now…
“And those are just the “D’s.”
I thencontributed my invaluable “Two cents worth” to how the people whose opinions we personally decry – sorry, I had one left – genuinely believe – and more importantly, feel – that their opinions are correct.
There is a remaining area I wish to pursue before tying this up in a ribbon, indicating nota finalizing conclusion, but, like the scientific community asserts, “The answer for now.” (Replacement Answer: “To Come.”) (Pending further examination.)
Before I proceed to this, for me, previously untraveled terrain, allow me to momentarily pause for an alternate scenario: a situation fraught with dangerous provocation where peace and harmony thankfully prevail.
The story concerns bread.
You might at this juncture be scratching your head, proclaiming
“What’s ‘situationally provocative’ about bread?”
Let me just tell you…
With the appropriate psychological underpinning, you can get into a fight about anything. I once nearly lost a good friend when we went at it hammer and tongs about who was the funniest Marx Brother. (Correct Answer: Chico. And shut up.)
Okay, so bread.
I am having an enjoyable dinner with a friend – who still believes Groucho’s the funniest Marx Brother but we have agreed to disagree about that – and there is a basket of bread sitting on the table.
Potential “Inciting Predicament”:
My friend eats bread.
I am trying my best notto.
Which is tough because this is really good bread – hard and crusty on the outside; meltingly soft on the interior.
I love that bread!
But I am rigorously determined to abstain.
We could easily “get into it” about that.
HIM: (REACHING FOR THE BASKET) “You want some bread?”
ME: “No thanks. I’m trying to lay off.”
“I’m going to have some.”
“Be my guest.”
“I know I shouldn’t…”
“It’s terrific bread. Go for it.”
(TAKING A WEDGE OF BREAD FROM THE BASKET) “I guess I’m just weak.”
“You don’t have to make excuses. Enjoy the bread.”
(EATING THE BREAD) “I know what you’re thinking.”
“I’m not thinking anything.”
‘’You’re thinking ‘The guy can’t control himself. He’s just stuffing himself with bread!’”
“I don’t care if you’re stuffing yourself with bread.”
“But you believe I am stuffing myself. You just said it.”
“I just said it because you said it.”
“Man, I hate that.”
“You think you’re better than I am.”
And we’re off to the races.
The illustrative point – by exemplifying contrast – is…
That didn’t happen. My friend ate the bread and I didn’t. And there was no confrontational muss and fuss.
I could add “And I deliberately held me tongue” in this story, making methe superior person. But the truth is, the issue of unequal bread consumption never came up. Not even just in my mind. Proving that there are situations that can– because they all can – but do not provoke fireworks.
Although a guy calling me “judgmental”…
Never mind. It’s over. And more importantly,
It was a fictional conversation.
Still, under alternate circumstances – the infamous Marx Brothers kerfuffle for one– things could have seriously gone haywire.
And the (theoretical) question is,
By which I mean “Why?” beyond yesterday’s exploration of the dueling disputants both believing – and more importantly, feeling they’re right.
Today’squestion – belatedly arrived at – is:
“Why does it matter so much?” Chico? Groucho? Who cares? (Though it’s unquestionably Chico.)
My mind drifts parallelingly to thoughts of adult people whom we have experienced suddenly “go off” at the seeming – though not for them– smallest provocation, triggering the – generally unmentioned though not always– reaction of
“Who didn’t hug you?”
(Spoken sarcastically or sincerely, subject to your emotional temperament and level of personal empathy.)
Similarly, we have encountered people, arguing with a bludgeoning urgency far beyond their stated enthusiasm for the issue or its relative importance in the overall scheme of things, leaving you wondering,
“Who – in your personal background – didn’t hear you?”
That’s all I’ve got.
Hopefully, this critical exploration will help me. So that if the situation arises where I am defending “Kukla’s” being inherently funnier than “Ollie”, I will have the presence of mind to escape that incendiary conflict to ask myself the salvaging question:
“How would I respond if I were somebody else?”
(And you can forget “the nuanced hilarity of ‘Fran.’”)