I enjoy a good argument. More than the actual act itself, I like to win the argument. Especially when I know that I’m right. I enjoy worthy opponents who put up a good debate. The topic can be anything, and if I am not well versed in the subject, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the moment and I will make up reasons to argue for or against it on the fly. Some people are quick to point out that I antagonize those around me in hopes of sparking an altercation. I agree with that statement.
If I chose to, I could blame my love of bickering on my upbringing. I sure got enough practice against an older and more seasoned sister. We would go back and forth about anything under the sun. These bouts usually took place in the back seat of my mother’s minivan where she and my father acted as both audience members and judges for the competition. If my mother turned around and said, “Hey! Leave your brother alone!” then I had won the battle. If she exclaimed, “Stop provoking her!” then my sister sat in the winner’s circle. If my father turned around, lips foaming with spittle and yelled, “Don’t make me turn this car around!” then we considered it a draw. In my youth when I failed to win a case, I could always throw myself on the floor and claim that she had violently knocked me down, and my parents would generally believe me. This tactic worked up until she moved away for college. Since the days of lying on the floor sobbing are now behind me, I have to rely on a quick mind and sharp tongue to get the job done. Mostly I blame my high school for this passion of mine. Unlike most normal academies we didn’t have a debate team, which I would have joined and probably thrived in, and therefore didn’t get the quarrel bug out of my system earlier in life like I was able to with such wedgie-inducing extracurricular activities as theater and orchestra.
As a general rule of thumb, if someone likes to argue then those around suggest that he or she eventually become a lawyer. I don’t agree with this reasoning at all. There’s a difference between making a convincing argument and bickering for the sake of winning. I’m of the mindset that if you love to argue, then one might be better suited as a used car salesman. I feel confident that I could argue with and verbally pummel almost anyone into driving that new Ford home off the lot.
Recently my squabbling hit an all-time low. There are occasions at work when I do not agree with a certain policy or procedure and don’t hesitate to make it known. If I’m aware of the correct solution to a problem, I will be vocal towards anyone who tries to say differently. In a recent meeting I disagreed with a co-worker’s plan of action towards handling a new process. Having years of experience in the department, I stuck to my guns on what I had learned and knew to be a better way. Not even wanting to hear his suggestion in full, I was overcome with the familiar adrenaline rush of a man ready to verbally brawl. We went back and forth for a bit, both convinced that we were in the right. I had made my bullet points to support my theories and listed them out several times to alleviate all doubt to those around us. My adversary then explained his master plan to the room, using descriptive detail and counterpoints. While he and I regrouped, everyone sat in silence for a few moments. Round one was officially complete. Suddenly and without warning the rest of the managers announced that they agreed with my ideas and that’s the way we would proceed. I found myself scoffing at the debate’s being over so quickly. Like always, I was right, but I was not satisfied in the least. I had cleared my schedule so that this argument could last for at least another forty-five minutes. I was counting on this to be an epic knock-down-drag-out for the ages… but it wasn’t.
In just under five minutes, the jury had announced the verdict and they tried to continue on with other matters but I wasn’t having it. In that moment I made a strategic decision that would keep the tiff going and I did the unthinkable: I shifted sides and began arguing against my own initial argument, taking my former opponent’s side and making him an ally. As I began to plead a new case, I was met with open mouths and looks of disbelief. Even my associate was caught off guard by my actions and stared in horror as I began to ramble. My immediate manager held up his hand to stop me. “We’re moving on” he said and brought about the next order of business. Full of discontent, I stood up and stormed out of the room in search of another opponent. It was time to bandy words with anyone at the water cooler who had an opinion I didn’t agree with.