When I Am Wrong

25 Feb

It was recently brought to my attention, that I have the admirable trait of admitting when I am wrong, and of re-assessing my position when confronted with contrary facts.

Kasini and I were at our coffeehouse, talking about sex and Dungeons and Dragons and relationships.  I made an offhand comment that was not entirely accurate.  I got the look that means I’m either being an ass, or went to far.  I quickly analyzed what I had said, and how it had come across.  My initial statement was not accurate, in fact, it was just plain wrong.

I stand by the core observation behind my bumbling joke, if not the details, though I should have thought before speaking for my comment was way off base.  Kasini forgave me for my inaccurate comparison, and we moved on to discussing How to Be Wrong.

I like being wrong.

This is a good position to be in.  Think about it.  To be proven wrong, you must now know what is right.  You are now more right than before.  You just learned something.

I see far too many people arguing for an indefensible position, refusing to admit they are wrong.  When did it become such a sin to be wrong?  Nobody will admit they are wrong anymore, as if it were a sign of weakness.  It’s not.  It takes a strong man to admit when they are wrong.  Yup, I just bragged a little.

Identifying when I am defending a losing position, or arguing a point out of habit without really looking at it, is a skill I am rather proud of, one that took me years to learn.  And I am still working on it.

Not too long ago, I was discussing The Princess Bride with some friends.  The book, not the movie.  Not that I am a book snob- ok, I am, but in this instance, that was not the case- I love the movie.  We were just talking about the book.  In the forward to the novel, the author talks about how he remembers being read the story as a child, and wanted to share this magical story with his own children.  Only, when he finally found a copy of the book, it was un-readable.  Long, boring descriptions about insignificant things, so he re-wrote the story for his children.  When I first read this, I went in search of the original.  I never found it.  But somehow, I remembered reading the original.

So there we were, smoking hookah and watching Nathan Fillion being witty and ruggedly handsome in Castle, and I was going on and on about how boring the original novel was.  Somebody googled it and- gasp!  I was wrong.  It never happened.  He made it up, the whole tale in the forward was a lie.  I had created a false memory.  The only details I could remember were those the author shared in his forward.

I had to admit I was wrong.

This is not fun, but it needs to be done.  I was uncomfortable, and more than a little embarrassed.  But I did it.

Additionally I was forced to examine why I was so eager to show off my knowledge of the imagined book.  I like to be knowledgeable, I like to be smart.  I want to be cool.  Now, I don’t make stuff up, but I do have a tendency to try to be knowledgeable about everything.  I have to work on this constantly, and I don’t like it.  But the alternative is to argue from an indefensible position, or to speak without knowledge, and that would make me a hypocrite.

It’s never fun being proven wrong, but in the end, I really do like being right.

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5 Responses to “When I Am Wrong”

  1. Kasini February 25, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Yeah, the thought behind your comment was spot-on, it was your metaphor that sucked. Mostly because it meant something very different to me than what you intended.

    And it’s funny, because right before I arrived at the coffee house I was thinking about how I don’t like to fight with people, or let them know if they’ve upset me. Because I’m not interested enough in reciprocal intimacy with most people to push through my dislike of discussing any negative emotions around them with them(yes, blog post about this this weekend sometime). HOWEVER, I realized right before pulling into the coffee house that I would be willing to put that effort in for you, because our friendship would be worth fighting with you to keep. In other words, if you ever pissed me off I’d tell you instead of just throwing up walls.

    And then you did. And I allowed myself to show you the look. And we both learned something. And life is just weird like that.

    • Myrddwn February 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Yeah, I knew immediately I had said the wrong thing.
      Thank you for respecting me enough to let me know when I am being an douche.

      • Bayani February 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

        This wanting to demonstrate your knowledge is a curse you have bestowed upon your daughter. I do not have any little tiny bit of this curse. Okay, maybe I do.
        Thanks for being willing to be wrong. It makes you a tone easier to live with.
        Kasini, Thanks for letting him in. You won’t regret it, he is an awesome man and a good friend to have.

  2. Kurt March 25, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Hey, author. It’s Fore Word… not, forward;)

    • Myrddwn March 25, 2011 at 8:13 am #

      Author, not editor.

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