One of the songs from David Gilmour’s 1984 Album About Face was titled “You Know I’m Right.” I enjoyed the entire album by Pink Floyd’s vocalist and (extraordinary) guitarist, starting with the album title which seemed so clever in its dual meanings. But, the lyrics of this song were particularly compelling to think about how some people interact with constant fighting and feuding. The last verse is:
“It’s just a matter of opinions
You know you keep both in sight
Why should you bother with the other side
When you know yours is right.”
I do not know about whom the song was written, but Pink Floyd fans probably have some ideas that it may have been another member of the band. Maybe it was about an intimate relationship, who knows? In any event, I’ve thought about it in the context of the band, as a type of working partnership. (Pink Floyd fans know the band’s partnership was fractured by 1984.) In that I’ve been part of a working partnership with my spouse for well over 20 years, I have thought of that song as an anthesis of what works in such a scenario. Though Melissa is the majority shareholder for Magnus, which makes her “the boss,” even though she is in charge, she (usually) operates in a more open minded fashion than described in this song. And, I’d suggest that it is impossible for a personal, or working relationship, much less a dual relationship, to succeed if either party operates in a “You know I’m right” mode all of the time. There are times when she loves to hear “You are right” or “You are right, dear,” but even she will admit that my opinions or the opinions of others are often helpful to getting the job done!
I am not sure whether this statement, “Either you are wrong or I am right” was aimed at a particular person, nor do I know whether it was intended to be interpreted in a tongue in cheek manner. I am certain, however, that it made a lasting impression on David because he frequently quotes it to me. I have never encountered anyone who enjoys being wrong or who enjoys mistakes being pointed out. These days, it is easy to verify factual information with a mere click of a computer button or flick of a finger across the screen of a smart phone. In the “olden days” fact checking was much more involved and sometimes entailed a drive to the library. I am a person who thrives on data, facts, and figures. I take copious notes about things many people barely attend to and I maintain my calendar with detailed information about daily events. In addition, I keep both my business and personal calendars from years past, such that I have little difficulty recounting what happened on a certain date, at a certain time. I pride myself on my accuracy, my memory, and my detail orientation. David learned, long ago, that these traits, in combination, usually mean I am confident in my accuracy on topics about which I am familiar and/or knowledgeable. It can be rather frustrating to debate with me about what happened, when it happened, and why it happened. In addition, I love doing research, including looking things up anytime I need to verify something or refresh my memory about a particular event. All of these things being said, however, there are many times when I am wrong! For example, when learning the bass line on a song recently, I incorrectly informed by bass guitar teacher the song was recorded in Philadelphia and that it had the “Philadelphia soul sound.” Just to be sure, I looked it up and boy, was I wrong! The song was recorded in Oakland, California, a great distance from Philadelphia! I quickly informed my teacher of my mistake, thereby taking ownership of it. Taking ownership of one’s mistakes is, in my opinion, equally important as being right about something. It serves no one’s interests to justify an error, cover up one’s mistakes, etc., particularly when other people are relying on the information. Being right is great, and often easy, but admitting mistakes takes courage.