Conflict is Stupid!

My first clue that conflict could be downright silly came to me in a real, old-fashioned soda fountain -- part of my boyhood in 1950s Jacksonville, Florida.

My Mom and my Aunt Agnes had been shopping with their kids: me, my sister Jennifer, and cousins Jack and Kathy. Jack and I were around 8 or 9; our sisters were a few years younger. The soda fountain in the neighborhood drug store seemed as good a place as any for a break so we all settled in at the counter.
It was a typical hot and humid North Florida day; a nice cold drink would really hit the spot.
When the waitress ("server" wouldn't become a term for several decades) brought our orders, she accidentally switched the girls' drinks: Kathy got Jennifer's Pepsi, Jennifer got Kathy's 7-up. It happens.

Kids are quick to spot an injustice: each of the girls took it as a personal outrage that not only did she receive the WRONG drink, but her cousin had gotten what SHE wanted instead! Oh, the horror!

This little drama unfolded quickly: both girls began to howl while glaring at the evil cousin who was now in possession of what was rightfully theirs. I come from a fairly "demonstrative" family and it looked like all Hell was about to break loose right there at that heretofore peaceful lunch counter.

This turned out to be a short-lived rebellion, however. My Aunt Agnes leaned over, lifted both of the disputed soft drinks, and switched them back to their proper owners. There was a moment of stunned silence -- we were all kind of caught up in the perceived, yet illusory, tragedy of the moment -- and just like that, it was over. The girls drank their drinks, the adults spoke of serious stuff, and Jack and I tried to figure out what kind of trouble we could get into. But the conflict vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

How many wars could have -- and should have -- been stopped this way?