A Look On The Lighter Side: When you want to say you were wrong

A Look On The Lighter Side: When you want to say you were wrong

Recently The New York Times filled an opinion section with confessions from various pundits on how they’ve each been wrong about something. It inspired me to do the same, as I told my family on last week’s Zoom.

“What?” responded my husband, shock on his face. “I don’t believe it.”

“You’re surprised I was ever wrong?” I said to him. “That’s sweet.”

“No, I’m just amazed that you’re ready to admit it,” he replied.

“Here’s the thing,” I told my husband and two sons. “I need your help remembering examples of when I was wrong. They’re so few and far-between…”

My eldest jumped right in.

“Remember how you were so sure I’d be drowned, going to that rock concert on Governors Island?”

“I never said ‘drowned,’” I protested.

“You were thinking it,” he retorted.

“Can you blame me? You went off to join a crowd on an island in New York Harbor, in the teeth of Hurricane Irene, which actually hit New York the very next day —“

“—two days later,” he corrected.

“Whatever,” I snapped. “Allow me to worry about your safety.”

“Well, anyway, I’m still here,” he said, his smug smile showing quite clearly on the screen.

“And what about me?” said the younger brother. “Remember, when you were so sure, you pinky-promised me that my tech teacher in middle school would give me an extra day to finish that assignment, drafting 20 different kinds of bridges?”

“You had been out sick! So sick that your doctor said we should meet him at the hospital. Thank goodness you got better quickly, but still — it’s right there in the handbook that students would get extra time to make up assignments that were given while they were sick.”

“Yeah, well, my teacher said too bad, and graded me down anyway.”
“That’s true, but I feel that one’s on him, not on me.”

“OK then…. What about that time you were so sure that Hebrew was from an Indo-European language root?”

“It wasn’t such a crazy thing to think; every other language we had looked at, all over Europe and Asia, was in that family, from English to Romansch to Hindi. How could Hebrew be an exception?”

“And yet it was; I mean, it is, along with Arabic. And you got so mad. It was actually pretty funny,” my younger son said, grinning.

“Yes, you are the child I kept losing arguments to. It’s all coming back to me, now — I admit, I was a little bit happy when you went off to college. I figured, let the professors have fun arguing with you.”

“So what are you going to write about?” both boys wanted to know.

“Technology,” I answered.

“Oh ho!” they both crowed. “There’s so much you’ve been wrong about there.”

“Remember when Mom hid the Garmin thing under her seat, still talking, because she didn’t know how to turn it off?”

“And she didn’t know how to close apps on her phone and had hundreds still running at the same time?”

“That isn’t funny,” I said. “They should teach you things like that when they sell you the phone. But as it happens, you’re on completely the wrong track, because where I was going is this: I was wrong to hate technology.”

“What?” My sons stared at me through the Zoom screen, fallen speechless. My husband was staring now, too.

“Yes, it’s time I made this confession: Without all the tech we have nowadays — Zoom and Facetime and the internet in general — I think I would have lost my mind during the pandemic. It was torture that you couldn’t visit us here before we’d had vaccines, but at least we could see your faces and know you were OK.”
“The same for us checking on you and Dad,” said both boys.

“Plus, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our rabbi,” I continued, “and all our synagogue discussion groups. On the days I had those, I didn’t feel quite so imprisoned.”

“Don’t forget groceries,” said my husband. “If I hadn’t been able to order those remotely, we wouldn’t have eaten much. I’m even grateful to Amazon, for delivering clothing, and distilled water, and things like coffee beans and soap.”

“So I might have to embrace new technology,” I wrapped up. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll even start one of those Hickory Dock things.”

“Do you mean TikTok, Mom?”

“I think the world is safe for a while,” chuckled my spouse.

Trying and failing to sign off the family Zoom, I proved that I’m still no tech wizard. Perhaps it is hard to teach an old Mom new tricks. But at least this Mom is now willing to learn.

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