In my years at Cracked, I've written lots of articles about everyday offenses committed by that annoying subset of humanity known as "other people." Indeed, I'd written so many such articles that I was even approached to a do a whole book of them, but I turned that down to pursue my Internet Apocalypse trilogy instead. But even that act of maturity didn't keep a series of petty grievances from filling my diseased mind and ever-blackened heart.
Medical photo of the brain of someone who bitches online about how much people suck.
I've accepted that I can't fight it anymore. There are still things people do that drive me far crazier than they should. And sure, I can be mature and "normal" and "not insane" and just let them go, but then how could all the terrible people of the world live vicariously through my hatred? So yes, in this article, lets examine some incredibly tiny slights and disses that should be ignored instead of memorialized -- and then let's memorialize them! Here are five more tiny indignities we suffer in everyday life that, despite their insignificance, can be incredibly maddening.
You ever ask for a totally normal item at a restaurant or store, and get rejected like you just requested a rimjob for your pet rhino? Well, in truth, I haven't, but mostly because my rhino isn't into that sort of thing, so I'm not sure what that's like. But what I'm getting at is that there's a right way and a wrong way to deliver rejection. It's not the salesperson's fault that their employer is out of paper clips or the soup of the day, but still, that rejection should not be delivered with a parenthetical "asshole" at the end of the sentence.
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Incidentally, "Parenthetical Asshole" was a pretty big college band outside of Austin in '96.
For example: The other day, I was visiting a Starbucks and requested a "tall blonde," as I've done at no fewer than 20 other Starbucks. (It's important to note that I didn't make a joke about wanting a "tall blonde," because I'm not that kind of asshole.) In any event, the barista looked at me with a vaguely raised eyebrow and a cock of the head before informing me, "We don't brew blonde here." The implication was that I was a jackass for requesting such a thing. Or maybe that wasn't the implication, but that's how I took it, because I'm a horrible person.
Does that make me a big baby? Sure it does, but I do remember when I worked in a bookstore and people would request books we didn't carry or were out of all the time, and my simple response was, "I'm sorry, we don't have that." It's just reflexive, simple courtesy to cushion your already disappointed customer's feelings. And it goes a long way. Maybe if I'd received that tiny phrase, I wouldn't have been forced to burn the Starbucks to the ground. Or at least, that's what I told a jury of my peers.
There are no shortage of sins we can commit in this world, and an almost infinite number of ways we can wrong each other. Some mistakes are so significant that simple apologies can't make them go away. Some people are so wounded that forgiveness can only come with time. But if you can't forgive someone who made casual, incidental contact with you, odds are you are an insanely hateful piece of garbage.
Examples? Sure! You ever just bump into someone in a crowded street or subway? I mean a bump, nudge, or rub in a completely nonsexual manner. Well, if you have, then you probably followed that with "Oh, sorry," or "Excuse me," or anything to convey "whoopsie-doodle, apologies!" And 99 percent of the time, that was probably the end of it. But sometimes people don't accept that apology and remain inexplicably angry. This happens to me -- or I see this happen to others -- about every two months on the New York subway.
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"Oh sorry, did my elbow make contact with your shoulder? I'm sorry." "I will kill your entire family."
No one likes to be touched without permission, and I suppose if someone is driving their unicycle while blindfolded in Times Square and rolls over your foot, then that apology is pretty worthless. But we're all grown-ups here. We understand that sometimes, accidents happen. Honest mistakes. And when they're acknowledged and apologized for, that's it. You don't get to go on and on about the that fucking prick whose shoe slid across your flip-flop on a packed A train. And if you haven't guessed, that thing happened to me just the other day. I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed train, and when additional people got on, I slid an inch to the right, apparently causing a contact between the flip-flopped foot of a seated women and my shoe. "Oh, I'm sorry," I said. And then she proceeded to grumble swear at me for a minute straight, in front of her five-year-old daughter. Ultimately, I said, "The train is packed, the contact was an accident, and I'm sorry. What more do you want?"
"I want you to die. Isn't that clear? No wonder you're too stupid to be trusted on the subway."
The first joke we all learn is "Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side." And the first jackass who ever heard that joke probably replied, "That's hardly the expected road-crossing reason one would typically expect!" Yes, it's a phenomenon known as joke-stepping, and its the bane of all people trying to make a joke. This entry is about a very specific form of joke-stepping: filling in the part that doesn't need to be said. Indeed, the point of some jokes is deliberately omitting information. These are jokes where the punchline is implied and the humor comes from the listener filling in the blank. You see this a lot in sarcastic quipping, and if you would like all your sarcastic quips destroyed, may I suggest you make them on Twitter?
#OMG #INoLongerWantToLive #Why?!
See what happened there? Sure you do. Was the person who made this reply a bad person? Of course not. Is it a big deal? No. Have I tried not to include this as an entry of little tiny indiscretions that drive me disproportionately insane? I sure have. Did I fail miserably? Absolutely. Will I be able to break free of this construction of answering my own questions for rhetorical effect? It seems the answer is no! Will you, the reader, ultimately turn on me not just for milking a joke, but also for getting so ticked off about an innocent social media faux pas? Of course you will, as would any honorable, decent Cracked reader. So shouldn't I cut my losses and stop now? Of course I should! And yet I still haven't? I know. Sometimes I'm hard to love.
This is probably the pettiest of the complaints on this list, I know. And it's my sincere hope that displaying it here will rid me of its power to irritate. But here's a suggestion before replying to a joke: Ask yourself, "Is my reply adding anything not already contained in the joke? And if so, is that the point?"
Hey, remember when I told you that last entry was the most petty one on the list? I may have been wrong, because check out this gripe. Yep, it's when the store you're frequenting doesn't have what you want and attempts to turn your disappointment into a sale for a different item. "Whoa, now you've gone too far," you say. "What's the big deal? The store's just trying to be helpful!" And I agree. There are all sorts of times helpful salespersons do their best to deliver you the next best thing they have to meet your shopping needs, and there is a special place in heaven for those lovely human beings. It's right next to the heroes who purchase books by Cracked authors which actually cures all known diseases.
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Buy our books and maybe God will overlook that time you stole that blind kid's ice cream.
Let me really bring this one home. One day at work, I realized being a grown-up meant the ability to get up from my desk and buy myself an ice cream cone from the Mr. Softee ice cream truck I'd seen parked outside my office earlier in the day. I sidled up to the truck and ordered a chocolate soft cone with chocolate sprinkles (as is my M.O. regarding all soft ice cream purchases). The worker (let's call him Mr. Softee) looked down on me and replied, "No chocolate. I have banana flavor." I laughed, because I tried to think of a universe in which banana was worthy substitute to chocolate. Then I walked away politely and went back to work without the solace of a treat, and managed to finish my tasks while only stopping to cry occasionally.
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Here's where that miracle happened.
For your entertainment and my sanity, here is what I wanted to tell Mr. Softee: "Holy fucking shit. Did you just offer me banana in some sort of pathetic attempt to fill the void caused by your miraculous inability to stock your ice cream truck with chocolate? How is that commensurate? In what universe would any human being possessing a functioning tongue be content to suck on a transmogrified banana in place of chocolate? Also, can we just discuss your ice cream stocking abilities for a moment. Did the public's desire for chocolate somehow take you by surprise? When you were considering the two flavors folks want in their bacteria-ridden, truck-created ice cream treats, did vanilla and chocolate not spring instantly to mind? What foul European nightmare of a country did you escape from, where they teach children to savor banana? Get used to it. Vanilla and chocolate in your truck is as American as apple pie. Apple! Not banana, but that would be a less insane substitute suggestion. Amen."
Sometimes we just have to do things. Small things. We have to have that second helping of potato chips, we have to brag about our kids, we have to vent about things that are bothering us. We all know gluttony, boastfulness, and wrath are not admirable traits. We know we're not at our best when we engage in this behavior. But we also know we're not perfect. We're human. We're all going to give in to the occasional indulgences, and at least we have a modicum of self-awareness as we're doing it. Does announcing your sin before you engage in it automatically remove you of all liability for your sin? No, it does not. That's why Mark Wahlberg is still going to Hell for producing the Entourage movie, even though all moviegoers were fairly warned by its trailer that the movie would indeed be about Entourage.
There is no warning label of redemption for this
Nevertheless, while acknowledging your behavior doesn't give you a free pass to sin, I can't help but be miffed by people who feel the need to score moral points by pointing out bad behavior that has already been acknowledged. That's why you're a dick for saying "oink oink, little piggy" if someone announces they're violating their Atkins diet by reaching for chips. And if you're looking for more examples of this annoyance, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say there will be a few heroes in the comments who will feel the need to call me out for being a whiny little bitch in a column where I take at least a half a dozen shots at myself for making a big a deal out of nothing. They'll overlook that fact that, while getting miffed at this stupid shit isn't admirable, I'm clearly using myself as a device for everyone who's ever gotten pissed off about something they couldn't help getting pissed off about. And they'll also believe that in casting that stone at a body already self-bludgeoned with stones, everyone will be convince they could never engage in the same sin.
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For more from Gladstone, check outa 5 Ways Living In A Big City Warps How You See The World and 5 Real World Lessons College Teaches (By Accident).