Thursday, November 29, 2007

BYBS: Really, Really Wrong

I once had a teacher who taught me an interesting lesson: don't be wrong; be really, really wrong.

Once, during a sort of test, I was called on to answer some question that I did not have the answer for…

(Teacher): You! Whatever! What What is the answer to this pointless question?!! (Whatever): Er…umm…"x." (Teacher): Are you sure of that? (Whatever): ummm…(remember other lesson) yes!!!

(Teacher looks around the room and calls on another student)

(Teacher): You! Mr. Something-else! What is the answer to this pointless question?!! (Other student with the correct answer): "y!!"

(Other student goes on to explain his reasoning, thus showing Whatever to be not just wrong, but utterly and completely wrong)

A crimson flush crept up my face, no doubt from the exertion of having to show my unending…uniqueness.

The next time I saw the first teacher, I remember glaring at him. Now, when I am older and still just as foolish, but having had a long time to think about it, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. With pain comes growth.
  2. I was not fond of growth.

Another thing I realized with the passage of time was that, while I had forgotten much of the things I learned from that teacher I did remember the answer to that question. I've therefore come these other conclusions:

  1. I'm still not fond of growth.
  2. If I really want to learn, then being really, really wrong and then having someone else correct me was an excellent way to do that.

Over the years, I've used this concept, consciously and otherwise, to learn. One example of putting it to use was when I was trying to find out the answer to some question on the internet. First I tried asking:

(Whatever, asking respectfully and humbly): Does anyone know the answer for this?

It was like talking to a hole in the ground.

Then I tried using this principle.

(Whatever): The answer to this question is (some silly, obviously wrong answer). What's more, anyone that thinks differently is obviously a moron! (Random internet person): Sez you! (W): Yeah, sez me you jerk! You're obviously a moron! (Other, random internet person): Yer mom dresses you funny! (RIP): I am not a moron, I am not a morn! (W): You misspelled "moron." (ORIP): Ummm…yeah! (RIP): Yeah? Well, according to (authoritative reference) the answer is "y." Who's the moron now, bitch?!! (Whatever, checking the reference and deciding that it's correct): Hey thanks. (RIP): What?!! (W): I wanted to find out what that answer was. You gave it to me. Thanks. (RIP): You bastard!!! (ORIP): Umm…yeah!

OK, so this example completely loses the original point. But at least I found it amusing.

The point is…umm…the point is that the stinging rebuke that I inflicted on myself made the lesson easier to remember. The other point is that, I don't always want to learn.

But if I do want to learn, then stating my answer in the clear, confident tones of someone who has no clue, and dealing with the light-headed, red-haze induced feeling that comes from having someone who actually knows what they are talking about correct me, is an excellent way to learn.

I'm still not found of growth.


Blue Panther said...


Good to see you are posting again.

I am going to take some time as soon as I can and read your Death talker stories.

Till then, have a happy BYB Sunday and a great week ahead.

MsDemmie said...

Good to see you posting - although I missed this last week.

Happy BYB Sunday and have a great week.

Sandy Carlson said...

Glad your back. Your educational experience sounds a bit like my own.

Whatever said...

I thought this piece was appropriate, given that I just posted a short story (insane grin).