The Worst Part of Being Wrong

A Facebook friend wrote a status update with the opening lines of the theme song to a very popular 90s sitcom, but without naming the show. It was an invitation for a know-it-all like me to offer a guess; and, like a person easily baited by chances to show off game show trivia without actually earning a dime for being right, I dived in head-first. But it proved to be like a head-first dive into the shallow end of the pool, or the part of a lake that’s a little bit too close to the pier. It was much more than a guess; it was a confident assertion. Apparently, “Everywhere You Look” was the theme song for Full House, and not Family Matters.

I KNEW THAT.

To be fair (and regain some ego points), I hardly watched Full House. To me it was “Oh, that guy from America’s Funniest Home Videos is a dad on a tv show. Great.” Between the Cosby Show, Family Matters, and my own family, I had no more room in my evenings for the comic misadventures of another family. Even now, I can hardly watch the reruns without recalling that Uncle Joey was Alanis Morissette’s unfortunate muse for that one song of hers (not the one about irony; the other one). That, and he was on a terrible sketch comedy show on Nickelodeon (ask yourself what could be worse than the worst episodes of SNL, and it was still worse than that). I just can’t do it. Although, the two things I learned from Full House is that Comet is a great name for a dog, and the terrain in San Francisco is really steep. Notes-to-self.

If, one day, a study is published showing that bruising ones ego also causes physical pain, I’ll be really disappointed. I already know this.

Generally, being wrong isn’t so awful. So far, I am not responsible for national security or economic policy decisions. The rare occurrences of my faulty logic or absent-minded thinking won’t send the country or its global reputation into immediate or long-term turmoil. Until now, few people even knew of my mistake. But like slipping on a patch of black ice and landing spread-eagle in an empty Target parking lot, it is no consolation that only few people saw it. It’s bad enough that I know it happened.

Seriously, isn’t thinking about how right you thought you were the worst part of being wrong?

This wasn’t one of those trivial wrongs where one offers up a random guess because he or she doesn’t know the answer, like if one were asked to name the capital of Maldives (did Carmen SanDiego even go near there?).  It felt more like if some short-sighted, technologically stunted, occasional PC gamer had years ago claimed that Twitter was just a fad, or that blogging (“Ha, you mean online diaries?!”) would become so popular.

Actually, I said both of those things, so perhaps this wrong-but-confident assertion thing is a pattern.

I could have sworn I knew what I was saying. At that moment, I felt like that guy on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, who, upon reaching the million-dollar question, used his phone-a-friend lifeline to call his mother and tell her he was about to win $1 million. The difference is that he actually won, and I would have just embarrassed my mother on national television, which would by far be worse than an error in judgment causing a national security crisis (just take my word for it).

It’s time for me to find a career where being confident, persuasive, and convincing are easier paths to success than being right.

M.

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Comments
16 Responses to “The Worst Part of Being Wrong”
  1. Victoria B says:

    THIS. I loved this. This is the writing I miss seeing around ye olde Xanga. 🙂

    Also, you are spot-on about slipping on black ice in a Target parking lot. The worst part is knowing it actually happened. Ugh.
    ~V

  2. LaNeshe says:

    Just admit it Matt, you only watched sitcoms with black families lol

  3. talda says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone released a study on the effects of bruising egos. They release an obvious study every other month.

    Also, noticed the Golden Gate in your header. I figure it’s a stock image, but still. Uh huh. So on to you.

  4. S. Am says:

    Rather harsh on yourself Mr. Smith

  5. Gnetch says:

    Confident, persuasive, and convincing? Be a salesman! Haha!

    I am often in the same situation. A lot. Let me remember a few of them and I’ll update you.

  6. joehoover says:

    I had a heated debate with a friend whilst walking past a house with some bricked up windows, I told him it was due to window taxes in a bygone era. He completely refuted this with some force and continued to mock me causing me to question myself. Upon checking I was right, if only I had the conviction of my belief to defend myself at the time, and if only the window had not been bricked up then he would have been thrown through it.

  7. Alanis Morissette had another song?

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