Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Being Wrong

I tried to look up one of my previous posts, one I knew I wrote sometime, but alas cannot find, about Being Wrong. I can't find it because evidently, and this surprises me, I never actually wrote it. This is surprising due to the fact that I am Wrong, and think often about how I am Wrong, and kvetch and worry about said Wrongness a lot - but I hardly ever say it out loud.

Not that I don't try to admit it and make amends, but if I'm thinking it then surely everyone "knows" that I have acknowledged it - don't they?

Yeah, I don't buy it either. One of the things Margaret has a difficult time with is telling Honey about the things she knows for fear of Being Wrong. This fear must be universal, but it plays out in so many ways that it is really hard to pin bad behavior on this fear. It is a driving force in her character though, so I pay attention to how people react to Being Wrong. Sometimes it is exquisitely painful to watch.

Much of medicine is practiced based on fear of Being Wrong. I know, I know that Triage nurses know what's wrong with a patient within 5 minutes as do the doctors who see them next. But for fear of Being Wrong (and a little thing called avoidance of distasteful consequence), we do a bunch of tests and generally come up with the first assumption. Of course, it really isn't quite that simple, and oh yeah, sometimes we are soooo wrong, but wouldn't medicine be much more efficient if we could go with what we knew?

But what if we are Wrong?

The risk, the cost is just too high. No one in medicine thinks for a moment that we should just go with what skilled clinicians know to be true. The cost of Being Wrong is not worth it.

How many things, right now, would the cost of Being Wrong not really be too high?

I don't have an answer. It is just a question. Actually, it is a completely terrible sentence, but I'm leaving it because it's Wrong. And the cost is . . . some of you think I'm a toad.

Oh the horror!

Wait . . . I . . . I think I'm okay.

My fear of being wrong in my writing has much to do with real life fears - Being Wrong and making something bad happen, fear of no one reading all the words I took years and years to write, fear of zombies.

Nurses feel this stomach dropping fear of Wrongness in a whole different dimension than most people - if we are Wrong patients can DIE! That is fear let me tell ya. So I don't mean to equate fear of Being Wrong as a writer to fear of Being Wrong in medicine - it is different.

It's just that . . . you know . . . in writing and in character is much more interesting and believable if the writer has experienced it first hand. And so I practice being, you know (wrong).

I've been excellent at it lately. Home, work, the bank (oh that was baaad). What has struck me as funny even though I detest Being Wrong is how wrong is one of the things that doesn't improve with practice. I find it impossible to believe that I could be More Wrong, or somehow do it better even though I've given it my best shot.

So I would really like to stop Being Wrong as I have not improved at it even with all the practice I've had. Oh, if it were only this easy.


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