“If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothing’s at all.”
Did you catch the double negative, there?
Thumper, go over there and sit on Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s needlepoint pillow (“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anyone, come sit next to me.”)
Nice is nice.
But nice ain’t funny. Not usually, anyway.
If you’ve been a trouper and you’ve read this blog from the bottom up, first to latest, you’ll see that I’m a widow, and I’m trying to live the lessons I learned from loss, primarily that love is what matters, and a little laughter, too, and every person has their stuff, and anyone you run into or sit next to on the bus could be in the midst of their own tragedy, and everyone deserves respect and compassion.
And that behaving that way all the time is exhausting and really difficult for me (see, “The Briefcase Maneuver“). I have confessed to being someone too full of judgment, impatience and an ugly sense of superiority (see, “And What Do We Learn from This?)
But sometimes I just can’t help myself, especially if something strikes me as stupid.
And nothing is more irritating than avoidable stupidity. And it is often funny, too.
And in such situations, I tend to lead with my big mouth, not my big heart.
I’ll say something that makes people laugh.
And then I’ll go home and feel really bad about it.
I own a T-shirt that says, “I’ll try to be nicer if you’ll try to be smarter.” Snark. Which was basically my theory of management for a long time. Yeah, so, that didn’t work out so well.
I have another T-shirt that says, “Pretending I’m a pleasant person all day is exhausting.”
I will reveal both of these during my talk on “Confessions of a Toxic Boss,” if I ever get that one written.
Not nice. But honest. Nice is not often funny, but honesty often is, which is why improvisers are taught to go for the emotional truth on stage, because most of the time, nothing is funnier than the truth.
So far, I’ve written honestly about loss and grief and a little about some coping strategies (Middle Aged Woman Rules). But when do we get to the funny part?
Well, I have a plan. When I feel the snark surfacing, and I can’t resist the temptation to think or even say something that is kind of mean but also kind of funny, I’m going to dump it right over there in the Snark Tank.
Yes, I’m going to make a whole separate page on this blog where I can dump all my little pet peeves, my moments of self-righteous superiority, my little rants, and just get them out of my system so I can get back to the love part.
No politics, though – we all get plenty of that on Facebook or Twitter.
And as the parent of a developmentally different young adult, I’m definitely not a fan of making fun of others just for being who they are (although my love of accents has gotten me in trouble that way – I hear an accent and impulsively imitate it, often right in front of the person with the accent. Oh, nice. I’ve embarrassed my family and literally made children cry, when all I thought I was doing was joining the fun and expressing delight in the music of a different way of speaking. Oddly enough, the people whose accents I “joined in on” didn’t find it amusing.)
But people who have all their intellectual faculties and physical abilities, neurotypical and physically able people, who are ungifted with and unchallenged by differently wired brains or physically different bodies, often do or say stupid or funny or illogical things, and they misuse words a lot, which either drives me nuts or makes me laugh hysterically, so I may take the opportunity to point a few of those things out. And if it happens in the middle of a blog post about something entirely different, well, I’ll just link over to the Snark Tank and dump it in there.
My additions to the Snark Tank will likely be short and unrelated to each other, unless I really get on a roll and unleash. And I’ll just keep on editing that page by adding new stuff on top.
And if you are so moved, you can jump right in through the comments, and we’ll all just get it out of our systems, and the world will be a better place, because we will have done a service in pointing out errors and inanities that are avoidable, preventable and therefore needn’t be repeated. Won’t everyone be so grateful! So let’s dive in!