Wednesday, November 24, 2010

At dinner tonight with my parents, a famous local criminal case came up in conversation.  My dad insisted that the case had resulted in a particular outcome, but I assured him he was incorrect.  He persisted in his assertion until my mom spoke up and said that no, my dad was wrong.  My dad responded by conceding he must be misremembering something because the expert said so.  He was referring to my mom as the expert.  And my mom was quite willing to accept the title of expert.

Umm.  Do these people know what I do for a living?  My mom is a very lovely, smart, well-informed woman and she was, in fact, correct, as evidenced by the fact that she was agreeing with me.  And I acknowledge that she has a long history of activism on criminal justice matters, most notably in opposition to the death penalty.  So she really does know her stuff and my dad is right to defer to her superior knowledge.  But I have to pull a little rank here; he should have deferred to my even greater knowledge long before Mom ever spoke up!  Because on matters pertaining to Kansas criminal law, I actually AM an expert! 

The fact that this irked me as much as it did suggests that I might have some unresolved issues from my childhood relating to my dad not taking my word for things on subjects that he should have trusted I knew about.


Transplanted Lawyer said...

Two things going on here -- first, your dad heard something that for some reason pleased or at least resonated with him, and the fact that what he had heard was not actually true was an inconvenient detail that could be disregard in favor of the mythic pleasure derived from his version of the story.

Second, of course, is that if your father accepts you as an expert with years of actual, hands-on work in a field, that means you're all grown up and he's no longer the father of an adorable little girl but rather that he's old with an adult daughter. Again, the actual truth of the situation isn't as important as the mythic, emotional resonance of a pleasing factual construct.

...But you knew all that already. Denial: not just a river in Egypt.

mellancollyeyes said...

Isn't that great? My dad called me to ask me if my cousin should hire a "real attorney" when he got charged w/ a crime. And when my step-dad got arrested for a DWI and was asked if he wanted to contact an attorney, he told the cop HE DIDN'T KNOW ANY. Sigh...parents just don't understand.

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