Have you ever noticed how everyone has to be right?
It’s a battle for who gets the final word, the applause, and usually, the most ‘likes’ on their Facebook comment.
Everyone thinks their opinion is the right one and want everyone to know it.
But you know what?
Sometimes, folks ain’t right.
And trying to declare their rightness can often be alienating.
It’s even worse when it’s something silly that can be fact-checked by Google.
My child and I got into a disagreement about what happened on an episode of ‘The Goldbergs.’
Cole insisted the episode about the hover board was the same episode where the family started eating at the Chinese restaurant, much to the mother’s chagrin.
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I think the hover board one is a different one.”
“No, it was the same one,” he said.
“No,” I replied. “I really think those two stories were in a separate episode.”
His lips set in a thin line. “No,” he said slowly, readying for a battle. “It’s the same episode.”
I could tell by his tone, he was taking this to the mattresses.
Cole went for the remote and pulled up Hulu, finding the episode.
“Ah ha!” he declared. “See!” He pointed to the TV. “See – Adam Goldberg is on the hover board and then, they are eating at Dave Kim’s mama’s Chinese restaurant.”
I just realized we watch this show way too much.
“I don’t believe it,” he continued. “I was right. And you were wrong! Wow – has that happened before? Seriously. Have you ever been wrong before, Mama?”
I said nothing but went to my chair. Cole was quite proud for besting his mother. He gets this need to be right honestly; it’s part of our DNA to the point it is congenital.
“I may need to call Nennie and tell her about this,” he commented.
“You will do no such of a thing!” I said. If he told Mama I was wrong, it would throw the whole paradigm I had sustained for the past decade off kilter.
“You love telling her when she’s wrong, she may want to know you are sometimes wrong.”
“No.” Emphatically, insistently, demandingly – no.
You know what that child did? He called his Nennie and told her.
I could hear my Mama laughing all the way from her house over two hours away.
“I’m glad you are enjoying this,” I said.
“I’m just amazed I was right and you were wrong, Mama. When was the last time you were wrong?”
I’ve been wrong plenty, I just don’t like to announce it. And it’s not that I am always right, I am just usually less wrong than the other person.
It’s easy to be right on many occasions. I keep copious notes on every stinkin’ thing, research ridiculous details, and I pay attention.
Apparently, my child does the same thing as well.
“You know, it’s not nice to rub in being right,” I reminded him.
“You do it though,” he said.
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do, Mama.”
I sighed. Being proved wrong again within 20 minutes was inevitable.
“It’s still not very nice to boast you were right, Cole. It’s rude.”
“I’m not trying to be rude, Mama,” he said earnestly. “I am just excited I was right. That usually doesn’t happen.”
“I didn’t realize my being wrong would make you so happy,” I said.
“I’m not happy, but I was right.”
This is how the need to be right begins. We get that one taste of it and it is oh, so good that we crave it.
I thought of Dr. Phil’s phrase, “You can be right or you can be happy,” – one that my own Mama has used quite often over the years. In my situation, it was clear the TV doctor was wrong. Being right equaled being happy. And I wasn’t happy right about now.
A few days later, as we were heading somewhere, MapQuest told Lamar to take an unfamiliar exit to circumnavigate traffic. Lamar didn’t listen.
“You should have turned back there,” I said as we came to a standstill. He said nothing; I kind of knew how he felt but, I had to say it.
As we inched along, we were given another exit to take.
“Would you take it?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said. “Take it.”
At first, it seemed like it was a huge mistake – we were taking crazy side roads and making what seemed to be some odd square.
“I don’t think this is going to help. We have no idea where we are. If anything, we are getting more lost and there’s no telling where we are going to end up,” he said.
Inside, I was worried about the same thing but didn’t voice that concern. “No, it is going to spit us out below whatever caused the gridlock and we’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
I wasn’t sure but I said I was.
A few minutes later, we were back on our route with traffic flowing.
“Mama, you were right!” Cole cried. “See, Daddy, Mama’s always right. She was right this time and it helped us!”
When I’m right, I’m happy.
And that doesn’t happen very often.