noun \ˈdü-əl also ˈdyü-\
: a fight between two people that includes the use of weapons (such as guns or swords) and that usually happens while other people watch.
The tradition of the duel dates back centuries and was initiated when a dispute between two parties ended with one of them proclaiming in a loud and intimidating manner, “I challenge ye to a duel!”
It was often a necessary means to a definitive resolution in historical times. Although not pretty, the duel was effective at producing a clear winner. “Fight to the death. May the best man or woman win!” And then he/she did. Problem solved. End of fighting. End of argument. End of story. All the world rejoiced in harmony, offered a piece of cheese to the clear victor, and moved on with their lives. Nowhere in the historical references that I scoured for hours did it state that there was ever a third party involved. Two people with a clear conflict of interest consensually made a grown up decision to settle their differences in battle (sans their mother), knowing full well the consequences of their behavior.
In medieval times, I would be sitting atop my golden throne, being fanned by my lady in waiting, sipping champagne, and waving to the crowd as we await a fight to the death between my two youngest children, who have proven time and time again that they absolutely and unequivocally suck at getting along. Did I ask for this? No. Have I tried a more humane and socially acceptable approach? Several. Am I willing to branch out and consider other methods of conflict resolution that have repeatedly documented stories of success throughout history? Quite possibly so. (Don’t judge me. You do not live here.)
It’s not a stretch, nor do I know who I would root for in the heat of the moment. I can see their faces, looking up at me with their overly dramatic “I can’t believe you are going to just sit there and let this happen” glare.
“Spare me dear children. I have washed my hands of you. I’m sitting on a throne, drinking champagne in a pretty dress, void of any and all responsibility for the outcome of your actions. Please, carry on and choose your weapons wisely, but may I humbly suggest that Buzz Lightyear has proven time and time again to be a very disappointing choice.”
I can’t take it anymore. Constant screaming, constant taunting, constant blaming, constant hitting, constant crying, constant everything! They can’t even look at each other without immediately reciprocating a death glare and clenching their fists. “How dare you flip the light switch on in such an arrogant manner! You are such an idiot!”
Oil and water. No matter how hard you try or how rapidly you stir the pot, they repulse each other. “Get the fuck away from me Oil! I am Water. We will never be friends. It’s science dipshit.”
“In the modern era (i.e. my house), the duel has fallen wayside to the brawl, where disputes are decided violently, but without actual killing (uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Duel).”
This is my life. There is no clear winner or loser. There is only the guarantee that in five minutes history will repeat itself and the screaming will begin yet again. “Did you really just walk past me, keeping a reasonable distance and then not engage me in conversation? You are such an asshole!”
I have tried calm intervention and simple reasoning. I have tried scolding, yelling, timeouts, forced and very unpleasant hand holding on the couch, and much more recently, complete and total neglect. “I am not here. I cannot hear you. I cannot see you. There is nothing I can do for you.”
I am above this shit.
One of these days, I am going to scream out, “I challenge ye to a duel! Here’s a sword and a bike helmet for each of you. I know I don’t let you play with sharp objects as a general rule, but today is special. Mommy’s going to run upstairs, put on a pretty dress, and open a bottle of champagne. I’ll be back momentarily. Save my spot.”
“In most societies throughout the world, siblings usually grow up together, facilitating the development of strong emotional bonds such as love, or thoughtfulness (wikipedia.org).”
The exception to the rule, every god damn time.