If I sometimes seems indecisive and prone to questioning my decisions, you can blame it on my mother and on the fifth year of my life, a period where, at least if my mother is to be believed, stupidity and stubbornness converged. My mother loved retelling childhood incidents that revealed just how stubborn I was.
One of the more infamous incidents happened when we ran out of oranges for our usual fresh-squeezed orange juice, my favorite part of breakfast. Since there had been orange juice every other day of my life, I was certain that there must be oranges in the refrigerator waiting to be squeezed.
So I marched to the refrigerator and found some “oranges,” small yellow oranges, as it were, but still oranges. My mother tried to convince me that those yellow oranges weren’t really oranges at all, but I wasn’t about to be deceived that easily. I knew there had to be oranges in the refrigerator. And those were them.
Mother finally squeezed one lemon and tried to make me take a drink of it, but I insisted that I wanted my usual half glass, not a drop less. She told me that if she squeezed it, I would have to drink it all.
“Fine,” I said. “Squeeze’m all.”
Given the glass, I took a swallow, puckered up a bit, insisted it tasted great and finished the whole glass, never pausing to admit I might have been wrong. I’m assuming that inwardly, at least, I was smart enough to realize that I wasn’t drinking orange juice, though I guess that’s not necessarily a given.
I do know that that incident, or at least having it retold periodically throughout my life, has made me question assumptions before rushing to make an important decision.