This week I was scolded for not taking the opportunity of using a ‘teaching moment’ in a conversation with someone who claimed that the TV personality Cesar Millan is a qualified and competent dog trainer. This has been debunked and disputed by many professionals and experts. In fact, the only country in the world that actually has a legal minimum standard for dog trainers banned him from training dogs. So, I’m fucking incredulous that it’s still an issue, but clearly, it is. If I weren’t a wisened and badass auntie, I might have taken this scolding, brooded upon it and thought ‘I must be more patient and try better next time, perhaps I could help her to see the error of her ways.’
Well today I’m going to share with you why my response was closer to a ‘fuck that, it’s not my job to waste my time banging my head against a brick wall just so that others might perceive me as morally superior’, because I’m not. In fact, I’d proudly say that I’m morally inferior to many, but at least I fucking own it.
When you’re young you’ll be inundated with advice to ‘turn the other cheek’, ‘do not judge until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’, ‘always take the moral high ground’. When you’re young, those are excellent exercises to practice to help you develop impulse control, be able to function in society without punching people in the throat repeatedly and possibly being arrested for it. Those lessons also help you learn to take a deep breath and understand whether you’re dealing with someone who is willfully stupid, or simply ill-informed. And that’s where age, wisdom and a grasp of the shortness of life come into play. Because as wise philosopher Sweet Brown once said ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that!’.
I’ve discussed stupid people at length in a previous blog called ‘The Unclever‘, but today we’re going to discuss how to identify those who might be worth your time and effort and because I’m of an age and place of giving no more fucks, when it’s not just appropriate, but you are being called upon, to be rude and dismissive. I should point out that I’m often accused of being both rude and dismissive, also patronising, condescending and superior. I carry those titles with some pride because it means that people are understanding me loud and clear. It proves that my skills of communication remain highly honed and capable of delivering exactly what is intended. When people alert me to my practice of those behaviours, they believe that I might be mildly offended or hurt or even humbled and apologetic. Much to their disappointment I’m usually smugly satisfied, or on a really good day, delighted.
I believe that condescension and derision are skills that should be well honed and sharpened like tools of war. They should be used upon those who require their precision and those that wield them should revel in their brutal elegance. If I have been artfully patronising it is because the circumstances demanded the utilisation of that particular tool. If I have been rude, it is because I believe that, in that moment, that is what my target is worthy of. If I have been dismissive, it’s because I am telling them they are dismissed. It’s simple really and no amount of finger wagging or lecturing will change that. Although it might result in a hearty ‘go fuck yourself backwards with an unsanded broomstick’.
I used to waste far too much of my time on time wasters. People who would engage me on a topic, not because they wished to have a conversation or discuss something but because they wished to share their poorly informed opinions and try to claim them as fact.
Now, I’m hardly an expert on many things and while like everyone, I form opinions on things I know little about and am quite happy to bandy them around as I please, when challenged by someone who is well informed, I’ll rapidly own up to my ignorance or indicate my lack of real interest in the subject. Everyone is certainly welcome to have an opinion and share it and I participate enthusiastically in that activity, but I do not expect my opinion to be considered fact.
When it is brought to my attention that my opinion is baseless or downright stupid, as it often is, I’ll ask for information if the person I am conversing with happens to have a true expertise in the area. Imagine that, choosing to be schooled by someone who knows stuff. What a novel fucking idea. If the person challenging me is, simply, like me, spouting off a poorly informed opinion, I’ll go off and do some research and inform myself so I can either smugly prove I’m correct, or so that I can discover that I’m wrong, allowing me the opportunity to apologise or backpedal depending on my level of respect for the other person. If bored and unimpressed with the subject, I might make a poop joke.
Here’s an example of how time wasters identify themselves, loosely based on conversations I encounter regularly. Consider this also to be a contribution to your early religious and sex education:
Person I shall condescend to (to be known as ‘idiot 1’): ‘Gays are disgusting and should be forced to behave like normal people’
Me: (attempt at not sighing and rolling eyes as even though my idiot alarm is tingling, I am still going to give them a little bit of rope) ‘Oh, why do you think gays are disgusting?’
idiot 1: ‘God says they are disgusting.’
Me: ‘So, it’s not your opinion that gays are disgusting, it’s something your personal deity has told you?’
idiot 1: ‘It’s obvious they are disgusting with all that nasty sex with their anus.’
Me: ‘So, really it’s you who thinks that gays are disgusting and you think so because they have anal sex?’
idiot 1: ‘Of course. It’s not natural and God made us to be natural and he doesn’t make mistakes.’
Me: ‘So if your god made us to be natural and he doesn’t make mistakes then aren’t gay people, made by your god, natural and perfect?’
idiot 1: ‘No they are unnatural and disgusting. The anus is not meant for sex.’
Me: ‘You certainly think about anal sex a lot. You do know that heterosexual people have a lot of anal sex too?’
idiot 1: ‘God made man for woman not man for man. It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’.
It is at this point the idiot alarm clangs at full volume and my response is likely to go something like this, depending of course on the time of day, my state of mind and whether I’ve had wine:
Me: ‘So the truth is that you think about anal sex more than your average person, you think gays are disgusting and exploit your personal deity to support your position and ultimately you are simply a bigoted idiot, who really isn’t worth my time or effort. Go fuck yourself. In the anus.’
Now that would seem rude and dismissive. That’s because it’s meant to be rude and dismissive. I’ve spent enough time on this planet to know when it is an absolute waste of my time to try to be logical, present facts, offer evidence, rationalise or try to find common ground. I trust my idiot alarm completely and it rarely fails me.
I had another conversation this week during which the person actually said ‘I don’t care what evidence you give to me, you won’t change my mind.’ Now I’m pretty grateful when someone says this early on as it saves even more time and I don’t have to depend on my trusty idiot alarm to tell me it’s time to condescend. I should admit, being outright rude and dismissive is the true conversation stopper. The condescension bit is for my own amusement as it often engages the person further because the truly idiotic don’t even realise that they are being condescended to for quite a while and it’s just so fun to see them huff and puff when the penny actually drops.
As you get older there are some conversations that will seem like deja vu to you as you’ll hear the same bell ringing statements over and over again. This is how your idiot alarm becomes so reliable. So, I’m going to list some of the commonly used statements that will alert you to the fact that you are under no obligation to attempt to be logical or polite to the person you are speaking to, unless, of course, they pay your bills:
1. As mentioned before – that ‘adam and steve’ one achieves a 10 out of 10 on the idiotometer.
2. ‘Guns don’t kill people.’ An old classic that never fails to fail.
3. ‘My parents gave me a sound beating whenever I did wrong and it did me no harm.’ Well, clearly it did.
4. ‘Why should I have to pay taxes for other people’s medical care and education?’ You can’t fix selfish. Why should I have to share oxygen with you?
5. ‘Immigrants steal all our jobs.’ When’s the last time you picked fruit for 12 hours a day in 90degree heat you fool?
6. ‘I don’t hate you. I love you and that’s why I’m trying to save you from spending eternity in hell for your sins.’ Fuck you.
7. ‘Marijuana is a gateway drug.’ Idiocy is a gateway behaviour.
8. OK, here I’m going to bundle a whole bunch together as they tend to all come from the same type of idiot – ‘Chemtrails, crisis actors, vaccines cause autism, (insert fruit here) cures cancer.’ Can’t even be bothered to comment. It’s that bad.
9. ‘Abortion is murder.’ You slept through your biology lessons.
10. ‘Cesar Millan is a dog trainer.’ Yeah, like Honey Boo Boo is a pageant queen.
(Look out for further steps to not wasting your life in my letter to your sister below.)
So my little nephew, there you have it. I will share a bit of Badass Auntie wisdom with you and urge you to hold off on the cynicism until you’re at least, oh, I don’t know – 10 years old or so. Before that, give people a bit of a chance and even try to convert idiots into sensible people from time to time. I believe it does occasionally work and can be worth the effort for those who still have the energy. I served my time, shared knowledge, argued people into agreement, submission or both when I was younger and even convinced people of things that in hindsight, were absolutely incorrect. Whoops.
Much love from your Badass Auntie
Today I wrote to your brother about why it’s sometimes not worth trying to educate people no matter how much you want to inform them and change their minds. I’m going to take this one step further and let you know how to identify useless friends.
When you’re really little, pretty much everyone likes you because you’re cute. Yes, of course, there are those few unfortunate little ones that are not cute, are terminally annoying and who adults have to fake like. I’ve had a few people tell me that there’s no such thing as an ugly baby or puppy. I’d agree on the latter part of that statement, but I have encountered ugly babies and it’s very disconcerting. I can honestly say that there is no such thing as an ugly puppy.
I always wonder if the parents know that their baby is ugly and are just keeping up the pretence or if parental love is truly blind and that all babies are beautiful to their parents. Anyway, I do find myself stumbling over my words when trying to be pleasant and complimentary to people with aesthetically unpleasing babies. I say things like ‘Wow! He doesn’t smell nearly as bad as other babies’. Over the years, I’ve learned that ugly babies usually grow out of it and become perfectly acceptable looking adults.
Getting back to the point, when you’re little, the only people you are worried about pleasing are yourself, most of all, and those who provide you with things that you like – which, really is about pleasing yourself. You give me ice cream and I’ll give you that gassy smile that you think is sincere. But, if a lady from down the road, who you don’t happen to know very well and who hasn’t given you ice cream, passes you on the street without greeting you, you’re probably not going to be offended.
But, be warned. As you grow into adolescence and your teen years, friends and being liked will become the focus of your existence. Or, at least, it will if you’re like most people that age. There are a few that pretend not to give a shit and develop rather cool airs and graces but the ones that truly don’t care are either probably medicated or possibly being given access to firearms and you should tread carefully around them.
As you grow older, if you are mentally healthy, you will gradually start to care less about what others, who don’t pay your bills, think of you. If you take after your Badass Auntie, you may have that genetic defect where you don’t give a shit what even the people who pay your bills think of you. It’s definitely a pure and honest position, but can make life difficult. You may still worry about your desirability to potential partners, even if you already have one, but even that will become less of a priority. You’ll start to believe eventually, that the quality of friendships is more important than the quantity.
The difficulty lies in finding the right balance with friends. As a Badass Auntie, I believe that there are certain important factors in a real friendship. They include attentiveness, support, good advice and loyalty. It’s also important that they know they are loved and appreciated. Because of the earlier sex ed lesson to your brother, I’m going to lay off the bits about friends bringing you food in jail, holding your hair back as you puke, coming with you to the family planning clinic and all of the other important things that they do so as not to shock you at your vulnerable young age. If your friends aren’t pulling their weight in these areas, you might have to do a review.
I have to admit that I review my friendships and their quality from time to time. Some friends get passes on certain things. It may be that we go way back and there is a geographic distance between us that means we only connect, even by email or Facebook, from time to time. Other friends I know have issues with their mental health and so their ability to participate varies depending on their current state of mind. Some of my friends are simply much busier than I am because they do amazing things like teach, raise foster children, rescue animals, stomp through jungles doing research or are busy dedicating themselves to saving the world in one tremendous way or another. All of the above get a pass. The rest don’t.
When it comes to a point in a friendship with someone that I notice that they aren’t making an effort, I used to get very insecure, blame myself and try even harder. Now that I’m older and, quite frankly, my friendship dance card is way overstocked, I can be so much fussier. So, when I do my review, I simply move names to the bottom of the list if they are failing in the friendship stakes and eventually, they will simply fall off the list. Do I feel sad? Sometimes. Usually, that rapidly turns to annoyed and irritated because I wasted time. Do I regret it? Never. So fuck the lazy arse bastard friends who don’t try.
Since I graced your brother with a helpful guide, I shall do the same for you. This one will help you identify the friends whose juice is just not worth the squeeze. There are a ton more, but these should get you started.
1. That old saying ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ is a good guide. A shit friend always accepts favours but is conveniently absent when you need one. If you can’t count on them to wipe your arse for you in an emergency, they aren’t worth shitting for.
2. Oversensitive people who always take things you say personally, hyper analyse things or think your jokes are inappropriate need to be kicked to the curb. This is something particularly acute when you write or blog. If any of my friends are reading this and start to believe it’s about you – it probably is.
3. Triangulators are toxic as hell. They are the kind that try to get in with one of your other close friends and then bitch about you. You’ll know when you have one of these around you when you start to avoid telling them about what’s happening in your life because you’d prefer not to provide them with a topic of conversation.
4. You have to justify your friendship with them to yourself and to your other friends because deep down, you know they are fuck wads. If you ever hear yourself saying something like ‘well I know he likes little girls, but he’s really smart’, slap yourself several times and dump the fucker. Try to get copy of his hard drive before you do though and hand it over to the po po.
5. They do not recognise your greatness. Fuck. If you have friends who do not recognise and validate your greatness, they don’t deserve you. Likewise, if you have friends who are not great enough for you to celebrate their greatness, then you have very low fucking standards.
There is another, sad category I’ve neglected and those are people who really, really, really want to be your friend, but it ain’t gonna happen. There was a time in the past when I might feel guilty and let them think they were my friend. Well, I can tell you this. That leads to a load of butthurt – and if you wonder what I mean by that, refer back to my blog all about butthurt. There’s nothing worse than the drama rama when people who think they are your good friends find out they are not. Being nice to acquaintances who have a fantasy friendship with you is a good way to nurture stalkers.
So, sweet niece of mine. My Badass Auntie wisdom for you today, based on years of research, is to ignore that old idiom ‘be friendly to most and friends with a few’. Instead, be polite and civil to many, friendly to a few and friends with a tiny group of the highest quality, hand-picked human beings you can find who are worthy of your brilliance because they are as fucking brilliant as you are. Friends are for forever, even more foreverish than the numerous people you’ll probably fall in love with. Falling in ‘friend’ should definitely be a lifelong commitment, so make sure that they are fucking worth the investment.
Much love from your Badass Auntie