As an amateur songwriter, I know you can build it from one good line. But don’t be fooled: the best lines are often not the hook; sometimes you have to dig. Today’s for-instance is buried in Eddie Rabbit’s “Every Which Way but Loose”:
But girl, ya got me thinkin’, While I’m drinkin’ one more beer:
If I’m headed for a heartache, Then why the blank am I still here?
Ha! ‘Love that. He continues with the idea that this woman turns him every which way—except for turning him loose.
So. My point. This week I’ve again been smacked with the frying pan. I discovered I’ve been acting like Eddie’s country chick. I was attempting, in every which way, to draw my friend over to my methodology. It didn’t even feel like a debate: I was building a case I’d win. It’s sort of like the (bogus) theory of evolution: anything’s possible if you give it enough time.
Little did I know, it was an exercise in futility; a totally pointless endeavor. I wasted time presenting useless repetitions incapable of producing my desired result. The long and short of it is, my pride blinded me to the fact that I didn’t stand a chance of success.
But it remains that… I am right! Doesn’t that matter?
Well, I discovered something. While I Wiggled and Weaseled, my friend Whistled and Waited. What I thought was cut-and-dried, I now see is still growing on the stalk. My opponent never buckled—not one iota. No, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. (At this juncture I’d like to insert a stalemate allegory, but that would be pretentious, since never learned to play chess.)
I finally stepped outside of the debating ring, and looked at it objectively. I actually told my friend, “I don’t know why I keep repeating myself ad infinitum, to no avail.” My worthy opponent simply replied, “Then, don’t.”
I now see that my way is a narrow interpretation of a body of Greater Truths. I was dead sure I could convince. But I was beating a dead horse. In reality, I was dead in the water.
A debate doesn’t have to result in somebody raising the white flag. In this case, it’s a gray one. I didn’t leave with my tail between my legs, nor did I win King of the Hill. But I did learn that some arguments are ineffective—even frivolous. Next time, maybe I’ll save us a lot of trouble and cut my losses.
Hm. Maybe I would have learned this lesson earlier—if I had learned to play chess.