Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I Call a “Do Over”

Who decided there aren’t any “do overs”?

I was talking to Rob in the neighborhood bar. He”s a happy-go-lucky, young guy, always ready with a clever remark, great at a game of verbal volleyball. Guess you could say I like talking to Rob. He’s clever.

This night he seemed only slightly less energetic. The difference was nearly imperceptible, but it was there. So I asked about his day, and he answered with the this and that of things that had gone a bit wrong. I said the day sounded like a perfect candidate for a “do over.” He said that he didn’t believe in “do overs.” I was stunned. How could a young, good-looking, happy-go-lucky guy like Rob not believe in “do overs”? He had to be teasing. He had to be pulling both of my legs and the legs of the chair I was sitting on.

Thinking perhaps he was an only child, who came from perhaps a deprived childhood, I carefully explained the concept of a “do over.” I made sure that he understood that as long as all of the people involved agreed, a “do over” was fair game on almost every event. He wasn’t buying. His life had not room for such things.

“Say you forget your car keys,” I offered. “There’s a perfect opportunity. You call a ‘do over,’ go back to your apartment, get your car keys, and start again. No harm done.”

“No,” he answered patiently, as if I were a small child, not someone a full six inches taller than he. “That would be a ‘do again.’”

“Ah,” I smiled. “but it doesn’t have to be. The only person who has to agree with you is you,” I pointed out. “You can allow yourself a brand-new chance to get it right the first time. You can think of the other first time as practice. Imagine how it would change your perspective on your whole day.”

“Nope.” he said. “I’d never agree to that.”

The conversation went on that way for an hour or so. I pulled out my best and most charming arguments. They were fended off with his best and most patient smiles. I made no headway. This young man, who loved to play verbal volleyball, had put away all childish toys on this subject. He was not to be persuaded. In Rob’s world view, all “do overs” belonged in the minds of small children with fragile egos, not in the brains of practical, happy-go-lucky young men, who have real jobs at real museums as real photographers.

Either that, or he was playing with me. And he won. I don’t mind losing at verbal volleyball. But I really mind not knowing for sure whether I did.

I’m calling a “do over” on that conversation with Rob. I need to let him know.

He’ll probably say we can “do it again.”

Boys. They can be so disagreeable sometimes.
—me strauss, letting me be


Gone Away said...

You're both right. It all depends upon where you're standing. And that's why you're unsure that you lost... :)

ME Strauss said...

I hear what you are saying, but "do overs" aren't about being right, nor was this conversation. I just want to know whether I convinced him, and it's the not knowing. We can agree to disagree; to do over; or to do it again. I just figure that like my big brothers he'll hold his ground, say I lost and want to do it again. Deep down, I don't think he has any strong conviction either way. He's just trying to get my goat. BUT it's the not knowing that is goat getting.

Let's see pigs and goats. The farm is growing.