How to Argue with Someone Who is Older Than You
(A Satire for English Class)
When preparing for a heated debate with a stubborn parent or step-parent, an obstinate teacher, or anyone who is older than you and refuses to acknowledge your opinion, know this: you are most likely going to lose.
Alas, it is sad but true. The problem with arguing with an older human (or some similar life form) is that they will immediately have an advantage, or at least they will think they do. As high school students, we are constantly trying to prove to the alien specimen that is the adult that we are, to their disbelief, not actually as dumb as they think we are! Yet, we are unable to use phrases such as “you’re too young to understand” or “I have much more experience” or “if you talk back to me one more time, you’re grounded,” and so we are often not taken seriously before we even have a chance to get out our opening statement. Yes, it seems hopeless, but fear not; there have been many teenagers before you who have won debates that even Socrates would’ve been baffled by (especially if it involved borrowing cars). Take this advice, young Padawan, and it will surely help you on your path to becoming a master of the Force…ful argument.
The best way to win a dispute is to simply know your stuff. Today there have been battles fought, championships won, and minds mystified by debaters who had no idea what they were arguing about until ten minutes before they had to argue it! But you have a lead, because you have had countless hours to rethink that curfew, ponder that bad grade, or replay that political rant over and over and over again in your mind. So before you go out and make your stand, take this time to truly understand what you are arguing. Find every logical case, counter every rebuttal, and never give that adult a chance to tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about. If our science teachers have taught us anything (besides the fact that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell) it is that nothing leaves a speaker speechless like cold hard facts.
Another important tactic is to always act older than you are. You may have the evidence to tear a superior’s argument to shreds, but if you deliver it like a two year-old begging for another episode of Little Einsteins, the most recognition you’re going to get is a time out. Do not personally attack your opponent; do not insult them or use language that could be considered “immature.” If you still cannot fully understand this concept, watch a historical BBC drama (I recommend Downton Abbey personally). Then, go up to your adversary, stand up straight with your hands behind your back, and in the most proper voice you can muster, explain to them why you personally believe that an overnight Star Wars marathon at your boyfriend’s house while his parents are away is really not as big of a deal as they’re making it out to be. Better yet, keep the British accent. It might impress them.
Finally, if there is truly no way that you can make the elder see your side, win in another way. Convince someone else. If there is any God up there in the heavens that is watching over the young and restless of this world, thank Him that He has most likely given you two parents. If one will not listen, take up the other! There is nothing more satisfying than arguing with someone, being completely pushed away, and then having someone who was listening in tell you that they thought you were right all along. Not only are you redeemed from your defeat, but you also look so much more mature for the fact that you accepted your loss with dignity and refrained from crying and screaming! This is a huge accomplishment, one that even many adults cannot succeed in. Just look at politicians.
Yes, my friends, we are living in a difficult time. As teenagers newly blossoming, slowly coming out of our shells of dolls and racecars and then hightailing it straight into new shells of smartphones and Netflix, we are finding that there is really so much in the world to be angry about! Politics, religion, climate change, spare change, spare vehicles, vehicles that help climate change, vehicles that help your social life: all can be argued for and all can be achieved. Take this anger, use it, and your journey towards the Dark Side will be complete…
Then again, if your parent is a Jedi gone-bad with some interesting head gear, I suggest a new strategy… just take the bus.