Fighting for the Right to Be Right

even as a young lad, I knew beyond all reason how right I am

Mike Paulus

Often, when I’m talking to someone, there’s a special place I go to – in my mind. I rarely go on purpose, but I end up there a lot (much like Dairy Queen or the Nutty Bar display in Gordy’s). In most cases, I’ll be having some sort of conversation with my wife or a co-worker or my parents. I might be talking about something casual like weekend plans or paint colors. I might be talking about something intense like religion or politics or how many times Buffy the Vampire Slayer has actually died. I could be talking about anything, really, and POW! I’m in the special place. I’ve given this place a name, which I will now reveal, in all caps for subtle emphasis:

I-AM-SO-FREAKING-RIGHT-ABOUT-THIS ... LAND

Somehow, my mind just suddenly shifts into this new reality where I’m absolutely right in what I’m saying, and I know it’s true – to the core of my very soul – I just know it. The clouds have broken away, the seas have calmed, and the sun dazzles down upon me as a magnificent, Ian McKellen-like voice booms, “You are totally right about this, Mike. You most certainly did not eat most of the peanut butter cups. And don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. Also, you didn’t leave the water running in the bathroom.” 

Once I’ve entered I-Am-So-Freaking-Right-About-This Land, there’s no talking to me. There’s no agreeing to disagree and there’s no humoring the other person. My universe spins in but one direction, and you just can’t argue with that, baby. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.

I really can’t think of a time when my parents didn’t tell me, “There’s a wrong way, a right way, and then there’s Mike’s way.” Even as a third grader, I remember thinking, “That sounds like an awful lot of options, Mom. Seems like there’s really only the ‘right way.’ Which brings me back to the whole ‘you need to brush your teeth everyday’ issue ...”

As far as I can tell, there’s only one major problem with my frequent visits I-Am-So-Freaking-Right-About-This Land. See, on many occasions, I am so absolutely freaking wrong about that.

Unfortunately, I seem to lack the ability to realize how wrong I am until I’ve spent considerable effort explaining how mind-bogglingly not wrong I am. And again, I’ve always been that way. Much to my parents’ dismay.

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