Thank you all for your kind responses to my last post. I was worried about being obnoxious, like all those parents who tell you that their kid is an honor student (just kidding!)
I do know people who feel threatened even by those honor-student bumper stickers. (Which doesn’t make sense to me, but so much about people doesn’t.) Y’know, it generally is better for the parents to be proud than not, and it’s better to be an honor student than a slack-off. It’s socially acceptable for people to have logos of sports teams on their vehicles, shirts, bodies, etc., even if they have no connection at all to the team and don’t play on it or have kids who play on it . . . and that doesn’t bother anyone. I even get a kick out of the “My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student” stickers, though I wouldn’t want anyone to take that one at all seriously. Happens too often already.
I had thought there must be more people who are secure enough that it doesn’t bother them for Cousin Idgie to say, “I brought the potato salad to the Mensa picnic” (“We prefer red potatoes and dillweed up here”), or for Uncle Rascal to write, “I have a circle of great friends who support my efforts, and I got a pony for my birthday!” And it turns out that there are. I think the snotty ones who go around making snide asides to others are the ones who are spending too much time worrying about appearances and making themselves feel better by putting others down. That doesn’t work for very long, really; why not try feeling better about yourself by being unexpectedly gracious and nice? You’ll get used to it. As Charles Schulz said through Lucy Van Pelt, “Smile . . . it’ll drive people crazy wondering what you’re up to!”
Sometimes people *do* use this stuff to intimidate others or shut them up. I can think of one useful example.
My mother’s previous diagnostician used to preface important statements with, “When I was at Hopkins. . . .” I’d always come in with questions and various suggestions as to what might be helpful and what worked for her before, and he’d always fix me with his gaze and say, “When I was at Hopkins, we saw a few cases of pernicious anemia like this, and we found it’s best to [zamma zamma zamma].” This was, I’m pretty sure, meant to put me into my place as the Mere Patient and let me know that he knew best, and sometimes that certain natural remedies were dumb. I still liked him. He was by far the best-looking doctor we have had (he was a playboy, too), and he used to snap your bra when he was listening to your cough.
The point was, though, that he had done his internship back East at a research facility and he’d gone to Johns Hopkins . . . he wasn’t just making this stuff up. I got the message, but I still thought it was funny (humorous). He did agree that it was OK for us to take green tea and bilberry supplements, though.
Nowadays, when Mama keeps asking me if so-and-so is thinking *this*, or why would Cousin Flaky do that awful thing–she has this terrible habit of asking me to tell her what other people are thinking, and I can’t read their minds any better than she can, so she gets mad when I can’t give a definitive answer, *grin*–I just say, “When I was at Hopkins, we didn’t study that,” and she gets it.
The doctor we have now was a National Merit Scholar (another no-no to mention, yet I defy convention) and relates to patients differently. He listens to the stuff about natural cures and says that if they don’t interfere with what he’s recommended, go ahead and do ’em. He put us on CoQ10 because it forms a synergistic partnership with other drugs we’re on and helps the heart. (Mine breaks so easily that I figure it needs all the help it can get.) I tease him about looking like Shakespeare. (I mean, like the most widely accepted portrait of the Bard.) We have too much fun at our three-month check-ins for type II diabetes. His wife came to both of my book signings. We bring his kids little presents from the Dollar Tree on occasion. He’s smart, too.
Everybody has different ways about ’em. That’s what makes life interesting.
But if your “way” is to be snide and sarcastic (and I’m not talking about in fun, like Miss Snark, but deadly serious, like others), maybe it’s time to try on a new way. Is it really reflecting positively on you to announce that you “hate some people on sight” and that you’d like to “put that person in his place”? A goodly number of people see that stuff as revealing more about who YOU are than about the person you are putting down. Because the way the “correction” is presented makes it obvious that you are merely heaping scorn and derision on whatever it is that hasn’t struck your fancy. On the other hand, there are people who get called “Sunshine” for a reason, because they have a positive way of looking at things. “Oh, I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by that,” is one of Sunshine’s reactions to a perceived snub or slight. Sunshine is happier than Putdown Guy.
But you don’t have to take it THAT far. Just moving the dial over a few notches from dark to light can make a lot of difference in the taste of the toast.
I *try* to keep my meter needle near the middle. But if I slip, well, that’s what we keep the Extra Strength Formula 409 spray bottle around for. The “unscented apologies” flavor. Taste better now?