Being right and righteous

right-wrong 90pc
 – and read my short stories. Like me on Facebook Helen Townsend Author

A while ago, I was at a dinner party that degenerated into an argument. It got loud and a little ugly. My sympathy was passionately with one side, although now I can’t quite remember which side or what the argument was about. But I can remember feeling very emotional, but then suddenly I realising that neither side had any hope of convincing the other. Every single person – including me – was absolutely convinced they were right and we were all pretty damn righteous about that.

We humans do like to be right. We stick to being right even when we know we’re wrong.  It’s a big factor in human relationships, which means it’s important in writing about human relationships. And just about the writing – we like to be write about that too, which is why it’s sometimes hard to be edited. We must be right about our own precious prose, mustn’t we?

Back in the 60s, Robert Townsend wrote a book called Up the Organisation in which he discussed mistakes. He was the man who turned Avis into a major company, and having done so, he thought that most of the time, his decisions must have been right. But having just a smidgen of doubt, he started counting the times he’d been right and the times he’d been wrong. The result? More than half his decisions were wrong. That fascinated me.

Using a much smaller and more intimate context, I wrote the story Geoff – on having a blue. Most domestic arguments make no sense at all. A lot of them are ludicrous, even hilarious in retrospect. Like Geoff, I think a lot of our troubles come from our sharing most of our genes with chimps. Go to the zoo – you’ll see they’re argumentative little bastards.

Read my story if you like. If you don’t like it, tell me why. I’ll read your comment because I have to consider the possibility you might just be right.


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