I have been involved in my fair share of stupid arguments.
How dare you say,
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"?
Sometimes I even use arguing as a form of entertainment. As long as the other participant feels the same way, this can be a harmless way to kill a couple of hours. Unfortunately, I have not always made the wisest choices when it comes to this. There have been several occasions where a bored third party has had to endure an absolutely ridiculous argument. Usually, I end up getting into such lively arguments that the third party is entertained… but I still feel bad.
Philopshers have been debating this topic for years. Is it raining or is it sprinkling?
For example, I recently engaged in a two hour (no exaggeration) argument with a buddy over whether or not a baseball outfielder making a spectacular catch should be considered a truly impressive athletic feat. My position was that these plays are incredibly athletic and amazing. He contended that they really aren’t that difficult when compared to plays in soccer and American football. Although there was a lot of beer involved, at one point, I distinctly remember talking about the lightning fast reaction time and coordination needed to “read” a round ball off of a round bat. I even took out my phone to look up the physics behind this action and remember talking about breaking it down into milliseconds. The poor third guy just sat there laughing at us while we screamed at each other. I’d like to apologize to that innocent bystander… and now all of you for making you suffer through that story.
But this argument may not even make the top five stupid arguments in my life. But I do know what number one is…
Back in college (well one of the six colleges I attended) I lived with four other guys. Since I never went to class, I was able to be there to entertain each of them no matter what time of day. During weeknights when there wasn’t something going on at the bars, we would normally play the card game “Spades” until around midnight. Then most of the roommates would go to sleep. But for two of us, midnight seemed like the perfect time to start an elaborate board game. Like all rational people who have a class beginning in 8 hours, my roommate Joon and I looked at this as a great time to start playing… Axis and Allies.
If you are not familiar with the game Axis and Allies, it is a World War II strategy game. It is similar to the game Risk… except about 1000 times more complicated. The game is intended to be played over the course of several days or weeks. Naturally, Joon and I always attempted to start and finish the game in one night. To give you an idea of how complicated the game is, here are the playing pieces:
The set included 299 pieces, with 14 different military units each with its own set of rules.
Here’s the board:
I learned more about geography from playing this game than any history class I ever took. Please note, this is not 100% accurate. This is the 1942 version... and there would have been about one dozen empty beer bottles lining the board.
This is just one page of the 32 page rule book.
Yes I understand that you can't read this. That is the point. The rules were ridiculous!
Each unit had this many rules… or more”.
I think you get the point. It’s a really complicated game with a huge rulebook. Here’s the problem: we had the game and all of its pieces… but we didn’t have the rulebook. Therefore, we each had to agree on the rules we had memorized. Usually this was fine. However, there was one major exception.
Perhaps now would be a good time to address the apparently obvious and very simple solution. Some of you may be asking yourselves, "Why didn't these idiots just look up the rules online?!” This would have been a great idea... but there was one huge problem. These events took place in 1991, several years before Al Gore invented the internet* and made it useful for the average Joe.
Another possible solution would have been for us to simply buy a new game (complete with instructions). Unfortunately, it would have cost $50. For that amount, we could have purchased 1000 nickel beers… so there was no way that was happening. Consequently, Joon and I just had to do the best we could to remember the rules to the most complicated game either of us had ever seen.
One night at around 2:00 AM, our flawed method of determining the rules culminated in the most idiotic argument in which I have ever participated. You see, we had forgotten how the transport pieces had worked. I contended that you could not load and unload a transport on the same turn, my roommate thought you could. (If that made your eyes roll and say, “Who cares?” that’s OK. Those details aren’t that important… and my wife says the same thing when I tell this story.)
The argument began peacefully with each of us making our case. Unfortunately, neither of us could be swayed. It was like that white and gold (or blue and black) dress that everyone was talking about a couple of years ago. You simply could not change someone's mind about their perception of that damn dress.
I'm still convinced that the "optical illusion" was actually sorcery.
There simply was no way that either of us could convince the other to concede. There was no impartial and knowledgeable third party to ask. There were no resources to consult. There were only two stubborn college kids… and their voices.
The peaceful argument soon began to get louder and louder. We used crazy real life examples of how and why our explanations could be possible. We yelled about ocean currents, weight and buoyancy. At one point we even referenced a physics textbook (that we had to search for). This crazy college hijinks was exactly like a scene from the movie “Animal House". Oh wait no. Wrong movie. The movie I’m thinking of is “Revenge of the Nerds”.
The ladies are going to swoon when I tell them how I won this argument over a board game!
By some miracle, this nerd blowout never turned violent. Perhaps we were each afraid we would break our slide rules if it got physical. But man did we get loud. After all logical arguments fell short, we devolved into the enlightened realm of screaming. For thirty minutes, we took turns bellowing our explanation.
You can’t load and unload a transport on the same turn!
On several occasions, our roommates came into the living room to try and calm the argument. Each one of them failed and walked out of the room shaking his head and muttering. This continued until we heard a knock on the door. It was 4:30 AM. There were two possibilities. Each of which would involve a gun. Either a neighbor had arrived to mercifully put me and my fellow idiot out of our misery… or it was the police.
Luckily it was the latter. Yep. My roommate and I had the police called on us for arguing over a board game.
We explained the situation to the police officer. He shook his head and laughed at us. I believe he decided that simply having to live as ourselves was punishment enough. A ticket or a night in jail would be nothing compared to living an entire life as a dork who spends more energy arguing about board games than actually attending the classes for which he were paying thousands of dollars. I’m sure he thought, “These poor guys are never going to kiss a girl. That is punishment enough”. He warned us and left.
Missing class over these types of arguments was one thing… but going to jail? Even we had our limits. We cleared the board and went to bed. Thirty minutes later my alarm sounded for my first class of the day. I ignored it.
By the way, you cannot load and unload a transport on the same turn. I was right! I showed him. So I have that going for me...
Joon is now a heart surgeon. Ummmm maybe he won after all.
Now it is your turn. What is the dumbest argument that you have ever had?
*Al gore did not invent the internet. This was a joke.