An ultimatum is pretty much a “my way or the highway” last and final offer.
The first time I ever heard the word “ultimatum” used was one night when I was pretty young, maybe five or six years old. I recall hearing my mother and father fighting. I honestly don’t know what the quarrel was about, but I do remember my mother threatening to take my sister and me and move in with her sister.
I overheard bits of their argument and I remember my father angrily asking my mother, “Are you giving me an ultimatum?” When she said she was, I heard the front door slam as he stormed out of the house.
I ran downstairs to find my mother sitting at the kitchen table, head in hand, crying. I went to her side to try to comfort her. She hugged me and said, “Sweetie, I’m so sorry you had to hear that.”
“That’s okay, Mom,” I said. “But can I ask you a question?”
“Oh, baby, of course you can,” she said. “What do you want to know?”
“Mom,” I said, “why do you want to give Dad an old tomato?”