My cousin was recently telling me about the prank calls she and some of her friends make to a guy who was a jerk to one of the friends. I admit, I was in a juvenile humor that day, and it was hilarious! We giggled like teenagers over the story, then she offered her friends’ “services” in case I thought my soon-to-be-ex should receive such calls. I admit, that idea made me giggle too. But I told her no.
“Why?” she wanted to know, saying she thought I should get some sort of “revenge.”
“Ah, but the best revenge is to live well,” I told her.
But I don’t want to live well for the sake of “revenge” or for making someone else feel bad, or so I can “flaunt” my happiness. That would make it all very hollow. I don’t want revenge. I just want to be able to live well for the sake of life itself. There are days when I feel it is the greatest of all possible gifts just to be alive, and I don’t want to squander that. So I want to live well.
I competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate at a few tournaments in college. The format is fairly simple: the Affirmative presents a case, the Negative rebuts, the Affirmative rebuts the rebuttal and restates the case, the Negative rebuts again, and the Affirmative states a conclusion. One key thing to remember in a debate is that if your opponent makes a point and you fail to address it in your next turn, you concede the point. This makes it so that the Affirmative presenter has a better chance to conclude strongly; after all, they get the last word in the discussion. (Strangely, I always did better when I was assigned to the Negative presentation.)
Real life is not like debate; there are no such organized rules, and the person who gets the last word is not most likely to “win.” In real life, it doesn’t matter who gets the last word. It doesn’t matter in the slightest. What matters is who gets the best word.
I know what is true from my perspective, and I know what I strongly believe. This truth I carry as a shield. Is my word the best word? That I can’t say. But I believe it to be true, and that means I don’t need the last word at all.