Try A Little Nastiness

Feb 15

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Oh, go ahead and do it!

It’s my theory — and it’s only a theory, folks— that it’s very important to do small but nasty things on a regular basis. The thing is, if you don’t, then the nasty feelings build up and up, and at some point you’ll have to do something really, really nasty. Mean, even. If left unchecked, this situation could actually make you . . . bitter.

Let’s face it, you’re always a little annoyed at someone. That loudmouthed woman on the bus who talks incessantly on her cellphone about nothing even remotely interesting. That idiot in your office who dumps all his work on you and never loses his job.

 That asshole on the highway who cuts you off. By the way, “asshole” is the technical term for anyone committing an offense, especially against you, in a moving vehicle. With off-road offenders you can be more creative in your name-calling: besides idiot, there’s always moron (not politically correct, but satisfying), cretin, nincompoop (old-fashioned, but it’ll get their attention), lamebrain, birdbrain, shit-for-brains. Ever notice how many expressions in our so-called society contain the word shit? But that’s another story. I also feel compelled to point out that any of the above expressions can be prefaced by total, absolute. or, of course, the ever-popular “f-word.” Ahem. Friggin’ works pretty well, too, and is not, technically, profane.

Even if you don’t drive, and have no road rage, you have to put up with assholes, although here the preferred term would be idiots.  They’re the obnoxious ones on the bus who talk on their cellphones at maximum volume about nothing remotely interesting, or spread out all over the place with their packages, their lunch, their annoying children, taking up a seat that could be yours. Do you have to sit there (or stand there) and take it? Well, not exactly. Read on.

Be nasty. Just a little.

If you don’t, the anger can really build up. You know how you always hear that the guy who shot his wife and dog was “so nice and never said anything mean.”  And the postal worker who went postal was “always so helpful” and “never got angry.” Well, they’ll never say that about me. Or you, if you’re smart.

The trick is that the nastiness has to be minor, yet satisfying. Let’s say that the loud person — or the one who’s spread out over several seats  — finally reaches her stop on the bus, and leaves her newspaper -better yet, her groceries. You see it, and you could call out. But why? Say nothing. Mind your own business. It’s not your job. It’s a little nasty, but so? This also works in the office when you find something in the copy machine and don’t return it to that guy who never gets anything right. Hey, he never gets fired either, so this will only cause a little temporary inconvenience.

Here’s an example of a small, but satisfying nasty, incident. The person who often gets me theatre tickets is very money-conscious and gets upset if I don’t send a check immediately, if not sooner, even before the tickets have been paid for. Well, this person called this morning about something that’s months away. I should forgive this anal behavior because getting the tickets is doing me a huge favor. Sure I should. But I don’t. Not really. Not totally and completely. Well anyway, I said that I couldn’t mail the check today because Lou does all the checks (true) and I would screw up his system (also true). But let’s be honest, I could write a check for $114.90. And I did. And I sent it. But not before I had my nasty little moment of saying no. (Actually, I love saying, “The check is in the mail,” but that’s another story.)

On the other hand, you usually shouldn’t do anything about the asshole on the road, except to express your feelings at the highest possible decibel. It would be great if he ended up with a flat tire and you could drive on by, smiling. Okay, you could later phone the police on your cell, but he wouldn’t know that, and you’d have had your moment. Or what if he asked for directions and you knew the way, and you also knew a really, really long way and . . . But these are the pipe dreams of the marginally nasty. Usually the asshole in the car just gets away with it.

Other nasty things you can do whenever you feel like it:

  • Send someone who’s bugging you one of those e-mails warning that it has to be forwarded to 47 of your dearest friends or all your toenails will fall off and you’ll have terminal flatulence. This is tricky, because some of these e-mails are actually funny, and I sometimes can’t resist the ones that promise good luck – or even a miracle, as one did today – if you pass them on. So I did pass it on. Is this nastiness or superstition? Who knows.
  • Leave gum under your seat at the theatre. Legitimate theatre gets more points than a movie theatre, where everyone is a slob anyway. Besides, admit it, those prices could make anyone cranky. Even you.
  • Put something in the wrong recycle bin. Oh I know, I know, ecology, the planet, blah, blah, blah. But you don’t do it all the time. Besides, there is considerable evidence that it all ends up in one place anyway.

Believe me, these little bits of nastiness will make you feel SO much better. If done properly, they will not hurt anyone in any meaningful way, and will not get you slapped, arrested, fired, or suspended from your bowling team.

It doesn’t cost anything, has no calories, and nobody ever has to know.

Unless, of course. . . you want to tell us all about it. And I hope you do, because if not, then I have to walk around, not to mention sit or lie around, thinking that I am the only one doing these nasty little things. Please tell me it isn’t true!

Unless you do. Think it’s true. Is what I do truly neurotic? Do I need professional help? Whichever it is, let me know,

WHATCHA THINK? (Four Ways to Leave A Comment)

1) Little bits of nasty? I do that all the time. Here’s the worst/most fun/most effective/ nasty thing I’ve ever done. (Change the names to protect the so-called innocent.) 

2) Pat, what you do is truly neurotic. Here’s the number of my shrink (optional). If it’s Gabriel Bryne, I’m calling immediately.

3) What you do is truly neurotic. I do them too. Please give me the name of your shrink.

4) None of the above. (Yeah, right.)


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