Sunday, December 21, 2008

To All the People I've Wronged (or righted depending on your point of view)

Dear Schmeat -

It has come to my attention that, in some circles, I am considered quite argumentative, abrasive, and a bit of a know-it-all. This isn't exactly news to me, but I wasn't aware of the severity of the situation.

You may not know this, Schmeat, but, apparently, most people don't like to be corrected for minor and/or inconsequential mistakes, even when they are actually wrong. Let me give you an example to better illustrate what I mean.

Let's say I was walking down the street with my friend Andrew, and let's say a homeless gentleman asked us "hey guys, can you spare a quarter?"

A simple request, or so it would seem. so let's say I gave the man A quarter, as he had requested. Then, let's say, he went on to ask Andrew for an additional quarter. Andrew and I simply kept walking.

I found the homeless man's actions curious. I commented to Andrew, as I often do, that the man had no right to ask for the second quarter. You see, the man had said
"hey GUYS, can you spare A QUARTER?" and that is exactly what he got from us. If he wanted two quarters he should have either asked "hey GUYS, can you spare TWO QUARTERS (or 50 cents)?" or asked us each individually for a quarter in the first place.

Andrew promptly pointed out that normal people don't over think things like that and even if they did they have to good sense not to tell people. Thus Andrew hit the nail on the head.

I over think how and why people use certain language and then, using logic that is dubious at best, I discover some flaw in their thinking and proceed to explain their error to them.

This generally leads to people immediately not liking me. I don't see why. Don't people want to be correct? I think all of this anger stems from another flaw in most people's thinking. When someone is corrected they assume the person doing the correcting is trying to prove them wrong. This just isn't so.

My corrections come from a sense of altruism and benevolence. I don't feel the need to be right all the time. I just am. Furthermore, I don't wake up every morning with the burning desire to prove everyone wrong. Quite to the contrary, I'm not trying to prove people wrong now, I am trying to improve people's chances of being MORE RIGHT in the future.

When viewed in this light I think my overly analytical criticisms seem much more helpful. I'm just doing my part to make sure people don't embarrass themselves again.


marykt said...

The following sentence from the 8th paragraph requires a question mark: "Don't people want to be correct."

That's the only comment I have because I have missed the big picture you were trying to create. I instead chose to exploit your minor mechanical error implying that everything else you've written; the stuff that you were probably more interested in discussing, wasn't really worth my time.

your pal,
Chad's Girlfriend

Stocker said...

Wow, Schmeat! I actually experienced an example of said behavior on your part yesterday. I didn't mind it so much. That's probably because I know you, and I know that you really do mean well. I appreciate the constructive criticism. I'm much the same way, but on a much smaller scale. You're too fucking smart for me buddy!