My grandmother used to say to me, “Would you rather be happy or would you rather be right?”
Invariably, I’d answer: “Both.”
She passed away in 2012 but knowing her as well as I did I’m still consistently stunned when I think back to her saying that to me… because she enjoyed being right more than just about anyone I knew.
Now, of course, there’s varying degrees of how good it feels to be right. There’s the quiet, keep-it-to-yourself type of being right where it warms the cockles of your heart but you don’t say much. Then there’s the type where no one really was arguing with you but it’s still nice to be the authority, to be correct when it comes to some/anything. But lastly, and most importantly, there’s the sort of being right when someone actively, vociferously and/or repeatedly doubts you in public and YOU’RE STILL FUCKING RIGHT.
This could be as simple as remembering where Chris Kaman went to college… it’s Central Michigan… or as impossibly complicated as being proven right that your mom never, in fact, liked boxing despite your dad’s claims to the contrary (even though this literally, by laws of physics, space and time, cannot be proven one way or the other, I look forward to the white light at the end of the tunnel to settle this with my family once and for all).
Before we go further, and admittedly there’s not much left to go, I think this is as appropriate a time as any to posit this question: why do sports fans remember where guys went to college? This seems to be an oddly specific thing that only happens to us. Fans of movie stars don’t tend to know where they grew up. Politicos don’t know everyone in government’s alma mater. If brain space was like a hard drive, I’d venture that about 20-40% of mine is filled up with shit like Chris Kaman and Central Michigan or Aaron Judge and Fresno State or Chris Johnson and Eastern Carolina. I’d like to wipe that slate clear and even if I could replace it with nothing, I think my whole OS would run smoother.
Anyway, this feeling is obviously similar to number four with one major difference: when you’re doing better than someone, you know deep down that you aren’t necessarily better than that person. But, there’s very little ambiguity about being right.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Acting like a confident, pompous douche about something you KNOW… and then it turns out you’re either mistaken or, worse yet, been wrong about forever and no one’s told you. When I was younger I used to think “irregardless” was a word and that the phrase was “for all intensive purposes.” Imagine as an adult, if I still thought that, confidently argued that’s how it was and found out I was wrong.
You know why that never happened? My mom checked me on it when I was a kid and set my ass straight. Why? Because she also liked being right.