Acidic Fishbowl Dip

Above is a piece I’ve been working on for a while. I’ve lost count how many different walls it consists of. It may or may not make it to the exhibit I’ve been invited to in a couple of weeks, but it’s definitely a finalist.

I really love being so busy as I am right now and looking forward to a short trip to a not-so-foreign land soon. I feel a little anxious about international travel. I’ve got a couple of n95 certified masks and as much liquid antiseptic fluid as I’m allowed to carry onboard.

Like the next guy, I can totally dig partaking in a good discussion. Discussions can often be an excellent platform for testing out arguments, venting thoughts, and learning what “the other side” thinks and has opinions about. Recently, I got into an acidic discussion with an old friend. I was fuming about something and needed to get it off my chest when I posted some angry commentary. Unsurprisingly, this pal answered me with a sledgehammer of contrarian views and belittling comments he felt compelled to share. Probably because my views were within his wheelhouse (or fishbowl).

Historically, my rhetorically gifted friend has often allowed his sharp intellect and an other-worldly ability to recall (and tirelessly recite) memories in ludicrous detail, (coupled with relentless, wide-ranging nerdiness) take a front seat socially. For as long as we’ve been friends, he’s been infamous for being a know-it-all, a behavior I feel a lot of common acquaintances would agree, albeit anonymously, can be a bit taxing. In moderation, socializing with him can nonetheless be a pleasant experience. Our discussion turned ridiculously ironic when he claimed that it was me, not him, that had a history of being a wisenheimer. Not that I can’t be incredibly stubborn about my opinions. But I never forget that they are just that, opinions.

To some people, being anything but right, regardless really of whether or not they’ve identified that there might just be different takes, opinions, and perspectives, or, god forbid, that they’re just plain wrong, is a seemingly absurd concept. It’s as if their lives depended on being right. Or, their fathers. It’s a trait of Donald Trump and exactly how he’s created the abysmal divide. Put in other words, it’s bullying.

One would think that at our ripe old age, despite being a know-it-all, my friend would have had grasped that discussions aren’t necessarily clear-cut right or wrong. Regardless of the topic, really, a discussion is a debate, a challenge, a contest of hopefully thoughtful, unemotional arguments – as opposed to thoughtless, unbecoming, belligerent speak.

I realize I really shouldn’t be that surprised about how this ended…and I guess I was just plain naive for continuing the discussion when it had gone down such a negative path early on. And I was certainly way too spontaneous and emotional in my opening statements. Live and learn.

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