Lately it seems the Christmas holidays – a season we’ve traditionally believed to be about kindness, warm gestures for strangers, good will towards men, etc. – has recently morphed into anything but; it seems many people are ruder than ever, and many of them appear to have little or no patience for their friends and families, let alone perfect strangers. Why the heck is this?
There was an article in the paper earlier this week that I think holds a clue to this modern mystery: It outlined how the annual shopping season, – complete with it’s two stepchildren “Black Friday” and “Boxing Day Sale” – might be partially to blame in the bad attitudes people tend to have towards one another these days. It explained how over the past few years people who would normally be respectful and polite to strangers tend throw out all social graces come December; and instead, they get busy trampling over one another in store line ups, beating each other up while buying towels for a dollar, or getting into fist fights over parking spaces at local malls. It’s madness, I tell you, madness!
Heck, why just yesterday, while I doing 90 km down the highway in my Prius, there was this big ass Ford Truck riding my scrawny little behind so closely we were almost first cousins… if you know what I mean. I tapped my breaks to get this brute to back off, and once they did, I moved over into the next lane to let them by. The driver, (a large, disheveled and unkempt woman) sped by me, slowing down just long enough to give me a dirty “F*&K YOU!” glare and the finger before furiously taking off like a bat out of Hell!
What’s worse, this nasty trend doesn’t seem to be happening just at Christmas time, oh no; people’s rude and vulgar attitudes and bad behaviors towards strangers are becoming a year round fixture. And with these sorts of un-festive gestures and unkind acts becoming commonplace, I began to wonder: What kind of lives do these angry people lead? What is it that makes them behave the ways they do? I could only imagine that they must have lives rife of bitterness, unhappiness, scarcity, loneliness and above all, mediocrity. Their actions are a choice, but why do they choose them?
But then I got to thinking: What if I could help these same people become paragons of mediocrity and self-servitude, helping them become all “Grinchy” not just over the holidays, but year round? I figure that – since clearly their rude and selfish behaviour is a choice – why not give them some easy to follow guidelines to help them achieve this, you know, as sort of a “public service”? I believe my willingness to help out this unique sector of society would make me a good guy, especially for those people struggling with such issues of “right and wrong”, or “good and bad” behaviours…
Okay, full disclosure: To be honest, my intentions aren’t entirely selfless; in fact, they are quite the opposite. I wish I could say I’ve never behaved in any of these ways, but that would be a lie. I’m ashamed that on occasion I’ve struggled with some of these bad habits myself, and as a result am embarrassed by some of my own past behaviours; but when I decided to write a blog, I promised myself I’d always offer full disclosure, warts and all, so that’s what I’m doing here. They say that “The truth shall set you free!”, and even though being honest about having behaved like an inconsiderate asshole, (at times) I can’t say I’m feeling any less shameful about it, but at least I’m not lying and pretending to be perfect. Putting my flaws out there reminds me to be humble, and to work on sticking to the right path. Hey, it was either this or therapy; and since I can’t afford therapy, it looks like you and I are stuck with this! Anyway, moving on…
I drafted up the following list of habits that, if followed diligently, should secure anyone’s reputation as a “Class A” asshole; and please note that any of these habits can easily be adapted by amateur jerks as well. The bottom line that anyone who follows these rules can pretty much 100% guarantee themselves a mediocre quality of life, 365 days a year. However, if you strive to be a good, kind and loving person; a person who wants a life of joy, happiness, friendship and abundance, etc. that’s also no problem – just do the exact opposite to what the list says, and you’ll live a life full of these good things instead. Remember: Our behaviours are a choice; sometimes it’s not always easy to do the right thing, but it is always a choice, right?
So wthout further adieu, here is Part I of;
“Habits that Guarantee a Life of Mediocrity”
1. Be Selfish: Whatever is going on around you, make sure you never consider other people’s thoughts or feelings about any situation; after all, it’s all about you, and you should vocalize this fact as much as possible. To make sure people understand this fact, it helps to begin all your sentences with “I”, and never “You”, as in “I’m eating the last bite of pizza” versus “Would you like the last piece?” – This will let people know where they stand.
2. Whenever Possible Be Rude: Any chance you can, make sure you close doors in peoples faces, butt into line ups, don’t say hello to service people, (honestly, why would you anyway?) and make petty and unimportant demands of people – with no regard for their feelings. These are just a few of the terrific ways to let other people know you are far more important than them, and that your needs far supersede any they might have at the time. In other words, treat people as they should be treated in your world – as the unimportant and non-existent beings that they are.
3. Laugh at Others Misfortunes: Nothing warms the soul like watching people slip and fall, suffer a painful accident/mishap, or have an unfortunate and embarrassing incident like just sitting back and laughing at their misfortune! When these rare opportunities present themselves, always laugh at these poor souls, since it adds greatly to their feelings of ridicule and embarrassment. Whatever you do, don’t offer to help them, because why should you? They are probably “idiots” who are just getting what they deserve, right? Whenever you see this sort of thing, it’s best just to sit back and enjoy the show, and make fun of them with your friends.
4. Be Critical of Everything: Make sure that – regardless of how hard someone has tried to do something right, or how much effort they have put forth – you find fault in their efforts and criticize them out loud. Whatever you do, don’t encourage, support or offer to help in any way; such acts might offer hope or worth to them and would derail your efforts. Remember the goal here is to make people feel stupid, inadequate and insecure, and not inspired to keep going. I recommend becoming a master at this kind of demoralization – it definitely lets people feel unworthy and small. And yes, I’m talking to you, E.B.
5. Whenever Possible Make Snide, Negative Remarks: Hey, why wait for someone you know to fail at some social expectation before unloading your negativity? If you look around, you can find lots of stupid people to complain about, and out loud! The list is endless: Rude drivers, people who dress or look “funny”, people who ask “obvious questions”, “uncool people”, etc. – just pick one, then find or create about them to bitch, belittle or and complain about. Remember, the people around you love to hear your nasty and negative comments, so make sure you complain loud and often!
6. Make Excuses: Blame Everyone (and Everything) For Your Problems: Whenever things don’t go your way, don’t worry about looking in the mirror, because it’s never your fault anyway! Point fingers, blame other people’s actions, make excuses, etc. but whatever you do, don’t take any responsibility when things go wrong in your life. Score extra bonus points for throwing tantrums, hissy fits and angry freak-outs to express how unfair it all is to you, and how other forces – all obviously outside of your control – are inconvenient for you, and you only.
7. Embrace Ignorance: If you don’t understand something, anything at all, don’t worry about actually learning about it; just make up your own opinion, and make sure you let everyone know where you stand on the topic. This is an especially effective technique when discussing global issues like HIV, world events, other cultures, political situations, Gay Rights, etc. or anything else you learned about from FOX News; and don’t forget, because you saw it on FOX news or read about it on the internet, it must be true… right? Then why would you need any more information? Sheesh! C’mon!
Okay, those are the first 7 habits of mediocrity; stay tuned for habits 8 – 15 which will be here in a couple of days! In the meantime, why not go out and use this information to either make – or break – someones Christmas spirit; did I already mention that it’s a choice? I thought so…
Until then, David