I Don’t Want to Be Right


Mum’s now the word.

I know you may find this hard to believe, but I used to be a stubborn prick. I always needed to have the last word and would never admit to being wrong. Because I was always right! End of story. Hey! I said end of story! SHUT UP!

It probably started with my father, who was also a stubborn prick (and, in his free time, an asshole). While we were living under the same roof, we’d go at it like George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And just when the battle seemed to be over, I’d nail him with one last snotty remark and he’d look at me with murder in his eyes, turn tomato-red, and then plow his fist into the wall. Cue Nelson Muntz.

Here’s another classic example of my prickishness: One day, when I was 13 or so, my best friend, Steve, and I were walking to the schoolyard to shoot hoops. Along the way we took turns dribbling the ball between our legs and around our backs, and at some point Steve accidentally dribbled the ball off of his foot, although he thought it went off of mine. The ball went tumbling into the street and I said something like, “Go get the ball, it hit off of you last.” And he said, “No way, you go get it, it hit off of you.” And I said, “I’m not getting it!” And we were both laughing until we realized that neither one of us was getting the ball. We just left it there in the street – we never got it! – and didn’t speak with each other for several months afterward.

After all these years, you’ll be happy to know that I’m ready to get the fucking ball. Hi, my name is Larry and I’m nearly a grown-up! Arrested development (like the TV show) was finally put on the shelf and most of the credit goes to — you guessed it — women. Women have taught me to be less stubborn and more flexible, to say nothing about opening my eyes to the reality that I’m hardly ever right (that last part should be sung by Luther Ingram).

My ex-wife and subsequent girlfriends have been right about most everything (and yes, you heard me right, shut up!). Even when I was absolutely, positively sure they were wrong, in retrospect they turned out to be right. It’s proven to be one of their best magic tricks. They are the Nate Silvers of correctness, political and otherwise. And there’s only a 7 percent chance that I’m joking.

Now, before you call me crazy (guys, I’m talking to you!), hear me out. Remember that argument about that obscure actor’s name from that old TV show you watched when you were a kid and you were positive his name was such and such, and your wife or girlfriend said it was definitely someone else, and as it turned out you were right?

Well, women don’t care about being right on trivial bullshit like that. They shrewdly throw us a bone when the argument centers on this kind of nonsense. But when it comes to the big important stuff in your life, whatever the hell it may be, they not only know to get the ball — but will very often grab you by it and squeeze until you’ve seen the error of your ways. Of course, you know that I’m speaking metaphorically here. For the most part, anyway.

This isn’t easy for me to admit, but as soon as I accepted being wrong all of the time, everything just felt right. When I stop to think about it, I guess I’d rather be happy than right.

Am I right?

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