I’ve just heard that there’s a U.S. Presidential Election coming up in November! Someone dropped this bombshell on me right out of the blue while I was standing in the ‘20 Items or Less Express Checkout’ maze at Wal-Mart. RUB·A535™ Maximum Strength Heating Cream (that starts working on contact for soothing, fast acting relief of muscle and joint pain) was on special. I bought nine tubes packaged in nine skinny boxes. I have a wonky back. It never ceases to amaze how I’m always the last to know about things. Like a mushroom, I am kept in the dark. Not about the RUB·A535™ Maximum Strength Heating Cream (that starts working on contact for soothing, fast acting relief of muscle and joint pain), being on special — I knew about that; my wife told me over dinner the night before about this “screaming deal” and strongly suggested that I take full advantage of it. Evidently the guy in front of me knew about the “screaming deal” on RUB·A535™ Maximum Strength Heating Cream (that starts working on contact for soothing, fast acting relief of muscle and joint pain). He must be married as well. He had about twenty of the tubes packaged in the little skinny boxes. I counted exactly eighteen to make sure he was eligible for the express service treatment.
I was a little hurt that I had to find out about the U.S. Presidential election from a complete stranger. But, he was my only credible source, so what choice did I have but to take his word for it? I mean, it’s not like there was anything in the World Press about an election. Who knew? I’m not an isolationist. I try and stay informed, but I would have assumed that with such an important national event of epic historical significance and global economic ramifications, it would have been hyped, spun and saturated by all forms of new and old media. Surely this would warrant a full scale carpet-bombing campaign of coverage. I would have thought CNN would have mentioned something about it by now. Or FOX? CBC? MSNBC? Yahoo News? Twitter? TMZ?
“So, who are the two candidates vying for the best seat in the U.S. Oval Office?” I asked the guy with the RUB·A535™ Maximum Strength Heating Cream (that starts working on contact for soothing, fast acting relief of muscle and joint pain).
He just shook his head and lowered his gaze before he was calmly encouraged to ‘’please proceed to Checkout 6” by a soothing disembodied female voice. He shuffled forward into the matrix that is a Wal-Mart Express Checkout.
The only thing true from the text above is that I did go to Wal Mart to buy RUB·A535™ Maximum Strength Heating Cream (that starts working on contact for soothing, fast acting relief of muscle and joint pain). It wasn’t on special so I only bought one tube. There was no stranger who informed me of the pending U.S. Elections. I’m fully cognisant of the race to the White House even though I hang my toque north of the American / Canadian border. I know the most of the key players but often confuse which party really represents the best interests of the ‘common folk’ and who are ‘common folk’. These delineations confound me with Canadian politicians as well.
I don’t really care much for politico-speak between acquaintances, not matter how casual the setting may be. Talking politics usually escalates, and I seldom have the interest or that reserve of energy required to defend any of my personal believes, so I keep them to myself. I keep them personal.
There is a thin veneer between ‘arguing’ and ‘debating’. The differences, at times, are virtually imperceptible. Both interactions share common elements: Two opposing points of view, two polar opposite personalities each with their own protected vested interests and such. Debating, in the milieu of politics, is usually a spectator sport, held in a public forum wherein there is to be an apparent decorum; agreed upon rules of engagement. Logical posits are to be articulated while socio-economic platforms are to be fully explained, and views shared. Circumlocution is not encouraged. A moderator with nice hair is employed to keep things on track. Debating effectively takes skill, restraint and a calculated strategy. The onus is on each participant to inflate their position while deflating the opponents. If it’s debateable, it’s deflatable. Wow, I just coined that. Hang on – here it is again: If it’s debateable, it’s deflatable™ . It’s not enough to be passionate about a topic; you are further expected to sway people into your way of thinking: to win a person over. It’s easy to speak for ten straight minutes and say absolutely nothing. Shuck and jive, bob and weave. It’s harder to give a clear, convincing position in ten seconds or less, which is about all I need before deciding if anything worthwhile will be forthcoming. Debates are something to be won, although more often than not, no one really knows who the victor is – it’s subjective. A debater will many times fail to recognize or acknowledge that they’ve lost a debate – that they’ve been deflated. Same goes with an argument. How do you know who wins? Well, in years gone by if the argument went down in a saloon there would be no question as to who the victor was. But times have changed. Saloons have been replaced with salons and not many arguments go down in salons, so — Okay, yes, I know, I have only nine seconds left, so, in closing I’d just like to reiterate that the differences between a debate and an unwinnable argument are few. They both start off with some basic formalities before getting nasty. There. I win. Thank you. PS – my opponent is a monster. Goodnight everybody.