Is it wrong to be right? That depends.
Being knowledgeable, educated, and informed is admirable. Having to always be right is wrong. Not only is it a character flaw, it’s irritating as hell to others! I know. I mean, I know I’m right. I mean…wait. Let me explain.
I was so consumed with being right that I didn’t see how I was affecting others. I just thought they were copping an attitude because they were wrong. To compound my condition, “not being wrong” trumped “being right.” Anyway, we all know: nobody likes a smarty-pants, a know-it-all.
Pathetically, I didn’t consider myself to be a know-it-all; I just thought I was always right. It’s called “a blind spot.” For me, it was one of many. The incident that triggered my most notorious delusion was a road trip.
I was reared in Tennessee, attended college in Mississippi, lived and worked in Mississippi, Illinois, and Colorado until I moved back south to Alabama. On the first trip traveling north to visit my parents in West Tennessee, a mysterious incidence occurred to us, my sister and me, pairofabnormals.
The journey involves driving west across the Alabama border into Columbus, Mississippi. At Columbus, we turn due north, where “magnetic (compass) north” and “geographical (true) north” are exactly the same, toward which we continue through Tupelo (yes, the birthplace of Elvis), then Corinth, and up into Jackson, Tennessee before arriving in Martin, our hometown. It was upon entering the small town of Tupelo that my compass went haywire.
Although we followed the road signs, we found ourselves on the road back to Alabama. We circled back in our autocraft to the city’s entrance and tried it again, paying closer attention.
Flabbergasted, we found ourselves back on the vexingly familiar road to Alabama. From our prior practice runs, we recognized the Tupelo exit and frantically veered for it before it was too late.
This time, my navigational skills kicked in. I knew we were headed north. For us to have persisted in circling Tupelo, we must have been turning back west to end up returning south, so I offered this sage advice to calculate east: “Follow the sun because it sets in the east.”
Well, there are two things you can’t take back: childbirth and your words. Now, it is written!
We finally found our way out. But, on our second and third trips back to Tennessee, we experienced what we have respectfully labeled “The Tupelo Triangle” again, and again. Now, the interstate bi-passes Tupelo, but I suffer déjà vu just at the thought.
I’ve been humble, and I’ve been humbled. Hmmm. Do I want to be right or have satisfying relationships? It’s a heart choice. In truth, I was hiding my insecurity behind the mask of confidence. The masquerade translated into arrogance.
You know: When being confronted by arrogance, it’s like a burr under a saddle? Woe, Nellie!
I’ve learned that it’s not important to have the last word, to know all the answers, or to appear to be more than I am. What matters is other’s feelings and doing my best not to cause offense.
My feelings don’t suffer anymore when I’m wrong; though when I am, it’s always good for a laugh. In fact, stroking my ego is a thing of the past. Toot, toot! Ooops…
Even now, sometimes when I’m wrong, my sister loves to remind me: “The sun sets in the east.”
“East is east and west is west, And the wrong one I have chose.” (song “Buttons and Bows”)