I was wrong. Oops!
Plus, I was scared of ever being wrong. That fear really slowed down my own recognition that I was wrong. So, I argued for my familiar position. I assembled justifications. I made up reasons to dismiss contrary views.
Was I wrong? Well maybe I was slightly imprecise, but was that the same as “wrong?”
Yeah, but… but at least I was sincere. At least I did not *want* to be wrong. At least it was just an accident. At least I tried to present reasonable excuses. At least I tried to cover my error with a plea for sympathy (about how I was victimized by the evil ones)!
Yet, I was still wrong. Plus, deep down I knew it. At some point, I realized that I had been defending my presumption rather than, well, just paying attention.
At some point, I may have even pretended to be right (even knowing that I was not). I was desperate to be right (to be perceived as being right). People would like me better if I was always right, right? But, alas, I was just plain wrong.
You might be wondering by now what I was wrong about. Was it about the directions to get from one location to another? Was it the proper spelling of a long, strange word (perhaps of a type of lunch meat)?
No, it was a massive sense of entitlement. I will explain further because you might not yet get the simplicity and enormity of this issue.
I had my ideals of how people should be. I knew how parents should be. I knew how politicians should be. I even knew how celebrities should be.
First of all, people should be kind and caring and very grateful, right? They should not be presumptuous, right? They should not be naive. They should not be resentful or irritable… EVER.
Just to be clear, I am talking about other people here. You know… people who are not me.
I asked my big sister why she got to go to visit gramma one day when when I had to go to school instead. She said “Um, I don’t know. Ask dad.”
So naturally I repeated my question louder to my sister since clearly I was entitled to a better answer from her. After all, why didn’t SHE go and ask dad and then report back to me? SERIOUSLY?!?!?
Eventually, after realizing that my big sister was incapable of fulfilling her role as my head servant, I very humbly went to ask my father why I did not get to visit Gramma today. I said, in the most respectful voice ever used by a 6 year-old during a tantrum “Come on, dad! Seriously! You are not being fair at all. Why can’t I go? Why? Don’t you love me?”
My father, who happened to be on a phone call at the time I approached him, was apparently unaware that he was my next candidate for head servant. Putting his candidacy at risk, he calmly said “I’ll tell you later. Give me two minutes.”
But how kind was that? How caring was that? Didn’t he know that he should be more respectful?
I considered threatening to “tell on him” to Gramma. However, I would need to actually speak to Gramma for that to work… and apparently I was not going to see her that day.
My creative juices started to flow. Would I create an altercation with my sister to attract the attention of dad? Would I “accidentally” break something? I know: I could go open the refrigerator door in plain view of dad and just stand there for a few minutes with all the cold air flowing in to the kitchen.
Because I was a child genius, I went with the latter alternative. I went to the fridge. I opened the door. I stood there. I kept standing there. Was he even looking?
I moved around a few things in the fridge to make some noise. I looked back at dad. Yes, he was looking. Why wasn’t he saying anything?
Then I began complaining about how certain brands of food in the fridge were not the “cool” brands that were advertised during my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. I started to sing the song about Oscar Mayer weiners.
Then, I looked back to check on my dad. He was no longer even looking in my direction. He was still on the phone and this had been probably 30 seconds already that he was making me wait.
I figured that if I put in a few new words in to the oscar mayer weiner song, maybe some curse words, that might pull him out of his trance. I occasionally interrupted my singing by whining “Oh my gosh, dad, we just do not have anything GOOD to eat in here, do we? DAD?!?!”
It worked! He looked over at me and said “What did you say?”
I slammed the refrigerator door. Then, I said in my most respectful voice “Why, Dad, Why can’t I go to….”
“Because I said so!” he roared. I mean, he did not even let me finish the question. He was being presumptive. People should not be so presumptive, right?
How rude of him, too, right? People should not be so rude, RIGHT!?!?
That was when I realized that my dad was not fit to be my head servant. He lacked the social skills and proper manners. He lacked diplomacy.
I wanted other people to conform to my ideals of how people should be. I did not want to develop my own social skills. I wanted to snap my fingers and have a staff of servants rush to eagerly hear my instructions about their assignments.
Why should I have to change my presumptions and my ideals? Other people were disappointing me. They were frustrating me. They were infuriating me.
Plus, some of them had the arrogance to blame me for my own frustration. Once my evil sister said “well, why don’t you stop doing what is clearly not working and try a new approach?”
That is so rude! She was blaming me! God should have made the method that was already familiar to me suddenly be more effective at producing the other results that I wanted instead of the ones produced by the familiar method every single time that I used it. Was God trying to drive me insane?
It’s like some of these people actually expected me to just change my ideas (simply based on nothing more than new observations). They wanted me to learn new things. They wanted me to develop my own capacity for personal responsibility.
I thought these people were my servants!?!? What about their responsibilities to me? What about my RIGHTS?
Anyway, maybe I was angry at my father for failing to conform to my standards. Maybe he owed me a full and complete written answer to every question in my civil lawsuit.
Children should never be punished, right? Children should always be respected, right?
And what was going on with multiple children in the same household? This whole thing of having a big sister was getting old. She was a huge distraction for my parents in their role as head servants for me.
Sure, she was a lot of fun sometimes. However, she was better at me at certain strategy games and did not let me, her little brother, win around 50% of the time. That is unfair, right?
And some of these games can have 4 players or even 6! How was I going to win more than 50% of the time in a game with six individual players? Why can’t we at least have two teams of three with the best players on my team so that my team almost always wins?
By now, you can see what a disadvantaged childhood I had. The conspiracy to humiliate me extended not just through the demographics of my own household, but all the way to Parkers Brothers and their games designed for 2 to 6 players.
Why did my older sister always get to be older than me? DAD?!?! Why did you people do this to me?
I am entitled to answers! I am entitled to apologies! I am entitled to compensation!
There was emotional stress! There was dismissive parenting! There was unsatisfactory job performance in 9 clearly-stated categories of the job description for head servant.
But do you know what really sucks? I fired these people and they still kept showing up in my life day after day.
That is when I realized that God did this to me. God was trying to humiliate me in order to teach me humility.
WHAT?!?! Humility is something that OTHER people really need to have more of. I have plenty of humility.
I had so much humility just last week that it is offensive to suggest that right now I should have any at all. And who are you to talk? You were arrogant three if not four times in the last decade alone.
See, this is why I do not like people. They just do not conform to my standards of how people should be.
Some of my presumptions about people do not match with the actual behavior of people. The actual behavior of people does not match with some of my presumptions about people.
“GRAMMA! Why is my big sister so childish and naive? Why isn’t she more like you? You are so attentive and interested and patient.”
Ooo, but then God really “had it in for me.” God killed Gramma!
And why was Dad so upset about it? Is that why he was always on the phone? It was almost like he acted like Gramma was more important to him than she was to me. NOOOOO!
I loved her! ME!
I loved her for real (unconditionally, unlike all of you other people). You people just seem so caught up in your own grieving and denial and panic that you do not even notice that I am standing here still at the open refrigerator door waiting for God to send Gramma back to me.
“Honey, if you aren’t getting something out of the fridge, please close the door.”
Did you hear that?!?!? That was Gramma! That was her!
She was just here. I could feel her presence in the room. That was amazing.
God sent her back just one more time because I deserved it so much. I did all the things that conform perfectly to all of the ideals that were programmed in to me socially as a child.
Also, I hate elitists. They really offend my sense of moral superiority.