I love being wrong and I often am. Not sure which came first. My love of it, or… it. Am I wrong most of the time because I enjoy it so much, or have I been wrong so many times that I’ve learned to welcome it? You may have an idea, but you’re welcome to keep it to yourself.
This is a subject that has long fascinated me, especially as it pertains to bookishness. More often than not, what is printed in a book is, by the average reader, presumed to be infallible, or, which is slightly different, true. I’m not talking about history books… those are a whole other matter. Whose perspective do you trust? What is less wrong: your perception of Zulu culture after immersing yourself in it for a year, purely for study, or a thorough reading of Aubrey Elliott’s “The Zulu Traditions and Cultures”? Both are biased, (one more so than the other,) both are the thoughts and observations of a mere human and both can be right. Also, both can be wrong. To the extent that retelling of fact can be wrong. And it can be. Because even when reciting the multiplication tables, as humans, we make inferences, inadvertently go on tangents, make associations, have feelings. I really do believe that I know nothing. The more I know, the less I know. In fact, most of my sentences, when talking to others and myself, begin with, “I may be wrong about this, but…”
And then there’s this: last week I begged Jane to let me prune her roses while she was away. I enjoyed it immensely, if you don’t count the intervals during which I was sure I was doing it all wrong and her bushes would never flower again. I kept wishing I could go home and Google (again) the proper way to do it. When I finished, I decided to go find a rake and clean up after myself. When I found it, it looked somewhat strange to me. Because I’d never used a rake before in my life, however, I assumed this was what all rakes looked and felt like. I’ll spare you the suspense and tell you right now that it was broken. The teeth were attached to the stick/pole/thingy in only one place, instead of two, so the whole head of teeth just flopped around from side to side. I spent a little over an hour trying to clean up the garden, while muttering profanities directed at my own stupidity. It looks so easy in the movies… why can’t I do it like that? Because the thing was broken and instead of considering that possibility, what was more plausible to me was that I was doing it wrong. The entire point of me being in the garden in the first place was to relax and enjoy minor manual labor, while kneeling in dirt and humming along with the birds. Instead… well, you get the idea.
So, the obvious moral of this story is probably that all things must be done in moderation. The less obvious one would be made most obvious if I spelled it out here.