Whatever his father said, Val did the opposite. The antagonism that dripped from Val was almost visible.
If his father advised him to attend college, Val would race away to sell vacuum cleaners.
It became a joke.
Val’s father, Geo, seemed to plod along, week by week, year by year, giving good advice and having Val do the obverse.
When Val was bequeathed a piece of land, Geo advised him to move quickly to claim it. Val, of course, chose to do nothing.
Geo’s brother, Carl, stepped onto the land the day Val was informed. Carl began to build a house.
As Val always did the opposite of what his father said, he didn’t even glance at the property. He didn’t know his Uncle Carl had built a house.
Some time later Carl obtained a title for the ‘abandoned’ land and subsequently sold it for a nice chunk of change.
It was more than a year after that Val found out what Uncle Carl had done and confronted him.
“Val, everyone knows if your father tells you something, you’ll do the opposite. He didn’t have the money to send you to college, so ‘encouraged’ you to go. We knew you wouldn’t. When it came to the land, I told him to tell you. We knew you’d ‘fix’ him by doing nothing.”
Val didn’t realise that his ‘paradigm’ of doing the opposite of what his father said had been used to play him all his life.