DAILY PROMPT: WITH OR WITHOUT YOU
Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.
I could probably come up with more palatable reasons – I see both sides, I’m aware of the pitfalls – but the truth is, I don’t have the guts to issue ultimatums. Well, except for the obvious ones like tidy your room or there’ll be no TV tonight.
Before you go throwing ultimatums around, you have to be pretty sure you can accept the outcome. Either you’ll be told to go fly a kite – and when you think about it, is solo kite-flying really your thing – or you’ll have coerced someone into doing something they don’t want to do, which rarely results in joy and happiness all round.
Lines in the sand, of course, are an entirely different matter. Lines in the sand move. They get blurred by wind and washed away by the tide. They have to be redrawn. This makes them more flexible, but also more open to manipulation and downright cheating. Pollies are keen on lines in the sand for obvious reasons.
And as for the gauntlets… Gauntlet throwing was a precursor to a duel. No old tomatoes there, just a good clean fight to the death with seconds present to ensure fair play. If you were a rotten shot or a lousy swordsman, you ended up in a box, and if you won, you snuck off to far flung lands until the furore died down. Either way, it solved the problem, but the outcome was rarely felicitous.
Complexity? There may be people who live lives free of it, but I’m not one of them. Ultimatums, though, often cause more trouble than they’re worth.