Are you one of those fact checkers? No, I am not talking about holding a legitimate role where you scrutinize a politician’s speech or verify claims made during a Presidential debate. I am talking about the gifted individual who can whip his smartphone out during a conversation with a few of his best friends and inform his buddy that he was wrong about the year Babe Ruth played in his first Major League game. I am talking about the person who gracefully pulls her phone out of her purse to correct someone on a recipe they were discussing, confidently stating an ingredient that was missed.
So, are you a fact checker? I have to admit, I am.
Every now and then I write a blog post based on a question that is submitted to Dear Abby. Today’s lead off question was too funny not to comment on. Please take one minute to read the below:
When I read this I couldn’t help but laugh. Immediately in my head popped a vision of someone listening to every word a group is saying, hastily grabbing his phone out at every moment someone says something that is remotely questionable. At the mere utterance of a possible falsehood, the watch dog is making his thumbs go 100 MPH as he looks up the subject in question on Google. Then, after finding something that seems to contradict what the person said, the fact checker blurts out whatever it was he found online.
We all know these people, right? We still love them but sometimes they are a little too energized to prove someone wrong.
But wait one second. Didn’t I throw myself under the bus and say I was a fact checker as well? I sure did. I am not disputing my flaw at all. However, I like to think I am not at the level yet where I fact check just to make someone look bad.
Rather, I am the type of fact checker who will look into something online if the person or group I am talking with is genuinely stumped. If we are all talking about what street a building is on but we can’t seem to identify what street it actually is, I will look it up. If we are trying to figure out what football game we wanted to go to in a given season, I will look up the team schedule just so we have it in front of us.
Probably the characteristic I have that makes me closest to being a full fledged fact checker jerk is the need to be first. Let’s say a group of us find ourselves stumped on something and a person suggests “How about we look it up?” As this is an open invitation to everyone to start looking, I will take it as a challenge and will do my hardest to find the answer first.
But my insanity ends there (or so I think). I don’t hang on someone’s every word in hopes of proving him wrong. I don’t have my phone out at all times. I don’t think my ability to use Google illustrates my intelligence.
But to a degree I am a fact checker and I have to own it. However, if I ever reach the level of the “brother’s girlfriend” described in this Dear Abby column, please approach me and break my thumbs and fingers so I will stop. Thank you. Don’t Blink.