Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right. — Laurens Van der Post
I love my father. I do. He’s raised me throughout life. He’s encouraged my pursuits. He’s paid for my college. But even those we adore come with their imperfections. Be it large, deceptive ones, or teeny-tiny (pun intended) miniscule imperfections that are more analogous to chips of paint missing from a masterpiece rather than a giant, garish streak through the middle.
For you see, my father—like many others fathers I’ve been informed—is always right. Well, not always right. But mathematically speaking, the decimals we would have to carry the number out to most easily rounds up to a hundred.
So, yes, a hundred percent of the time my father is right. Right about what, you ask. That doesn’t really matter. He’s just right.
Now, I know where you think I’m headed with this. He thinks he’s right all the time when in fact he’s not. But, no. That’s not what I’m implying. I’m saying that when a dispute over whether I was the one to eat the last mango, whether ‘reconnoiter’ is really a real word, whether I will or will not enjoy a movie, he’s right.
And it’s infuriating.
Can you picture it? Can you understand the magnitude of distress his ‘rightness’ causes me whenever I enter an argument with him? Probably not.
“No, Dad, I’m positive the car in the parking lot was blue.”
“Are you sure about that, Son?”
Oh no, he’s disagreeing with me. Maybe I’m not right? “Yes, yes I am sure.”
“Because I remember it being red…”
Was it red? The blue I’m remembering did have a glint of crimson… “No. I’m definitely positive it was blue.”
“That’s odd, because looking at this video footage that I just happened to take in the instance that you may have thought it was something other than red, seems to show, well, that it’s red.”
“What was that?”
“See, son if you look right”—Nooooooooooooooooooo—“here you can see, yep, that’s definitely red.”
Now, it’s not always bad to have a father who’s always right. In fact, he becomes something of a definitive authority in sibling disputes. Judge George can swing the final gavel that will dictate whether you did clean out the cat litter yesterday or if it really is your turn tonight.
And for the aforementioned reasons, I rarely invoke his judgment, because, no, I really didn’t clean the cat litter out last night even though I’m claiming I did.
It’s like walking around with an instant Wikipedia at your side. Except you don’t have to worry if some juvenile jerk re-wrote the page as joke. You just have to worry that everything you thought was right—every iota of authority my bachelor’s degrees afforded me—is unequivocally wrong.