I have to admit that in certain circumstances, my knee-jerk reaction is to disagree with whatever certain persons say.
Not that I blurt out the first argument that comes to my head. Oh no! Those things that stir me to instant, automatic rebellion also tend to stir my brain from its usual sluggish torpor into a concentrated activity that sends it prowling around the statement in question, sniffing out the merest crack or pinhole through which to skewer it to the heart.
It isn’t that I don’t suffer fools – provided they’re harmless fools. What I don’t suffer is pompous, pretentious, patronising, self-satisfied or self-righteous gits who assume they can tell me what to do, say, think or believe, and even worse, assume that I will be impressed and duly grateful.
However having been brought up to be respectful and unfailingly polite, I find it impossible to tell them to go **** themselves, tempting as it may be. It would also, I think, be counterproductive, given that people of this ilk have armour-plated egos expert at flicking off such minor irritations and adding the perpetrator to their list of Idiots I have known.
Sometimes I have to be satisfied with A Look. You know the sort: a laser beam of contempt possibly tinged with pity. It can be reasonably effective in causing discomfort, and will at least stop them trying again. But what these people fail to realise is that I am not as stupid as I might look. I learned the art of logical argument at my parents’ knee, and I have not forgotten it. Or perhaps it’s genetic. There have been lawyers and academics in my family for at least four generations, and the ability to pick holes in an argument has not passed me by.
Fortunately for us all, the sorts of people who provoke this reaction rarely come my way.
But do not underestimate grey-haired old ladies.