Sunday, June 13, 2010

Begging a thousand pardons is easier

I'm not good at being right.

I don't think many of us are.

Now, I'm not talking about the kind of right that takes courage. The courageous kind of right requires fortitude and endurance. It takes a willingness to subject one's self to the majority belief that you are, in fact, not only wrong, but that you are SO wrong that you must therefore be completely and totally dangerous to all you encounter.

That kind of right is important. But being good at that kind of right isn't something a person always decides for themselves. More often than not, that kind of right gives you no choice. It latches on to you when you are praying it will find someone else and it makes you choose a direction before you even know where you are going.

No, the kind of right to which I'm referring is the kind of right that so often leads a person to being just plain wrong.

It's the kind of right that requires noisy acknowledgement from everyone who's ever met you, including the little creep from fourth grade who teased you mercilessly until you punched him in the stomach, which was also his fault. He still owes you an apology, by the way.

Yes, the kind of right I'm talking about requires those who wronged us to beg a thousand pardons and sing our praises to the rooftop. It begs the question: 'Here's my chest, where's my medal?'

It's the kind of right that leads to hurt feelings and road rage, ulsers, lost friendships and long, long silences or even estrangements between family members.

It's the kind of right that turns good people into demons and lawyers into ambulance chasers.

That kind of right is never satisfied. It just festers in the memory of being wronged and chokes out any hint of what might have been wonderful.

It's the type of right that hangs on to every thoughtless act and turns it into reasoned and intricately planned treachery.

"She did that on purpose."

"He only does what he wants to do."

"So inconsiderate."

It tarnishes both sides of the coin.

It places every word ever uttered in your general direction under a microscope for examination, where in your expert (though completely biased opinion) will be found anemic or potentially deadly.

Suspicion will fester.

"You don't want to help me," we say, "You want to do whatever it is and have me thank you for doing something you want done anyway."

That type of right keeps a running tally. Until the score is even, at which point you might apologize and go along your merry way.

It's easier to be wrong. Of course, that's not to say we're any better at being wrong, it's just easier to put our wrongs behind us.

"Oops, forgot the turn signal. Sorry, my bad. …

“I didn't see you waiting for that parking space, or crossing in the crosswalk. You Ok? …

“Were standing there waiting for me. For an hour. While I forgot I was supposed to meet you. Whoops! …

“Did I forget your birthday again? I feel terrible.”

We may feel bad about our stupidity, but we don't let being wrong haunt us for years. We hardly let it haunt us for minutes.

Maybe it’s because deep down, when we really think about it, we tend to come to the logical conclusion that it (whatever it is) really isn’t our fault.

Seriously. He should have reminded me it was his birthday. He knows how absent minded I am.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Forgot the birthday? Ooops... hopefully your 1,000 pardons were accepted. :-)