Anyone who knows me would know I often bemoan the fact those who hold to the inerrancy of the Protestant Bible, when it comes to resolving conflicts, utilize a method we would never, EVER use in real life. They cry out, “As long as there is any possible logical resolution, no matter how inane—Inerrancy is maintained.”
I point out how we don’t use this low of a standard in any other facet of our lives; why should we use such a poor method when discussing what is supposed to be the greatest writing? Recently I was reminded of how we don’t use this method any other time.
I apologize in advance for the language. In my profession we tend to be very precise and literal when quoting others, and will do so here as well.
Ever have someone who, no matter what you do; no matter how hard you try—you constantly rub the wrong way? Even when you are trying to be nice, it always seems to blow up in your face? I had such an encounter with a Defendant.
We obtained a judgment against an individual. Apparently she thought we would never discover how she was employed—but we did. And we started to garnish her wages (a court order to direct a portion of her salary directly to us.) I got the call. She was fuming. (Trust me; her words could be in all capital letters for emphasis.)
Defendant: What is this about?
Me: Let’s see…Ah, yes--It is about a Judgment we obtained—
Defendant: I KNOW about the Judgment! Why did my employer send me this notice?
Me: What notice?
Defendant: The One I am holding in my hand!
Me: Ma’am, what does the notice say?
Defendant: Don’t you know?
Me: I don’t know what you are holding, I can’t see—
Defendant: Didn’t YOU file a Garnishment?
Me: Well, yes, but—
Defendant: Don’t you know how this is supposed to work?
Me: Yes, however—
Defendant: So what does this notice mean?
Me: Perhaps if you would stop interrupting me, I could answer your question.*
[*Most likely it is here where our relationship started to deteriorate.]
Me: Typically, upon receiving the garnishment, the employer provides what is called a Disclosure. Often the Defendants get a copy before I do. I presume—
Defendant: So how often are they going to take this money?
Me: I don’t know, I haven’t received a copy of the Dis—
Defendant: You Don’t Know! How can you garnish me if you don’t know?
Me: Again, ma’am, if you would let me explain, it depends—
Defendant: You ARE an attorney, you HAVE done this before. Don’t you know how this works?
Me: I do, but each situation is different. Until I get a copy of the Disclosure—
Defendant: When will they send you a copy?
Me: They have 14 days, but sometimes—
Defendant: Its BEEN 14 days!
Me: I know, but sometimes—
Defendant: Why haven’t you received your copy?
Me: Sometimes it takes—
Defendant: Are you telling me I received a copy before you did?
Defendant: How come they took it out of my paycheck? Will they be doing this every week? How much will they take? How long do these last?
Defendant: Why aren’t you talking to me? Don’t you have anything to say?
Me: I was waiting for you to finish. Every time I try to talk, you interrupt me, so—
Defendant: But you aren’t SAYING anything.
Me: Until I get that disclosure, I can’t answer any of your questions.
Defendant: Fine. [click]
Of course, since life has an ironic side to it, the employer messes up the garnishment (taking differing amounts,) causing even more calls. Now she decides she wants to take this back to the beginning.
Defendant: Why was I being sued?
Me: It has to do with rent due on your apart—
Defendant: There was no rent due! They were supposed to apply my security deposit to the rent! How can they charge me so much rent?
Me: Well, there were also damages to the—
Defendant: There were no damages! I left that place in perfect condition. How can you take my wages from me for money you aren’t entitled to?
Me: That was all decided in the Judgment.
Defendant: Well--I want to take this to the Judge.
Me: It’s too late for that—
Defendant: Are you saying we don’t have any rights? What kind of lawyer are you, trying to take away my rights? I know the law! I demand a hearing in front of a judge!
Me: But we already have a judgment—
Defendant: I don’t care—I am entitled to some sort of hearing—I know that! I want to know what I was sued for!
Me: If you send me a self-address, stamped envelope, I would be happy to—
Defendant: What?! Don’t I have a right to know what I was sued for? You HAVE to show me what the judgment was based upon. I demand it!
Me: Actually, I don’t. After a judgment has been entered, I am not required—
Defendant: I know my rights. You HAVE to show me. What kind of lawyer are you that you don’t even know you have to show me? They are taking money out of my paycheck, and I don’t have a right to know why? Is that what you are saying?
Me: Yep. That’s what I am saying. However, I am willing to provide that information if you would send—
Defendant: If you don’t have to provide it, why would you be willing to send me it? I KNOW I didn’t owe any rent. There were no damages to that apartment. You are trying to cover up something. Send me that information.
Me: You know if you would stop interrupting me—
Defendant: Why are you so rude? What have I done to you? All I care about is finding out why my wages are being taken, and you say you don’t have to provide that to me. What is it you want me to do? Go in front of a Judge? HE will force you to hand this over to me. How can I get this information?
Me: For the third time, send a self-addressed stamped envelope, and I will provide a breakdown of the damages.
Defendant: [long pause] The same…smart mouth as ever. Mother fucker! [click]
I knew this was not the end, so I wrote her last sentence in the file (to remember) and waited. She did send an envelope, and I returned it with a breakdown of the damages. Sure enough—the eventual call:
Defendant: I want to talk about these damages.
Defendant: I refuse to pay the “administrative fee” listed. I talked to a lawyer and they said they never even heard of an “administrative fee.”**
[**It always amazes me when Defendants tell me they have talked to a lawyer, expecting me to be impressed. As if all of a sudden I would wail, “Oh, NO! If some lawyer says it—it MUST be true!” Don’t they know who I talk to all day, every day?]
Defendant: I am going to file a hearing in front of the judge and he will never let you have any administrative fees. You have to give me an accounting of every single penny I paid in, and every rent, and when it was applied. I demand an invoice for the workers who repaired this damage, and every since receipt of items replaced. I want the hours they worked, and how much your client paid them.
Defendant: WHAT?!! You HAVE to give this to me. I DEMAND it!
Me: No, and for two reasons. First, I am not required to give you anything. I only gave you the list of damages out of courtesy. Two—
Defendant: Oh, no! I talked to a lawyer, and they said you have to give me a breakdown if I request it. And I did. And I want this too, as it is part of the breakdown. So you have to give it to me.
Me: --and Two, when we last talked—do you remember the last thing you said to me?
Defendant: What does THAT have to do with anything?
Me: I wrote it down. You said, “The same smart mouth as ever. Mother fucker.” May I suggest if you are asking for a courtesy from someone, you don’t call them a “mother fucker”? See, what happens, when a person is called a “mother fucker” is that they become disinclined to provide any other help or service for you.
And here is where she shot back, without missing a beat. I am in awe at the pure creativity of humans to avoid their own trouble:
Defendant: When I said that, there was another person in the room. I wasn’t talking to you; I was saying that to the other person. You don’t know if there was anyone else in the room with me. You can’t prove I was saying that to you; I could have been saying it to someone else.
Me: Then perhaps I could suggest in the future, when calling out “mother fucker” you designate with clarity as to which person you think is a “mother fucker.” This way the correct “mother fucker” will be apprised of their situation, and this type of confusion won’t occur.
So I ask the inerrantist—do you think her explanation was logically possible? But do you really think—really honestly whole-heartedly think—I should believe there was another person in the room that day?
If you thought (perhaps for an instance) her explanation was inane--you can see why we just might think the same thing about the Christian apologist explanations utilizing similar “logical explanations.”