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5 Nerd Hacks That Make You Less of a Jerk

#2. Virtual Whiskey

Sometimes poor planning, impulsive mistakes, or the random bastardry of other people in general and the entire universe in particular conspire to cost you money -- replacing this, emergency that, or just paying somebody else to do something you couldn't do (or fix something you shouldn't have). This sort of mistake can cripple you with rage because it's costing you time and money, both of which you'll continue to waste as long as you're pissed off.

Laurent Hamels/Hemera/Getty Images
"My wallet's too small for these 50s!"

Luckily, poor planning, impulsive mistakes, and other people are all also involved in a brilliant night out drinking. If I'd spent $100 on a bottle of fine whiskey instead, I would have felt much better. So I pretend I've done that instead. If I'd known what was coming, I'd have avoided the mistake and rewarded myself with the money I'd "saved." So I act like that's what happened -- the result is functionally identical, I feel better, and it's only like two points on a 10-point "Are you becoming a psychopath?" scale.

Andrey Yakovlev/iStock/Getty Images
While actually wasting an entire bottle of Glenmorangie 18 in one night would be a 7. And putting that ice in it is 11.

I call it virtual whiskey, as in virtual particles (the quantum mechanical process whereby particles and antiparticles are constantly appearing and annihilating all the time, everywhere, always). Things have progressed as if that whiskey had been called into existence and then immediately destroyed by its interaction with me, and that's a far better operating principle than stewing on the mistake. And also what would have happened to real whiskey anyway. In fact, I'm even better now, because I don't have a hangover. Plus, pretending to have spent all my money on whiskey when I really haven't is the exact opposite of alcoholism! In your face, Irish national stereotypes!

#1. I Am Not the Flash

DC
Not pictured: me.

This should be obvious, but every day millions of people forget that they're not wearing bright red Lycra as avatars of the Speed Force. The slightest delay and they're revealed as Commander Rage, Most Important Person in the Universe, in a personal universe so crappy that the most important thing in it is shouting at a barista.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images
"Keep screaming, buddy, I could keep this dead-eyed grin going if the sun exploded."

If you were the Flash, that would make sense. You could have used those five seconds to save the world twice and catch up on Game of Thrones. But unless you're carrying a donor heart, your time is not that precious. And I'm just as bad. A 10-second delay is long enough for me to construct a psychic jet rack, a medieval torture table with rocket boosters on the back so that it can excruciate the offending party while accelerating them out of my sight. And what would I have done with those 10 seconds? Refreshed Twitter twice and scratched myself. If I can spend two hours unlocking every nitrous accelerator in Need for Speed, I can take a minute to not be a boiling dickhead to every human I meet.

So the next time you feel like screaming at someone for not playing the ATM keypad like a piano, silently count how many times you checked Twitter and Facebook recently. By the time you finish, either they'll be done or you'll have realized that they're not why you feel so bad about wasted time.


Luke tries not to be a jerk on his website, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Make further improvements to your mind by understanding Why Misogyny Is Unmanly, or nerd it up with Thunder Gods Who Could Kick Thor's Ass.

There's a whole self-help course in 5 Simple Steps to Not Being a Total Asshole, and knowing is half the battle with 6 Things That Secretly Make You Act Like a Jerk.

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Luke McKinney

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