April Fools

The end of March and the beginning of April have seen me in fool’s bells. My husband told me a month ago that he thought our cow was pregnant. I went and looked at her myself, being an expert on bovine pregnancy and all, and declared him mistaken. “She’s not pregnant,” said I, “because she’s not nearly as big as she was last time.”

Last week, Bossy proved me wrong. Loud moos were heard coming from the creek bed, and our daughters ran up excitedly. “Mom, Mom!” they cried, “Bossy is mooing really loudly! What if she’s having a calf?!”

“She’s not having a calf,” sez I. “She’s probably in heat. But if she doesn’t stop, you’d better go tell Dad. Maybe she’s hurt.”

No more than 15 minutes later, the little girls were back in my office. “BOSSY HAD A BABY!” they yelled.

“No way!” I exclaimed. “I can’t have been wrong!”

But I was wrong. Several times since then I’ve been mistaken, too; mistaken about facts historical and otherwise; mistaken about which way to turn to get to where I’m going. I have been mistaken, wrong, confounded, hasty. Over-reaching, puffed up, vain, and sometimes downright pompous. I’ve been these in front of witnesses. And they have laughed.

I like being wrong when the resulting surprises are good ones. I don’t mind laughing at myself, or having others laugh at me, then. But I have to admit that there are times when I’m mistaken about something and I see my arrogance and it’s not a pretty sight.

Though I’m old enough to have been often wrong, I still think I’m right so much of the time. I must think I have lived long enough to know a pregnant cow when I see one, though (if truth be told) I have known only one pregnant cow in my entire life, and that one is Bossy.  So this month I am an April fool. I’m reminded to not take myself too very seriously, to keep a humble set of heart and mind, to smile, and to be a bit more tentative in my statements, declarations, and pontifications. To be a better listener. To demonstrate my respect for others by recognizing that they could be right!

ico24 by you.

 

8 responses

  1. Scott, I had to laugh about your billion dollar error! A provocative statement, indeed.

    I believe that being able to admit error only increases one’s true personal authority, as someone who cannot admit a mistake can’t be trusted–and trustworthiness of self is a valuable trait.

  2. Great to hear that it’s not Parkinsons. Nerve damage isn’t good of course, but better than the alternative.

    One thing I learned teaching college is that there is real strength in admitting one doesn’t know something, or when one is wrong. If a student finds an error in something I say I feel really good about myself when I check out the facts, realize I was wrong and then admit it. Hah! I did not give in to the temptation to protect my authority even to deny truth or defend against cognitive dissonance.

    Though some errors of carelessness are funny. I put up posters for a summer course “Consumerism, Politics and Values” which had a list of questions ranging from concrete political to psychological and personal, many provocative (trying to market the course — a nice irony). Anyway, all over campus I had as one of the bullets: “Barack Obama was able to raise $600 billion in order to buy the Presidency. It used to be for sale only to rich white men with close corporate ties.”

    It was pointed out to me that as good as his campaign financing machine was, he raised only $600 million, not billion. So I had to replace the signs — my excuse is that all the talk of stimulus, TARP and bailout money has me thinking in much higher denominations!

  3. The Grave-Digger

    Once, as I was burying one of my dead selves, the grave-digger came by and said to me, “Of all those who come here to bury, you alone I like.”

    Said I, “You please me exceedingly, but why do you like me?”

    “Because,” said he, “They come weeping and go weeping — you only come laughing and go laughing.”

    Kahlil Gibran
    –The Madman

  4. Heni, ah, ha ha ha! Can one be humble or mistaken and still be a blogger?

    Great question!

    Maybe… with an audience of perhaps five other bloggers. ;o)

  5. Deb, you always make me grin somehow! My husband and I were joking around yesterday about how I have treated him like my oldest child in the past. And how we are partners and peers now, having lived long enough (and my having been mistaken often enough!).

    Ah, the blessings of Chronos, the god of time.

  6. I just was thinking this morning about your husband and wondering what had come of your worries about his hand. I was planning to email you…I’m so glad it is not something more serious!

    “I’m reminded to not take myself too very seriously, to keep a humble set of heart and mind, to smile, and to be a bit more tentative in my statements, declarations, and pontifications. To be a better listener. To demonstrate my respect for others by recognizing that they could be right!”

    –Can you do those things and still be a blogger? 🙂

  7. I’m glad your husband’s hand is just nerve damage.

    I’ve noticed that I argue less and less with people lately about being right. Sometimes I know I’m right, sometimes I think I’m right but I’m finding it doesn’t matter so much to me anymore. This morning I found out my husband had lost Katie’s prescription for risperidone. We had a huge hassle last time trying to get the script rewritten on short notice. So he took her to the doctor and then lost the script. Normally I would have lost it but I thought this morning, this is not my problem, he’s a grown up, he broke it, he can fix it. And he did. My little boy is growing up. Me, not so much:)

    And not arguing with other people when I “know” I’m right, means I’m not so tired and angry all the time. It’s liberating.

    I’m just happy to read your writing again. Take care.

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