DON'T LET FACTS 
GET IN THE WAY

    I was having lunch the other day with a good friend of mine, and naturally the conversation turned to politics, as it always does these days.
    My friend, who I disagree with on practically every political or economic issue that has ever been discussed, proceeded to throw fact after fact at me to prove his latest point.
    I hate that. Nevertheless, I told him he was dead wrong, his so-called "facts" were distortions and I had plenty of facts of my own to completely obliterate his stupid theory.
   "Like what?" he brazenly asked.
   "I can't remember," I replied, as usual. "But they were really good ones and you would be thoroughly defeated if I did remember them."
    He snorted, as he is apt to do when I make hollow but heartfelt claims, and then he proceeded to tell me every little detail about some snotty article he recently read, where the distinguished author confirmed everything my friend was saying.
   "So what," I retorted. "I read an article just the other day that said the complete opposite. It completely backed my position."
    "And what article was that?" he asked as he arrogantly took a sip of his Diet Coke.
       It was a really good article. Concise, logical, filled with facts that couldn't be refuted. If I could only remember what it said, or where I saw it, I would have had him cold.
    It's not that I have a particularly bad memory. I'm great at phone numbers. That's worth something. Or sports facts. Batting averages, win-loss records, quarterback ratings---I'm a veritable scholar.
    The problem is with economic or political facts. I have about a seven-hour window of recollection. After that, the window slams right on my brain. Gone and forgotten.
    I would have made a particularly inept politician. I'd have everything mixed up, sooner or later. Millions, billions, trillions? Couldn't we come up with names that weren't so similar? How are you supposed to remember if it's $40 million, or $4 billion, or $2 trillion?
    The presidential race, global warming, unemployment, the war in Afghanistan, deficit spending, free trade, import quotas---the list goes on and on. And I've got all the facts and figures floating somewhere in my brain, so eager to see the light of day. But they never will.
    "I had him scrambling," I said to my wife when I came home that night after lunch with my friend. "He would've agreed with me on everything if only I could have remembered a fact or two."
    "You didn't mix up the million/billion thing again, did you?" she asked, knowing that usually shoots my credibility out of the water.
    "No, I didn't even go there this time. I started to talk about that article on free trade, but I couldn't remember what it had to do with anything, so I dropped it after he bombarded me with more facts."
   "You poor baby," she cooed, rubbing my empty head. "You'll get him next time."
   She was being sympathetic, which is not her usual manner, mainly because she is every bit as bad as me when it comes to remembering facts and figures. It makes for a very happy marriage because our arguments don't last long.
   "Why don't you create a "cheat sheet" next time you read a good article," she suggested. "Then when you're in the heat of the battle, you can just pull it out and let him have it right between the eyes."
   I considered it for a moment, but quickly realized I'd have to start carrying a briefcase if I wanted to cover all the pertinent issues that might come up, and I didn't want to go that route.
    "How about letting you 'call a friend' when you're struggling to find a fact?" she innocently asked. "He'd probably think that was okay."
   "Yeah, but it might be kind of awkward, and it shows weakness," I replied. "I've got to come up with something else."
   We racked our little brains for a while longer, and came up with nothing. Nevertheless, when I had my next argument with my friend, and he started spouting facts once again, I did come up with an appropriate reply that stopped him in his tracks.
    "SO IS YOUR MAMA!"
    Victory was mine.

 

 

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