Beware of a Faulty First Assumption
“When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.”
– Oscar Wilde
Ahhh…the pitfalls of making a faulty first assumption.
Here’s what happened: I woke up one morning last week to find the throw rug in the kitchen rather wet.
I immediately assumed my new (to me) 5 year-old Retriever, Sadie, had peed on the floor.
So I picked up the rug and gave it a quick sniff. Hmmm…didn’t smell like pee.
But what else could it be?
Now, truth be told, the rug was pretty soaked through, so if it was indeed pee, realistically the culprit would’ve had to have had a bladder the size of an elephant.
Still, it was sixty-pound Sadie who took the blame.
Why? Because my mind began rationalizing why Sadie had to be the reason behind the mystery liquid. In other words, I’d made my first assumption (pre-coffee, mind you) and then went to work coming up with evidence that would support it.
And besides, I didn’t yet have any better explanations…or at least none that posed as simple a solution as washing the rug.
Plus I knew from experience that dogs certainly do pee on the floor from time to time. But Sadie never had…
There’s always a first time, I thought.
Then I reflected back to the night before and how she’d come straight in the front door of the house from the car…so she hadn’t peed in the yard before bed!
Yes, I thought to myself…all these factors clearly add up to the logical conclusion that Sadie was the source of the rather large wet spot on the kitchen floor rug. That the evidence didn’t match the accused’ size or behaviour didn’t seem to be an issue.
And so, smugly satisfied that I’d solved the mystery, I proudly put the throw rug in the washing machine and then put the coffee on. And it wasn’t until I went to get the cream out of fridge and noticed how oddly warm the carton was, that it finally occurred to me that the liquid on the kitchen floor may indeed be connected to the fridge, which was obviously not working.
And so it was. My fridge was broken and had leaked; my dog’s normal-sized bladder was functioning just fine.
My point in all this?
When we make a faulty first assumption, we tend to have to expend an awful lot of valuable time and energy coming up with all sorts of subsequent rationalizations that serve to reinforce our original – but incorrect – assumption. For even when there is evidence to the contrary, our minds love to be right…even when we’re wrong.
Especially when we’re wrong 🙂
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.