Why don’t you just go f*#@ yourself!
This eloquent phrase was expressed to me over the phone at work when I informed this unsuspecting customer that the person he was looking for no longer worked for our company. After wiping the shock from my face, I couldn’t help but to reach the conclusion that his reaction was less than fair, which further proved my theory that people have nothing better to do than watch Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, eat Hot Pockets, and prank call innocent places of work with insidious remarks prepared in advance. I stopped a menacing retaliation in my throat and forced it back down just as this man hung up on me because, well, telling someone that they have the brain capacity of a goldfish and that I wish a terrible case of indigestion upon them just didn’t seem worth the energy, not to mention job termination. Really!
I’m sure he has a great personality. Maybe he spends his time volunteering at hospitals, working the Peace Corps, and saving oil-drenched seals from the clutches of environmental disaster. I’m sure he then flaunts his accomplishments at dinner parties, relishing the special looks of sympathy and awe he gets from being such an amazing-awesome-cool dude. Then some poor unsuspecting woman will throw herself at him and perhaps never learn how he treats strangers on the phone.
In reality, the situation didn’t ruin my day; it just gave me a great story to tell others. I must have looked visibly upset during my regurgitation of the ordeal because a co-worker quietly asked me to “settle down.” But of course, I don’t settle, and certainly not down.
This event was just another shining display of human behavior with all of its glittering facets. We can be mean, nasty little things sometimes.
People are going to think unfortunate things about you and say rude things to you no matter what. With this in mind, it makes sense to try your best not to care and to just do whatever it is you want, assuming that doesn’t include any illegal activities. Measuring your self-worth on the invisible scale others project is slippery ground to tread on. Most rudeness isn’t meant for you, anyways. It’s reserved for the crazy narcissistic neighbor upstairs who won’t turn down his Dragonforce music, that professor who apparently has a large cash incentive for doling out F’s, or that lovely girlfriend who replaced your Sports Illustrated magazines with Better Homes and Gardens. Either way, you have morphed from an unwitting civilian into a target strangers use to ease whatever frustration the day has offered. You know how much it mauls your self esteem to be that target, so it makes no sense to turn around and return the favor to someone else, even if they seem to be asking for it.
Sure, we don’t live in a perfect world where people act honorably and throw out apologies and pick-me-ups like candy at a holiday parade, but that sure isn’t an excuse to burrow comfortably in the muck society’s social normality has discharged. That ranks up there on the list of annoying activities, right alongside the girl who gets wasted at parties and tries to get sympathy by crying about her ex-boyfriend.
Perhaps that person who was mean to you in high school now leads a relatively pathetic existence and is currently self-employed as a Myspace internet predator. Who knows?
Whatever damage their actions caused is temporary and should not be a detrimental driving force in your life. There are much more important things to be concerned about, like why Britney Spears can have a brief affair with insanity in full view of the public eye and still unearth a salvageable career (“Womanizer,” anyone?).
Hey, it gives me hope because ignoring the awful things people say to me at work has become a sort of parallel job requirement, and while my employment may not qualify as “career” material, I have yet to shave my head.