I hate arguing.
This is not a sign of weakness, let me assure you. I can argue if I need to. It’s just that I’m really bad at it. Most of my arguments end with me saying, “Yes, but…” and then trying desperately to think of something vaguely intelligent-sounding such as, “this discussion involves an intersection of multiple disciplines, so judging the merits and demerits of this argument is beyond our predetermined capabilities,” to which the other person triumphantly responds, “So basically, you agree that tomatoes are vegetables?” and I nod wordlessly.
If you ask me, I think that my inability to argue with others stems from the fact that there are three kinds of people in this world:
A. The very, very smart people.
B. People who are like me.
C. The people who are still stuck in the primate stage of human evolution. I’ll refer to them as the nitwits.
The thing is that the people in category B rarely argue with me because, like me, they too hate arguing. So it’s always the people from category A or category C that end up arguing with me. And that’s where the problem begins.
The category A people are simply too smart for me. Any vaguely intelligent statement that I make will undoubtedly by countered by an even vaguer intelligent statement. I’ll say, “Yes, but this discussion involves an intersection of multiple disciplines, so judging the merits and demerits of this argument is beyond our predetermined capabilities,” to which they’ll reply (pardon the partial transcript), “…perfidiousness…acumen…sesquipedalian tendencies…my perspicaciousness…therefore I am right.” And I’ll nod vigorously, so as not to seem stupid.
Category C is a completely different ball game. The nitwits have special ability to bring to his/ her knees anyone who is foolhardy enough to pick an argument with them. Nitwits bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience. There are some things to remember when you decide to start an argument with a nitwit:
1. The two of you may not be arguing about the same thing.
You may think that you’re both arguing about the identity classification of tomatoes, but the nitwit might instead be arguing about the whether the earth is flat or round. In both cases, the nitwit will have the same argument, “I’m telling you, I’m right because I saw it on the Discovery channel.” If you want to make sure that the nitwit is arguing about the same thing as you are, you should ask, “What are we arguing about?” If the nitwit gets all defensive and says, “What kind of a question is that? Don’t you know what we’re arguing about?” walk away slowly, because in all likelihood the nitwit has no clue what the argument is about.
2. You will never, I repeat, never, be able to counter the argument of a nitwit.
The reason nitwits are so successful in winning arguments is that they give you no opportunities for a counter argument. One of the nitwit’s favourite arguments is the inexplicably ridiculous statement, “I’m right because I said so, that’s why!” Apart from the infuriating repetition of the causal sentence fragment, this response is bound to annoy anyone relatively sane. When did saying something make it right? If utterance meant acceptance, you’re right as well. Try explaining that to a nitwit. In all probability, you’ll end up slitting your wrists with your fingernails. Another tactic nitwits like to use to prevent counter arguments is the technique of avoidance. You’re trying to put forward your argument, but the nitwit will either interrupt you, or simply will not listen. “So what I’m trying to say is-” “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong!” “At least listen -” “La la la la I can’t hear you!” “There’s no point arguing with you!” “So you give up?”
Nitwits also have their trump card. When all else fails, they resort to the age-old argument, “I know I’m right, because my mother told me!” Perhaps this defence isn’t really used by adults, but it’s among the most popular with children. When a child says, with big puppy dog eyes that seem to say, “Do you mean to say that my dear mother, whom I consider the most intelligent person in the world, is wrong?” you can’t possibly say, “You bet she’s wrong! Your entire life is a lie!” You’re forced to tone it down a little, “If your mother said it, she might be right, but…” and before you can finish the devil child is jumping up and down, pointing at you and laughing, “I’m right, I’m right! You agree with me, so I win!”
3. It’s been scientifically proven (by me) that too many arguments with nitwits can lower your IQ considerably.
The entertainment value of having an argument with a nitwit may give you a temporary high, but don’t overdose. The more you argue with a nitwit, the lower your IQ falls. The minute you begin to feel your intelligence slowly going into a coma, retreat gracefully. If you don’t you might find yourself morphing into a nitwit as well. You may start using the ‘nitwit defences’ in your arguments. Take me as an example. I’ve had a few too many arguments with nitwits, and look at what’s happened to me.
I will conclude by saying this: Don’t get into an argument with a nitwit. It’s hazardous to health. Believe me when I say this, because I’m right.
Well, at least that’s what my mother told me.