Friday, April 4, 2014

The Right to be Wrong

The other day Kira needed to be in Blanding for an evening play performance. Thinking that would be a good opportunity to spend a little driving time with her, I decided to load my bicycle into the bed of our old Ford pickup and do a late afternoon ride back to Bluff. Since she is open to discussing topics ranging from politics to religion to human relations, I always enjoy talking with her.
Steve Simpson and his Ford pickup in front of Twin Rocks

Kira will be majoring in astrophysics when she enters college next fall, so she universally has something interesting to say. I, on the other hand, consider myself a fairly simple man, so dark matter, black holes, the Big Bang theory, gravitational waves and cosmic inflation confound me. Indeed, I am hard pressed to explain the difference between a bison and a boson or a navel and a neutrino. It is therefore surprising to me that I am at least partially responsible for raising such a complex child. I can only surmise the solution to that particular mystery resides with her mother.

As Kira and I drove north, hop scotching from one issue to the next; we ultimately landed on a topic of disagreement. “Well”, she concluded with sincere compassion for my apparently misguided opinion, “you have the right to be wrong.” Shortly thereafter, we arrived in town so I extracted the bicycle from our truck and commenced peddling home. As I descended the 25 miles from Blanding to Bluff, Kira’s comment kept rattling around in my mind, and I wondered, “Do I really have a right to be wrong?”

Long ago Barry and I were taught the principles of “the trader’s prerogative”, which counsels that one can say almost anything in the interest of securing a sale or trading advantage. I have also been instructed by Rose and Duke that, “Ignorance is not a crime." In fact, some of our Bluff neighbors have confirmed this theory by assuring me that if it were a felony I would be incarcerated for life, maybe even condemned to death row.

While I am comfortable I cannot be imprisoned for being a Philistine, I was still not convinced Kira was correct. As a result, the following morning I logged on to the Internet and pulled up a copy of the Bill of Rights. Although I was able to identify many Constitutional privileges, I did not find any mention of a right to be wrong.

In spite of the trader’s prerogative, Barry and I have always endeavored to maintain a higher standard, even when this was considered foolish by many of the old-timers in our industry. Wanting to test Kira’s theory, however, I came to work this week with no regard for accuracy. As Barry, Priscilla and Danny stood by, aghast as I poured out volumes of misguided facts, sales at Twin Rocks Trading Post soared.

Just as I was becoming comfortable I had converted them to this new philosophy, an official-looking letter arrived. It stated, “You better retain a good defense lawyer. We are charging you with a felony of falsehood and malicious misinformation. You’re going down!” It was signed Barry, Priscilla and Danny.

With warm regards,
Steve and the team; Barry, Priscilla and Danny.

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