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  • Or, Sailing the Partisan-ship
    Or, Responding to the Sentence: Dolphins Are Intelligent and We Eat Them

    Part One: Know Where Your Republican Is (Then Walk Away)

    We all have one, a republican in our lives. Mine resides in my workplace, in the adjoining office, so close I hear him eat.

    The best method to cope with any conversation with a republican is to look quizzical and walk away.

    Variation One: Look quizzical, say, “Hmm” and walk away.
    Variation Two: Look quizzical, say, “Really? I hadn't heard that,” and walk away.

    You’ll always know when it’s time to look quizzical and walk away because you’ll be forced to fight off one of three fits: 1) a fit of hysterical laughter, 2) a fit of violence, or 3) a fit of righteous indignation. It’s often best to avoid succumbing to any of these blow ups when face to face with your republican.

    For clarification, here is a recent “righteous indignation” example from my life; please note my nearly overwhelming temptation to launch into a history lesson about a topic I hardly understood.

    Me: “Well, I thought [Hugo Chavez] was democratically elected.”
    Republican: “No, he took power in a coup d’état.”
    Me: “Really? I hadn't heard that.” Then, I walked away.

    In this second example, you’ll see that sometimes the topics are not political, but the skills remain the same. Don’t be caught off guard!

    Me: “I’d be upset to find out I’ve eaten horse. Horses seem much more intelligent than cows."
    Republican: "Pigs are intelligent and we eat them. Dolphins are intelligent and we eat them. I wouldn't mind eating a horse or a dog. Lots of people do that."
    Me: "We don’t eat dolphins; that’s illegal."
    Republican: "Sure, we do, but they call it something else. Pigs are called pork when we eat them and dolphins are called Mahi-Mahi. I like Mahi-Mahi."
    Me, looking quizzical: “Hmm, I’m pretty sure Mahi-Mahi is a fish, hmm.”
    Republican: “No, it’s dolphin.” Then, I walked away.

    Whew, I almost missed my window to walk away, but I grabbed the bathroom key and ran out of the offices. Though effective, don’t feel you need a ruse like the hint that you suddenly got struck with diarrhea and have to go, go, go. It’s okay to just walk away with the quizzical look on your face.

    Part Two: What Happens When You Don’t Walk Away

    If you do choose to speak, usually it’s all about grabbing the topic from the right end. But beware, this can be dangerous.

    It reminds me of the time my uncle came by with my cousins and a baby alligator. Ah, Cajuns. The first thing his alligator did was escape from its box and run under his station wagon. It had an open mouth and a lot of sharp teeth. We kids surrounded the car to catch it, but my uncle kept yelling, “Don’t try to grab it, you’ll lose a finger.”

    We cousins knew our Uncle Fred was missing three fingers, so this was no idle threat.

    Moral: Many people fall into the trap of trying to use facts, science, history, or common sense in these conversations. This is like crawling under the car and trying to grab the alligator with your bare hands. Remember, alligators will never respond to logic and your republican won’t either.

    Part Three: When All Else Fails, Compromise and Be Happy About It

    Though you can’t reason with an alligator…you can appreciate, admire, and even love it. The same goes for your republican.

    Last christmas I gave my republican homemade butterball cookies and he gave me a book on surviving the end of the world. It’s all about give and take.

    The following is a final example from my life. (This is where the snarky part of the story ends and the caring part starts, really the only redeeming part of this tale.)

    Not long ago I celebrated my birthday. On that day I had one gift to open. It was wrapped in silver paper and a bow. Inside was something I would have always wanted if only I’d known it existed, oh joy, a book titled, “A Sea of Words, Third Edition, A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian.”

    This gift wasn't from a family member or friend…it was from my republican and it was an ultimate tribute to my nerdiness and I really love it, no joke.

    Since he gave me this book, we share a nautical term each day. Today’s term is Clap On - To add on, as in more sail or more hands on a line (possibly comes from the Old Norse klappan, “to act quickly”). To apply oneself with energy to a task.

    Then, we close this ritual by each trying to use the word in a sentence.

    In just goes to show you, though your alligator will never understand you…never…there are times, deeply satisfying times, when your republican will! In the meantime, clap on!

    Oh, and please don’t worry about me…I get plenty of presents…everyone was just a bit disorganized and late this year.
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