A Christmas Story
Dealing with a few posters reminds me strongly of the first argument I ever had with a female who wasn't a family member. I was in first grade and it was a December afternoon during the arts & crafts session. The girl beside me had drawn a picture she said she was going to include in her letter to Santa Claus. She had drawn a Christmas tree surrounded by wrapped presents and I remember thinking it was a very good drawing. But cynical little bastard that I was back then, I told her there wasn't any Santa Claus and it was pointless to send him a letter as he'd never get it.
She was indignant at that suggestion and insisted there was a Santa Claus. I used all the anti-Santa explanations my Mom and Dad had given to me and my sister. My parents were quite progressive and believed it wrong to deceive children with fairy tales. They emphasized that Santa was a symbol for Christmas, but it was absurd to believe there was such a person. So I asked the little girl: How could reindeer fly? How could Santa get into houses when almost none had chimneys anymore? How could one sleigh carry enough toys for all the children in the world?
To each of my objections, she answered, "It's magic." But finally I asked her a couple of questions she couldn't answer. Why are there so many toys in stores during December if Santa delivers them to children? What happens to the toys in stores?
At that point, she banged her little fist on the desk and told me in a loud, angry voice, "I don't care what you say, I WANT TO BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS!"
The impenetrable BMs are like the little girl in the story. They WANT to believe in the silliness about out-of-control prices for drinks, girls' services and bar fines; coyotes who won't BF; punters who drive up prices for others, etc. Reasoned debate can't change their way of thinking. And it goes way beyond Christmas and punter-board myths. I've lost count of the number of people I've met over the years who stubbornly cling to irrational notions on politics, religion, economics, history, physical health- any subject you can think of- for no other reason than they want to believe.
I did indeed learn an important lesson that day and it hadn't been presented by my first-grade teacher. It took me some years to put it in its proper context, but I grasped its essence even then: it's pointless to argue with some people. Later on I realized that nothing I could say or write would make any difference to certain individuals, as the real grounds of their beliefs are not those which are alleged.
It's not an original insight and it's been expressed numerous times in one form or another by everyone from Greek philosophers, Biblical prophets and Sun Tzu through Bertrand Russell, Erwin Rommel and Kenny Rodgers ("You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run …"). But no one could have made it clearer than that little girl when she pounded the table and insisted she wanted to believe in Santa. It's a the Christmas-related memory that has stuck with me the longest.
Join the conversation
You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.