That proverbial apple

If there is one statement that makes my blood boil, it’s ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’.

It’s a line trotted out when you’re having an argument and the other party wants to sting you with a very insulting barb.

It immediately brings two things into play.  One, you know the other party wants to hurt you, the other, you find yourself in an almost indefensible position.  It doesn’t matter that you are not that particular apple, it’s just one trait being used against you.

It’s cousin is, ‘you’re just like your father’, or ‘you’re just like your brother’.  You’re being reminded that you are from people who are, to a certain degree, people they do not like, and therefore know that this will give a rise.

And, quite often these people do not recognize the fact they are insulting you.  In fact, a lot of the times, words such as these are best left unsaid, but as we all know, from time to time, we say things we shouldn’t in the heat of the moment.

It gives rise to another saying ‘once you’ve said it, it’s out there, and you can’t take it back’.  One day, in the introduction to becoming a politician, it will be taught that you should think before you speak because you cannot say, ‘I didn’t say that’ when there are so many forms of recording your actual words, that they can, and will, come back to haunt you.

But, as for the current insult, because the bottom line is, it is an insult…

Yes, at times I am like my father, I have a short temper, though it doesn’t see the light of day much these days.  And, yes, I’m like my brother, that is I’m generally untidy, but that’s all.  But the barb, and the way it is delivered, means so much more.  And the barbs, the insults, do exactly what they’re intended to.

But here’s the thing.  Most of the time we are not like our forebears.

I know that I have made a conscious effort to make sure what the father did was not handed down to the son.  I am not like him, except that I look like him.  Certainly I’m better educated, because his education was cut short by the great depression, I did not go to a war like he did, so I’ve never been affected by PTSD, which we have only recently realised he is, and certainly I never handed out corporal punishment to my children like he did his.

The cycle of violence can be stopped, and was.

So, insults aside, I’m still trying to understand why anyone would want to play that card in an argument.   Perhaps it has something to do with self worth, and the desire to subjugate others to make themselves feel better.

Whatever the reason, there’s another saying,  being the bigger person.  It took me a long time to realise what that really meant.

I guess it’s all wrapped up in another saying, with age comes wisdom.

I hope so.

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