Facts prepared as usual. She gathered, honed for accuracy and clarity, checked to make sure everything was in working order, and stored everything neatly and within easy reach. She assembled her team and reviewed policies, procedures, and protocol for every conceivable scenario. Opinion prepared herself. Clothes, shoes, hair, make-up, eyes – especially her eyes – and assessed her own thoughts and feelings. At the appointed time, Facts and Opinion met at the agreed upon time and place. Facts and her entourage stood at the ready, impressive in size and scope. Opinion came alone, with only a wand.
From all appearances, Facts seemed unbeatable, and Opinion a defeated foe. However, as their battle commenced and continued, something odd happened. Each time Facts brought forth a person, piece of information, or point, Opinion waved her wand and dismissed them.
“Disqualified!” she announced. “You are dismissed.”
This bothered Facts, but did not worry. She had plenty of resources at her disposal and was willing to allow Opinion some leeway. After all, Opinion had only a wand.
She also had a strange method of communicating. When making statements, Opinion waved her wand around in the air, as if drawing pictures. Then, whenever Facts attempted to point at something somewhere in the air that Opinion had drawn, Opinion simply redrew, or withdrew, or waved her wand anew in a different place. Facts explained that pointing at nothing in the air was difficult to follow and impossible to confirm, but Opinion ridiculed her.
“You don’t see what I see?” she taunted. “Are you blind? You expect me to accept your vast alliance of congruencies without doubt, and, yet, you can’t grasp even my simplest assertion right here, right here, right here in front of your face!”
Even as Opinion claimed a single assertion and said, “right here” three times, she pointed in different places all three times. As their battle continued, Facts attempted to bring forth only things that were precisely relevant, but Opinion continued to dismiss them without regard.
Eventually, Facts stood alone, face to face with Opinion, who still wielded her wand. Opinion claimed victory. She thanked Facts for her shrewd courage and obvious commitment, then dismissed her mockingly with a wave of her wand, and returned merrily to her lair. Facts retreated to her throne room, reassembled her team, encouraged them, and began considering how to reorder her dismissed array, as well as pondering what she might add to her arsenal to better prepare for the next battle.
One time, Facts attempted to use a wand herself in battle. But, Opinion ridiculed her, and dismissed her attempt as vain, ludicrous, and unworthy of merit.
Occasionally, Facts wins a contest, but only when Opinion concedes her point blithely as if she does not really care and that particular match is insignificant.
Other times, Facts seems to have won, especially when the sheer enormity of her case is overwhelming and the net effect of Opinion’s wand waving seems vain. In these instances, Opinion tends to inflate herself, breathe fire, blow smoke, and scream incredulities, and then prance arrogantly away.
Left behind in the wake of the fray, Facts and her entourage appear victorious. But, really, they are singed, sticky, and stinky, and generally unwelcome company for anyone who might consider taking them out to dinner. No matter how clean they begin, battles with Opinion always leave them messy.
Facts always believes she can win by advocating unequivocal truth. Opinion always believes she can win by advocating her own personal perspectives branded as truth, and by questioning the validity of Fact’s actual truths.
Hence, their fights are rarely fair, since Opinion’s “truths” are air. With a wave of her wand, she can say, “Be gone!” and too few seem to care.
Originally published in Meat and Potatoes for the Soul 2, 2015.