Monday, September 26, 2016

Not that debate, another one

In case you missed it Monday night, there was a presidential debate, which reminded me of my own debating experience, which triggered this slice.

Twenty-five years ago, I spent a gap year as an exchange student in England. (It wasn't called a gap year at the time, but study-abroad.) Hindsight tells me I went into that experience as a callow fellow. So, I embarked on the adventure with clear intentions to shake off my callowness by saying yes to most invitations that came my way.

Thanks to that casual calculus, I found myself standing in front of a crowded lecture hall one month after I arrived in 'England's green and pleasant land.' The occasion was the weekly convening of my school's debating society. The society invited; I accepted. Thus, I was tapped to take the con side, arguing against the following claim: "The world would be a better place if America had not been discovered."

The audience was politely hostile; I was still plenty callow. Let's cut to the chase: Charged with defending my country's place on the planet, I failed.

Then, as now, the world kept spinning. Plenty of work remained to do.

9 comments:

  1. Sooooo, like Trump, you arrived unprepared...and proud of it! We all have some failures in our closets, but you're brave enough to admit it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guilty as charged re: preparation. I'm unpacking my definition of callow to include ignorant of one's own ignorance, largely unprepared to prepare well.

      Delete
  2. There is much work to do. I like this slice! I have so much to think about now. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am watching the debate late and ever hopeful that the world as we know it will keep spinning come November. I spent a year at uni in England and felt I was often defending the same side as yours (from my science lecturer in particular who blamed his typing errors on "that darn American typewriter, you can't rust those Americans" was his frequent refrain).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your science lecturer sounds bit like one of my English teachers. However, he usually supplemented comments like the one you shared with a twinkle in his eye and twisty grin.

      Delete
  4. But you are here to tell your honest story Brian. A lesson learned :)
    Bonnie K

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That may be the best definition of work I've heard in a long time: "Tell your honest story." Thanks for the lift, Bonnie.

      Delete
  5. Brian, this reminded me of Jim Carrey's Yes, Man. I'm sorry I chuckled at the old callow you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love the timeliness of the post--dare we draw parallels. Dare we!
    Also dare we use more debates in our teaching--we should--immense learning experience. (p.s. appreciate the honesty) #sunchatbloggers
    I recall a debate I did 27 years ago--so emotionally engaged--still remember the arguments! Now that's a history teacher...

    ReplyDelete