Hello! Uncle Dale back again. Now, I realized it’s been a while since I wrote a Note from Uncle Dale, but a conversation I had yesterday inspired me. It’s been long enough. Grin.
I will admit, I have been known to argue every now and again (it’s almost always “now” and frequently “again”). I am an advocate at heart. The lovely and talented Aunt SuperTam will tell you that I long ago blurred the line between arguing professionally and recreationally. She is probably right (and as Aunt SuperTam says, when I say probably I mean definitely).
So a group of my students happened upon me in an empty hallway and caught the very end of an overly polite discussion between myself and opposing counsel in a case I am working on.
The only thing the students heard was “of course that’s a threat to sue your client, if that was not clear I must have said it incorrectly.” I pointed the students back in the direction from which they came with a look that said “can you find another route, kinda busy here?” They walked away and I finished my conversation.
Before class I ran into a couple of them and one said “I have finally heard a legendary “Mean Dale Argument” for myself.
I replied, “Oh, that was nothing. When it comes to argument I have a very well established tool for measuring what is legendary. It’s called ‘The O’Hara Scale.'”
What is the O’Hara Scale you ask?
It’s kinda like The Scoville Scale (measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers) but it sets the parameters for what is an argument and what is a legendary argument.
Here’s is how I came up with it.
Back in the 1990s Stephen King was overseeing the filming of a mini-series version of his novel “The Stand” near where I live. If you are not familiar with The Stand there is a character who is Deaf, a main character mind you, named Nick Andros. This was at the beginning of the movement to have Deaf characters played by Deaf actors (Anthony Natale would have been perfect… well maybe he was a little young at the time. But I digress).
Locally there lived a mother of Deaf children named Bronwyn O’Hara.
I remember quite clearly how vocal she was on the issue. It was a gateway for her own children to see that people who are Deaf can do anything and, well, hearing playing Deaf is just wrong. It’s the same discussion we are still having about white actors playing people of color or whitewashing roles in movies; ‘playing Deaf’ is just wrong.
When they announced that Nick Andros would be played by Rob Lowe it caused a great amount of upset here. None more openly than Bronwyn O’Hara.
Now here is where we get to rumor and conjecture. There is a possibly apocryphal story that Bronwyn, after much… we will call it dialogue or persuasion, got an audience with Stephen King at a group of trailers set up to support the production near our local zoo. Legend has it that it got heated. Very very heated.
Like I said, that was the story at the time. But I tend to believe it (if it’s not true Bronwyn I don’t want to know-I like the legend), the reason I believe it is that while Rob Lowe still played the role of Nick Andros, Bronwyn appears to have gotten to Mr. King. She stuck in his mind. How do I know?
While Mr. King was overseeing the production of The Stand he was writing a novel titled “Rose Madder.”
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you page 418 of the Stephen King novel Rose Madder!
Yes, Bronwyn’s rhetoric was so skilled that he called her “wonderful,” but so upsetting that he also KILLED HER OFF with a brain aneurysm! Seriously, you have to love the symbolism!!!
I will have achieved legendary argument status when and only when my opponent’s sole recourse and response is to write a novel wherein he or she says nice things about me… and then kills me off!
That is the top of the O’Hara Scale.