13 July 2009

Opinion o⋅pin⋅ion /əˈpɪnyən/ [uh-pin-yuhn]

Have you ever met one of those people who have an opinion about everything? I find it interesting how their opinions are quite obviously the only acceptable ones and how dare you or anyone else feel differently! They have a favorite sports teams – which might be having a rough year, but are still the best because of a dozen detailed (while logically flimsy) arguments. In fact, it would be unpatriotic to like any other sports teams. And speaking of patriotism they know just how to stop the war in Iraq in a month or two with little to no negative side effects, and the war on terror might be a little more complicated so it would likely take them six months or so to wrap up. Yes, if the military and government would only listen to their enlightened ideas the national deficit would be resolved in a year or two and the energy crisis would be over next month. You heard right – next month. After all, the technology already exists to power our vehicles and homes using animal feces and carbon dioxide, but the oil companies have thus far successfully bought-off and/or otherwise silenced all with knowledge of this valuable technology.
Now while these people are subject matter experts on nearly every facet of life, they do not claim to be know-it-alls. No, they will most humbly admit that their expertise is lacking in certain areas, but not to worry, those are the trivialities of life, not worthy of the true devotion of their mental prowess.

If you have not yet had the pleasure of engaging in fine conversation with one of these individuals, consider the following advice:

  • Nod and smile, but whatever you do don’t verbally agree or disagree with anything they say

  • If circumstances force you to speak, don’t bother trying to discuss anything of value – stick to safe topics that shouldn’t burn more than an hour or so of your time like whether it is best to use a #2 pencil or a pen when taking a test, or whether it would hurt more to fall ten feet onto a concrete surface face first or feet first

  • Be wary of using impromptu excuses to get out of the discussion – such a simple statement as “well, I’ve got to run” could very well lead into a lengthy discussion on how you are not likely to be running anywhere, but rather walking or driving and how the English language has been perverted over the years – likely a result of illegal immigration (which they’ll get to in a moment

  • While tempting, it isn’t a good idea to fake narcolepsy as this is time consuming to do properly and will likely result in your new acquaintance accompanying you to the hospital where he or she will edify you with a lengthy monologue on how to fix our broken health care system

Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to stay mentally strong. Regardless of your opinion of their opinions, if you can keep silent and endure, the discomfort will last only for a short time until they move on for another more talkative victim. Just remember that as my high school English teacher used to say, “Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has a couple, and they usually stink.”

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