Home
I spend a lot of time trying to concoct arguments that are so persuasive that even a hardcore unreachable will say, "Golly. Not only was I wrong, but probably stupid as well, and perhaps a little bit insane. I now adopt your viewpoint as my own. Would you like a bite of my sandwich?"

My favorite fantasy in this genre is imagining what I could say to a kid that would make him think he should substitute his own judgment for mine. My fantasy argument goes like this:Kid: Can I climb on the roof?


Me: No. You'd get hurt.

Kid: I'll be careful. And my friend Brian climbs on his roof all the time. He never falls off.

Now at this point you realize that regular reasoning isn't going to win the day. You have to resort to the "Because I said so" fall-back, but while effective, that never seems like a clean win to me. To the kid it appears you don't have a good reason and you're just being an ass about it. That's why I fantasize about the rest of the discussion going this way:

Me: Do you know who invented the roof?

Kid: No.

Me: It wasn't a kid. In fact, nothing important has ever been invented by a kid. Do you know why that is?

Kid: I don't care.

Me: It's because your brain won't be fully developed until sometime in your twenties.

Kid: I'm not listening TRA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!!

Me: You don't understand why you can't go on the roof because your brain isn't developed enough to understand the risk involved.

Kid: You suck. I hate you.

Me: I'll make you a deal. If you can find anything in this house that was invented by a kid, I'll admit that kids know as much as adults and you can climb on the roof. Use my computer, which incidentally was invented by adults. Go nuts.

(seven hours later)

Kid: Golly. Not only was I wrong, but probably stupid as well, and perhaps a little bit insane. I now adopt your viewpoint as my own. Would you like a bite of my sandwich?

Me: Thanks, but the last time you washed your hands was in amniotic fluid.

 
Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +19
  • Print
  • Share
  • Share:

Comments

Sort By:
Aug 10, 2008
My mother had an amusing reverse logic of sorts that (when I was a kid), had me stymied for years.
If I made a request (as a kid, most likely a demand...), and she would say No, I would predictably ask Why?
Instead of your innovative position, which she could have used: "You don't understand why you can't [do/have that], because your brain isn't developed enough to understand why you can't [do/have that]:" she would simply say the kid-mind-stopping: "If I said 'Yes,' would you ask 'Why'?"
Understandably my brain wasn't developed enough to understand the actual debatable response would be if she said yes, we'd clearly be on th'same page, but as a kid I never really had a response to her calm, baffling reply.
 
 
Aug 2, 2008
Your strategy is actually accidentally brilliant.

Kids have invented all kinds of things. But... and this is an important but...if the kid actually can recognize the historical significance of young people he's probably sufficiently educated and intelligent to accurately assess the risks of running around on the roof.

Therefore if the kid is an idiot he won't be able to solve the riddle. If he isn't an idiot then he can do as he pleases.

 
 
Jul 30, 2008
Kid: "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Blaise Pascal..."
 
 
Jul 29, 2008
this is a fantasy for you?
 
 
Jul 29, 2008
As a student going into his fourth year of electrical engineering I can still say that my housemates and I still thoroughly enjoy running around the roof like we did when we were kids. The only difference is that beer is often involved now.
 
 
Jul 29, 2008
just arguing for the fun: could we consider Bill Gates was still a teen when in early 75 he drawn with paul Allen the first version of its basic interpreter?
 
 
Jul 29, 2008
Woo I'm a huge huge fan :) I survived in the corporate world because of Dilbert and the Way of the Weasl!!!!

Ook, I will try to avoid gushing, um, more gushing :D ...

Well you convinced the kid??? I dunno "you suck" was a pretty powerful argument he advanced. I don't see a convincing retort to that??? (Hint: "No YOU suck!")
 
 
Jul 29, 2008
My parents never let me get on the roof, either, so I climbed up there everytime they left me alone.

Try insisting he go up on the roof as much as possible, and it will no longer be an urge for him.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
Nice landing!!! I need oxygen!!!
 
 
Jul 28, 2008
And even then amniotic fluid is just fetus-pee.
But that's ok, because the fetus drinks it, too.
 
 
Jul 28, 2008
You need not enter or win an argument with children.
All you have to do is convince them to do things your way.
The difference is illustrated by the following story

"
According to a news report, a certain school in Garden
City, MI was recently faced with a unique problem.

A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use
lipstick and would put it on in the wash room.

That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they
would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of
little lip prints.

Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the
next day the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be
done. He called all the girls to the washroom and met them
there with the maintenance man.

He explained that all these lip prints were causing a major
problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every
night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the
mirrors, he asked the maintenance man to show the girls how
much effort was required.

He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the
toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
"
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2008
Great conversation with the kid..

Taking the first few sentences of your entry:
"I spend a lot of time trying to concoct arguments that are so persuasive that even a !$%*!$%* unreachable will say, "Golly. Not only was I wrong, but probably stupid as well, and perhaps a little bit insane. I now adopt your viewpoint as my own"

Have you frankly ever managed to do that? With anybody? Your new dog doesn't count as 'anybody'.

I find that one has much greater results (with kids, bosses .. and Ladies!!) with the following ammendments:
"I spend a lot of time trying to concoct arguments that are so persuasive that.. they will make me adopt the standpoint of the other person".

I don't say it's "right", but it's an approach with great return on investment. For all of the young proud single gentlemen out there, that would mean a HUGE return on investment.. :) Well if you are married, it avoids also a lot of trouble.

any views? I love great returns on investments..

P-A
http://devrouze.blogspot.com/
 
 
Jul 28, 2008
Help Wanted

I have a girlfriend who wants to marry me because I understand what she likes!!!
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2008
The snowboard was invented by a 12-year-old in 1965. Coincidentally, on page 9 of Issue 98 of MAD Magazine (1965) there's an article on surfing in which "snow surfing" is introduced as an alternative for surfers who can't get enough surfing in. If your kid claims that snowboarding was invented by a kid, you can nail the little SOB on a technicality. Punk hair styles were invented in 1865 by another cartoonist, parodying another fad.
 
 
Jul 28, 2008
not sure a kid would spends that long on a PC unless there was a game (created by adults) that kept their attention.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2008
I never asked, because I knew what the answer would be. I just did it. Me and my sisters used to sunbath on the roof. I don't do it anymore.
 
 
Jul 28, 2008
Richard Feynman was repairing transistor radios and performing calculus problems by the time he was six. But it sort of is a fortunate thing though because his dad was reading stuff to him out of the thesauris for bed time stories and such. Of course, any kid nowadays can read anything on Wikipedia nowadays, or have their parents print stuff off and then read it to them for a bedtime story.

Quantum's Blog: www.irrationaltheorist.blogspot.com
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2008
Philo Farnsworth invented the image dissector, the first all-electronic television camera, when he was 14. So there!
 
 
Jul 28, 2008
By not letting him do it, no matter how reasonable your answer, you've dramatically increased the urge for him to get up on the roof.

Amateurs shouldn't try parenting.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 28, 2008
it looks like falconchris has proved the possibility of hilarious success with this method
 
 
 
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog