I win! I win!

Some background: I’m at the Indiana Academy, a residential high school for the smartest teens in Indiana. (I’m not bragging, it’s important) Among my friends here are a Jainist, a Gnostic, a Reform Jew, an athiest and a Roman Catholic. I get along fine with people of all sorts of religious beliefs or lack there of.

But then there’s Beth. She is an evangelical athiest. The ARG220 of athiests. Violently angry that everyone doesn’t believe exactly what she does, and ready to argue at the drop of a hat. There are probably many good reasons why she feels she needs to be so vehement; I don’t give a damn. She’s in my social studies class and every discussion turns into a monologue by her about how the Christian Church is responsible for every bad thing that has happened in the past two thousand years. (no, really, that’s her viewpoint) She is has interrupted people in a debate and told them to shut up, because she doesn’t care about their opinions. Being here drives her crazy because people who disagree with her are well-reasoned and intelligent, and because she can’t intimidate them with superior intellect. She’s incredibly irritating and she never shuts up until the teacher makes her. But I did it.

For the past two weeks, we’ve been presenting group projects about utopias. And during everry presentation, she’s managed to take control of the class to argue with our professor about religious issues. Today she did it during mine. Twice. The second time, she was arguing that the Christian Coalition rules America as a theocracy.

The teacher finally calmed her down and said, “John, continue.” And I said-

“You know Beth, the teacher does have office hours posted. The next time you feel that the two of you need to a have a one-on-one argument, do it during office hours AND NOT DURING MY PRESENTATION. You did it to everyone else’s group and you’ve done it to mine twice and I’m sick of it.”

And she didn’t speak the rest of class.

God, it felt GOOD!

What about you folks? Any recent little victories over the bastards in your life?


Miskch’s Law- It’s better to have a horrible ending than horrors without end.

assertive and diplomatic. congrat’s smart guy.

The only way to rid yourself of temptation is to yield to it–Oscar Wilde

WTG, John.

I win little arguments everyday with my husband. This is not due to superior intellect or better debating skills. I credit my victories solely to the fact that he is completely illogical and I’ve spent sometime occupying the real world.

Yay for me.

“Excrement. That is what I think of J. Evans Pritchard, PhD.” --Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

The moment I stopped being a sad picked on little nerd (and started being a sad ignored big nerd): In jr high, I was getting teased, pushed around, and basicly abused by most of the class. But there was one girl who saw it in her heart to be my girlfriend, and being the sad little guy I was, I worshipped her every move. Well, one day I’m walking down the hall and the largest guy in the class just starts laying into me about how my girlfriend was a stick, and mostly just doing the pointing and laughing thing. Well, I don’t mind being mocked, but he stabbed at my girlfriend and 8 years of suppressed rage came out at that point, funneled itself through my fist and into his gut. I then proceded to walk away, knowing damn well he wasn’t getting up for a while (He didn’t for a good ten minutes). From that day on I didn’t get even the slightest bit of trouble from that crowd. I win.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I would have been, to put it mildly, slightly less diplomatic.

So, um, why was it important that Indiana Academy is a school for “the smartest teens in Indiana”? Afraid I missed that part.

Because part of why she is like that is because she cannot intimidate people with sheer intelligence; she actually is forced to put out a well-reasoned argument. In the post as it stands, the statement is less important than it was originally; I changed the outline of the narrative and background and that information is now far less important. I also wanted to steer clear of the “She’s an idiot” responses, becuase she’s not.

Miskch’s Law- It’s better to have a horrible ending than horrors without end.

Sounds like she got what she deserved. Back when I was in high school, I guess I also would have thought of it as ‘‘winning’’ if I humiliated someone in front of the whole class after she annoyed me.

More recently, I have started to aim for a different kind of personal victory. Not long ago, for example, a colleague of mine acted like a bastard when he didn’t receive something he was supposed to get from someone in my department.

First, a little background. Most people consider this guy an office troll who is difficult to get along with. He has a bad reputation.

On this particular day, he was angry. He came over and unleashed his anger on me, even though I had absolutely nothing to do with his problem. He implied I was irresponsible, because a co-worker in my department didn’t give him what he was supposed to get. Then he stormed away.

I could have told him off (as he deserved). I could have ignored him. Instead, I gave him what he needed.

I tracked down what he was supposed to have received. I walked over to his desk. I gave it to him, and I apologized for my co-worker’s apparent lapse.

True, this guy had acted like a jerk, and he was out of line, but I overcame the temptation to think of him as a bastard. The result: This guy and I get along reasonably well now.

THAT’S the kind of outcome that makes me think to myself, I win, I win.


  1. Your example seems to be unanalogous to the situation I’m describing. In yours the coworker was wronged and was dealing with it inappropriately. In my story, Beth was interrupting a group presentation to argue her pet politics, thus being rude to my group, and had done it to all the other groups, as well. She was disrupting the class and wasting everyone’s time.

  2. She doesn’t want to get along with me, because I don’t believe that religion should be outlawed and that the elderly should be killed as useless baggage on the young and strong. She is only willing to be friends with those who agree with her.

It would be nice to reach an accord with your enemies, I agree. But that was not a possibility in my situation. Beth wanted to debate with the teacher, I wanted to finish our presentation. I’m not sure what you would have done in my place.


John, those of us who watch tv sitcoms know that you and Beth are eventually getting married. It’s inevitable. Have a nice weekend mulling that over.


(ok, extremely funny.)

Ah, good, a sense of humor. I’m sorry for using you as a straight man but I just couldn’t resist bashing sitcoms, they being such a hard target to hit.

I think you did fine. An icily polite response has served me far better over the years that trying to argue with those who either put up mental road blocks, or who are just stupid. The former usually get the point, the latter just get confused.

~tomorrow is promised to no one~

Hi John,

I probably would have done exactly the same thing you did.

I had this neighbor, Jane. She was really fucked up. Someone stole the spoiler thing off the back of her Honda and she wanted to park her car in my garage. I said no because at the time all my sisters stuff was in there waiting for the Navy to pick it up and ship it to her in Iceland. Jane said okay but the very next day she started to park her car an inch away from mine. I mean, an inch. She would back up until she tapped my car and then pull slightly forward.

I didn’t really notice this until my friend cut her hand and I was going to rush her to the hospital but I couldn’t get my car out. The guy behind me had parked a normal 6 or so inches away. But with her so close I couldn’t get out. I ran to her door and asked her to move. She told me to fuck off. I was appalled. I told her what was going on (she was a nurse) and she again told me to fuck off and that I should have let her park in my garage. I finally got the other guy to move his car and all turned out well. But it really scared me.

I moved all the stuff out of the garage so I could park my car there and not have to get involved with her and her problem. She didn’t relent. Then she started making rude comments to me whenever she saw me in my yard (4’ chain link fence). It got so silly and high-school like that I was very reluctant to work in the yard. Whenever I went out she would be there within minutes. It was insane. It was all over the fact that I wouldn’t let her park HER car in MY garage.

But where I really felt superior to her was after the haranguing of her and her friends. I was working in my yard, minding my own business and she not only came out to yell things at me but invited over several friends to join her in this moronic activity. I mean, she was 45 and her friends were all above the age of 35. It was unbelievable. I ignored them as best I could. It went on the entire day. I would have bagged the day but I had to get those plants into the ground. Anyway, the very next day I got some of her mail. Some very important mail. A box of checks and a credit card. I sat with these in my hand for several minutes. But I am an adult. I walked over toward her house and she was at her mail box with one of the people who had been rude to me, for no reason, the day before. When he saw me walking up he said, oh wow, here it comes. I handed her her mail and said, this came to me by mistake. I walked away.

I won.

While I respect all of ya’ll that “turn the other cheek”, it seems to me that the best recourse is to meet the situation head-on.

Now that office worker will assume that if he comes to you and throws a tantrum, you’ll do all the work for him, and let him aviod the hassle.

Maybe if you had address the issue when it first came up, it wouldn’t have gone so far. You can’t park on your own street now because of this woman?..You’re unwilling to work in your yard because of her?

It seems (IMO) that these are just the high-school bullies all grown up. I always found that the best way to get rid of a bully is to confront him. Sure it may be a pain in the ass, and something you’d have to nerve yourself up for. But then it’s done…resolved…one way or the other. That seems better to me than letting something drag out over a period of time, and escalate into something more seriouse.

“Love thine enemies…it really pisses them off.”

Atrael – I did address the issue when it came up. She told me to fuck off. That was her answer to everything. I could park on the street but then I couldn’t get my car out. I tried repeatedly to work this out like an adult; she told me to fuck off.

Yes, she was a bully that never grew up. She made working in my yard a pain in the ass; she didn’t stop me from doing so. I ignored her. Then I put in a 6 foot fence. Once she realized I would not play this game or escalate it further she finally moved. Again, I won. By being an adult. By trying to work it out and then walking away when it was clear all she wanted to do was fight. Yes, confronting someone is a good idea but if the person clearly has major social problems I think I did the only rational thing.


Yo Byz!

I would have been scared shitless if I were you! Oh man… probably crying while doing my yard work, too. That would dredge up too many elementary school memories for me.

I would have done exactly what you did, but out of weakness instead of strength. Irrational people scare me.

You go girl!

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, dogs are from Pluto.