Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rubber and Glue

"I'm rubber and you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you..."

I remember using that comeback on folks during my younger years. It was a favorite weapon on the playground that was always a lot easier to wield than my fists. Of course, looking back I can see how wack and trite my response was, but at the time, it seemed like the perfect zinger.

Rubber and glue.

Some of my conversations with folks remind me of that rubber and glue insult. Whether it be talks about race, religion or love, it seems like a lot of folks just let my thoughts bounce off of them. It doesn't matter how well I word my arguments, or how tight my logic may be, some folks will always be rubber.

I told a friend of mine recently, that you can always identify rubber folks by how they deal with challenges to their assertions. If you refute their comments, instead of them acknowledging that they were wrong, they just throw out another false assertion and challenge you to debunk it. In fact, they will always have lies and half-truths to lob at you. Worst of all, even if you prove every assertion false, they will use those same arguments with someone else because they figure that person won't be smart enough to prove them wrong.

Eventually, rubber folks bog you down. They make you want to avoid heated discussion because it seems like a no-win situation. I've met rubber folks on the job, in school and even in relationships. At some point, their rubber mentalities act as a sort of glue that gets you stuck in a rut. If you're not careful, rubber folks can make you a pretty sucky person to be around.

There are many approaches to combating people with a rubber mentality, and all of us know what works best for our personality. For me, I use a combination of ignoring folks and forcing them to acknowledge my rhetorical victories. I've decided that if someone won't acknowledge when I've won an argument, then I'll ignore them until they do. It's not always satisfying, but it's typically less stressful.

Whatever makes the rubber hit the road...



the uppity negro said...

You sound stubborn as hell Big Man.

It'd be interesting having a face to face convo with you. I'm not convinced ignoring someone is the best answer to p2p relationship. That's almost the absolute insult: denying someone person to person contact.

Deacon Blue said...

Can't imagine what inspired this post.


The "I'm rubber and you're glue" thing never appealed to me as a kid. Even then, it seemed too trite somehow (of course, I manged to find plenty of other childishly trite things to latch on to).

But it got lobbed AT me often enough.

Lolo said...

This amuses me in the context of Obama's Special Olympics gaffe this week. It's as though some of the folks who hate him are just crazed with the how nothing seems to stick to him. Does anyone recall how Reagan was the Teflon Man? I do and am taking a bit of satisfaction right now.

Also, before anyone gets twisted and scolds me about this ~ yes, it was a gaffe, it was thoughtless and came across as wrong BUT the diff is that the man pretty much IMMEDIATELY recognised and apologised and owned it. That is what a grownup does and ohmygod am I once again relieved to have an actual adult running things.

Dave said...

Big Man, you're getting bogged down by your very approach. Conversations aren't chess matches to be won and lost by strategy and tactics. You're making it all out to be some sort of struggle. Remember JC, he never browbeat, he just stated what he believed, worked it out for himself and those around him. When it becomes a competition, you've made someone your enemy, and then you're as much "rubber" as they are. I mean how can you be seriously open-minded towards the opinions of someone you've filed into the "enemy" box?

Let it flow like water, brother. Absorb the ideas of others without becoming them, and pass them along without forcing.

Big Man said...


Thanks for that comment. I'm going to think hard about what you said because i have a tendency to run discussion into contests.

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