The Art of Debate

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I looked it up—the definition of debate is “a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.”

For example: “Mother, Sal and I are going to use grandmother’s china for our dinner party tonight.”

“Oh, no you’re not! Those dishes are not to be scratched.”

“Huh? Then why do you have them?”

“Because they’re beautiful antiques.”

“But if you don’t use them, what good are they?”

“They’re some of MY things.”

End of debate. There IS no debating with an Ancient One. They’ve lived eighty-plus years and BY GAWD, they’re going to do and say whatever the hell they want and you can be damned to hell if your opinion differs. There are no “matched sides” in a debate with the elderly. You can only say, “Whatever,” and then do what you want to when they’re not looking.

When you have control issues like I do, debating is such a chore. You have to pretend like you’re listening to the other side of the debate and respond as if you respect your opponent’s perspective. We know not to debate with a waiter because they’ll just spit on your food in the kitchen before they bring it out. Debating with a telemarketer is also useless because they have been trained NOT to stray from their speech, so they don’t care what you have to say. They’ll just go to the next paragraph written down in front of them. And, don’t waste your time debating what the weather is going to be like, because God will just laugh at you and do whatever she wants to do.

I wish I picked my battles judiciously, but when my temper flares, it’s “Katy, bar the door,” and off I go, making arguments that are completely absurd to match the anger of my opponent. This can be kind of fun if you’re quick-witted and articulate, but when the temper is involved, words like, “Well, just because I said so!” usually spill from my mouth. This gives the other side plenty of ammo to use as I stumble for a proper response.

Then there are people like Sarah Palin who just smile as they throw the dagger. Another response that infuriates me and causes more dimwitted vernacular like, “What’s so damn funny, missy?” Not a good way to debate, but at least I’m not winking as I speak. Crying usually works well in these circumstances unless you’re a man, like Joe Biden. That was a switch, huh?

I am here to tell you that alcohol does not work either when you’re debating. You don’t even start out debating, but get all liquored up and the sky’s the limit! Especially if your opponent is a happy drunk and won’t argue with you no matter what you say.

“And, you know what? Your hair looks like shit!”


“Yes, REALLY!”

“Well, I know you’re right because when I teased it to stand straight up before I came to meet you tonight, I thought, “My hair looks like SHIT!” Debate over … there’s nowhere to go from there except, “Waiter, I’ll have another martini, please … and this time, please fill the glass to the friggin’ TOP, will you?”

Don’t drink it if it comes back looking a little “cloudy”!



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