An Essay on the Thrills and Perils of Seeing the Other Side and Pissing Other People Off
11 May 2003
It’s another day here at the Fiasco, but the day looks different with the help of Microsoft Publisher 2003. How fun!
Moving on, I felt that there was tremendous need to write an article on the fact that I am the master Devil’s Advocate.
dev·il's advocate n.
1. One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.
It all started when I realized that people were ignorant. They blindly believed in things that they couldn’t prove or see or quantify. And they believed without question.
I’m not saying that their point of view was necessarily incorrect, but they refused to see the other side… They refuse to acknowledge other points of view. And frankly, that upset me very deeply.
My personality is all about equality, and I think that’s why I can see many sides to one story. And I was messed around too much in school… I interpret things much differently because of this.
Let me digress to this one instance of eleventh grade physics class where AJ and I were hanging out, not doing our work, and the teacher was going on and on about how we see what we see is just our own personal interpretation of our own visions. While I was still processing this information, she went on to talk about how people interpret colorblindness… How some people see colors as red or green and another person can see the very same color as grey. Does that mean that the grey-seeing person is incorrect? Never. But, it makes you wonder (as I did and still do), what does color really mean if it’s not universally accepted? And can that transcend to other media and thought?
To me it does, and now every time someone says something, I have to question their line of thinking. Why must I believe something that I think may be proved untrue?
Because it’s Mother’s Day today and I am just barely out of bed, I have no fresh examples of my extraordinary gifts, but I can recall to yesterday’s visit to Sarnia, Ontario, where my mother’s parents reside. My mom is always telling me that my grandfather is too depressing and all he sees is the bad in life… That he wants to die and such. (His birthday, by the way, is one week from today. He’ll be 85.)
I always see my mom as a pessimistic person. I don’t know why. I don’t mean it in any sort of degrading way. But she just always seems to think one-dimensional. She never sees anyone else’s side to a story unless it will benefit her. And she certainly harbors some resentment towards her parents.
So I go up there to see those two, and my uncle from Toronto meets us at the nursing home. When my uncle married a Chinese woman in the 70s, my grandfather disowned him. They haven’t spoken two words to each other since. And the two of them had a run-in at this nursing home. My grandmother is lying in bed still at 2pm; my grandfather is hovering over her, trying to set the time on her new bedside clock.
He sees us and bolts.
I ended up going to see him for a little bit after talking to my grandmother and uncle. The first thing that he said to me was “Wow your uncle sure became a big man.” And he literally was. I’m 5’9” and he was easily 6’2”. My grandfather in his old age is somewhere around 5 feet when you calculate in the hunching.
We talked for a little bit about his plight in life and he’s telling me the story of how he came over to Canada straight from his 28+ years in Ukraine. He was telling me that he had a bad experience with the first person he met on his train ride from the ship to Ottawa. Understandable, but I was not about to push the issue of giving people more chances than one—I know my boundaries.
He went on to tell me that he’s had a horrible life and all the stuff that my mom complains about. I go on to recall the part of the story he finished where ho told me that he bought his first house in Canada for $150 when he got a job working for Canada Hydro. Smiling, he went through the timeline…
First you are born and have to learn to behave yourself in school. You suffer through school and then you must work your whole life. And after that you die.
I told him that I never remembered him working because he’s been on retirement since before I was born. That’s over 20 years people. I told him about a lot of the positive experiences that I’ve had with him and he finally gave it up and smiled. Then my mom walked in and ruined it.
Granted, that last story had a positive outcome, but I can argue with the best of them. Don and I argued on Friday night because he made that comment, “great minds think alike.” Well he agreed 100% and did not hesitate to call himself a great mind.
I told him that (even though I really could care less) I did not agree and he immediately defended his position. When I argue, I really just like to experiment on my subject. Don always does the same thing when he’s opposed: Defense! He went on about some crap about God and great minds believed in him and all this mess. I told him that everyone has different opinions and that he should learn to respect my opinion. He wouldn’t have it, so I pressed on.
I went on to tell him about how great minds may think alike in certain aspects, but what about all the crap decisions that can make—like slavery. Defense. I went on to ask him if he thought he was a great mind and I was a great mind, why did I not agree with his point of view? Defense. He talked about the belief in God again. I went on to tell him that Buddhists to not believe in God. That shut him up because he’s been reading a daily meditation from the Dali Lama and it’s been helping him.
I didn’t even want to go into the fact that if he was talking from a biological standpoint that studies show that all people have the same thought process. Therefore, we are all great minds. But, in accordance with the definition of a great mind, superior in quality, that means that some would be better than others when biologically it is untrue. Therefore we would all be equal and therefore ordinary.
Well. I need to pee after all that thought. But won’t you join me again next time, when I put my stamp of opinion on anything within my grasp.