I was recently criticized for the creation of my “I told you so” calendar. It was described as mean, petty and hyper competitive.
I can understand this perception, and while there may be a smidgen of truth to these claims, the real reason for the existence of my “I told you so” calendar is simple accountability.
As a person who thrives on rhetoric and argumentation, I encounter people on an almost daily basis who are willing to toss around absurd notions, make unlikely predictions and offer ridiculous assurances in order to make a point or win an argument. Knowing full well that their ideas cannot be proven wrong until some point in the distant future, these people have the freedom to say whatever they hell they want to gain an edge. In the face of logic and reason, these people often respond with emotion, desperation and lunacy.
Yet they routinely get away with their flawed rhetoric because in the everyday exchange of ideas and opinions, there is no accountability. People are allowed to say almost anything they want in order to win they day, knowing full well that no one is fact-checking their absurdity.
A perfect example of this occurred for me in the realm of parenting. Prior to the birth of my children, I was assured by many people that I would someday suffer the same parental indignities that they were on an everyday basis.
My children would be sleeping in my bed off and on until they were at least three years old.
I would never again see the interior of a movie theater.
I wouldn’t sleep well for at least five years.
My days of attending Patriots games would swiftly come to an end with the birth of my children.
These parental doomsayers seemed to thrive on the chance to cast as many negative aspersions as possible, and each time I tried to refute their claims, I was greeted with responses like, “You’re not a parent yet, so you don’t understand” and “You’re so naïve” and “You just wait and see.”
It was easy for these parents to make these claims. They were admittedly much more experienced with parenting than me, but more importantly, they were not burdened by accountability. My babies were months and years away from existing, so these naysayers possessed the freedom to say whatever they wanted. There was no mechanism to reengage in this debate once these naysayers had been prove wrong.
The “I told you so” calendar serves that purpose. It adds a layer of fact-checking and accountability to discourse that would otherwise be absent. It prevents someone from supporting their opinion with flawed logic or making an unlikely and oftentimes ridiculous prediction without the possibility that someone may someday highlight their inaccuracy and stupidity. It serves as balance to the bravado and arrogance of those who believe that their future view of the world is right and just at all times.
And yes, it may seem mean and petty at times, and it might also serve my competitive nature, but these are merely byproducts of a system that is designed to add accountability to the occasional absurdity of daily discourse.
It’s too easy to spout nonsense in today’s world in order to win an argument or at least extract yourself from an debate that you are losing.
This is the true purpose of the “I told you so” calendar.