The other day, in conversation with an acquaintance, he voiced his belief that “all politicians are crooks.” When you hear an utterance so unequivocal it’s hard to know how to proceed. Normally I let such pronouncements, and others like that, pass, recognizing that to take issue with these sorts of statements entails lengthy discussions with little prospect of making much headway. That’s because many people over the course of their lifetimes, develop a cluster of pre-packaged, reflexive viewpoints regarding an array of subjects. Convinced they’ve penetrated to the essence of the matter, inflexible enough to conclude no further discussion is required, they drop these verbal bombs and assume they’ve provided the last word on the subject. Here is but a partial list of “conversation stoppers” I’ve encountered.
- Professional sports are fixed.
- Government can’t do anything right.
- Men just have sex on their minds.
- Prices always go up.
- The French are very disagreeable.
- Insurance companies will figure out why you’re not covered.
- Doctors never listen to you.
- Movies are mostly about sex and violence.
- The Stock Market is rigged.
- My grandchildren happen to be exceptional.
- Road repair crews never seem to be working.
- Something is always going wrong in a house.
- Weathermen rarely get it right.
- There’s nothing on TV.
- Don’t talk to me about lawyers.
- Drivers are crazy.
- We spend a fortune on foreign aid.
- Plumbers charge too much.
- There’s no respect anymore.
- Money goes to money.
- It’s a free country.
- It’s God’s Will.
- It’s all in the genes.
Next time you hear any of these “certitudes” it will be up to you to decide whether to
let them pass or take them on. Good luck.