sobota, 26 października 2013


Great emotional and intellectual resources are demanded in quarrels; stamina helps, as does a capacity for obsession. But no one is born a good quarreller; the craft must be learned.

There are two generally recognised apprenticeships. First, and universally preferred, is a long childhood spent in the company of fractious siblings. After several years of rainy afternoons, brothers and sisters develop a sure feel for the tactics of attrition and the niceties of strategy so necessary in first-rate quarrelling.

The only child, or the child of peaceful or repressed households, is likely to grow up failing to understand that quarrels, unlike arguments, arc not about an)1hing, least of all the pursuit of truth. The apparent subject of a quarrel is a mere pretext; the real business is the quarrel itself.
Essentially, adversaries in a quarrel are out to establish or rescue their dignity. I fence the elementary principle: anything may be said. The unschooled, probably no less quarrelsome by inclination than anyone else, may spend an hour with knocking heart, sifting the consequences of roiling this old acquaintance a lying fraud. Too late! With a cheerful wave the old acquaintance has left the room.
Those who miss their first apprenticeship may care to enrol in the second, the bad marriage. This can be perilous for the neophyte; the mutual intimacy of spouses makes them at once more vulnerable and more dangerous in attack. Once sex is involved, the stakes are higher all round. And there is an unspoken rule that those who love, or have loved, one another are granted a licence for unlimited beastliness such as is denied to mere sworn enemies. For all that, some of our most tenacious black belt quarrellers have come to it late in fife and mastered every throw, from the Crushing Silence to the Gloating Apology, in less than ten years of marriage.

A quarrel may last years. Among brooding types Kith time on their hands, like writers, half a lifetime is not uncommon. In its most refined form, a quarrel may consist of the participants not talking to each other. They will need to scheme laboriously to appear in public together to register their silence.
Brief, violent quarrels are also known as rows. In all cases the essential ingredient remains the same; the original cause must be forgotten as soon as possible. From here on, dignity, pride, self-esteem, honour ate the crucial issues, which is why quarrelling, like jealousy, is an all-consuming business, virtually a profession. For the quarreller's very self-hood is on the fine.

To lose an argument is a brief disappointment, much like losing a game of tennis; but to be crushed in a quarrel ... rather bite off your tongue and spread it at your opponent's feet.

Artykuł pochodzi z książki przygotowujący do egzaminu CPE.

- apprenticeship - szkolenie
- fractious - wybuchowy
- attrition - ścieranie się
- nicety - przyjemność
- mere - zwykły
- adversary - przeciwnik
- be out to (lunch) - to be crazy
- by inclination - ze skłonnością
- quarrelsome - kłótliwy
- sift - przesiewać, badać
- enrol - zapisać się
- perilous - niebezpieczny, ryzykowny
- neophyte - neofita, początkujący
- vulnerable - podatny, narażony
- all round - wszechstronny, uniwersalny
- tenacious - trwały, nieustępliwy
- gloating - triumfujący, zwycięski, rozkoszny
- brooding - straszny, złowieszczy, napawający lękiem
- on their hands - w swoich rękach
- scheme - plan
- laboriously - mozolnie, pracowicie
- row - kłótnia, awantura
- be on the line = be at risk

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