When Arguments Fail, Try Abuse

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I tend to be an accident waiting to happen.

Lately, in my advanced years, I’m bumping into chairs, stumbling off curbstones, hitting my head on low ceilings meant for pygmies, and tripping over my own feet on a dance floor.

Wish I had a dollar for every time I pushed a door marked “Pull.”

The other day, I went to enter a racquetball court and misjudged the low overhead. It did draw blood but didn’t interfere much with the game as others came to my defense.

My opponent applied a tourniquet and then proceeded to give me a sound beating. That’s only half of it.

Upon arriving home, a voice greeted me at the door: “What happened to you? Get hit by a racquet again?”

It wouldn’t be the first time I was injured in the act of playing.

“Ran into the door, God’s honest truth,” I said glumly. “Should have ducked a little lower.”

“Tell me another one,” she remarked incredulously.

People always seem to doubt the real story. Like the time I got hit in the nose with a ball, resulting in two black eyes.

People at church thought I was a target for abuse. They thought I had gotten into a brawl. The more I told the truth, the more they refuted my story.

The time I tripped over a curbstone resulted in a sprained ankle. I was on crutches when I greeted my public, only to have them riddle me with concern.

“What happened to you?” they wondered.

“A curbstone got in the way,” I confessed. “Lucky I didn’t break it.”

“What’s the real story?” they shot back.

All through life, I’ve discovered one thing about defending myself. An alibi is the first cousin to an excuse and they’re both mighty poor relations. The reason I was late for dinner was due to the heavy traffic flow on the highway.

No, I didn’t stop at a tavern on the way home and wasn’t out carousing with another woman. In college one day, I tried explaining to the professor that I had misplaced my assignment. He still graded me accordingly and remained suspicious afterwards.

It seems I’ve spent half my life telling people my intentions and the other half explaining why I didn’t do it. Sometimes, it’s nothing that a box of candy or a bouquet of flowers won’t solve.

My buddy Ralph still chuckles about the time we were inside a hotel attending a conference when we went to leave. Absent-mindedly, in my haste. I ran straight into a windowed door.

I hit it so hard, I fell on my haunches, dazed and chagrined. The window was so clear, it blended into the street undetected.

Bad as I am, I’m no worse than others who are full of excuses.

There’s no excuse for that. It was always the other guy’s fault when something goes wrong, not your own.

If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. My cousin was like that. There were not enough crutches in the world for all his lame excuses. He’d tell it like it wasn’t and expect you to believe him.

Like the time he lost his wallet and said it was stolen from his pocket. It worked for about a day until a Good Samaritan found the billfold and returned it intact. A thief would not do that ordinarily.

Now, there’s a difference between an alibi and an excuse—and being an inveterate liar. Some people are good at disguising the truth. You never know when to believe them. If you listen to them long enough, you’ll believe in flying saucers and wild dreams.

I may draw some argument on both those accounts, but I can choose to listen to what I want to hear.

We are all born story-tellers to some extent. Some are better at it than others. They can make you believe that red is black and the world is flat. Watch the movie “Big Fish” and you’ll catch my drift.

It’s about a man of big appetites, enormous passions, and tall tales until the truth sets him free. One amazing adventure would follow another.

There are no whales in my pond so do not believe my 6-year-old grandson when he tells you he caught a fish the size of a humpback. But why would you want to ruin his moment of glory?

Readers often ask me if my stories are always factual. Some have accused me of stretching the truth over the years. I have used a poetic license from time to time, especially with my columns.

Truthfully, I will only write what I think people will believe—and not an errant word more.

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Source: Armenian Weekly
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