Friday, June 26, 2009

Warning: Asshole is mentioned 14 times in this post

In law school I took an Arbitration and Mediation course. About 1/3 of our entire grade in the class was based on a “conflict diary” we were required to keep. The Prof wanted us to THINK about conflicts. We were to write about conflicts in our everyday lives, discussing what caused them, how they got resolved, how we felt about them, etcetera etcetera. Most people blew off this assignment, and the day before it was due, sat down to write out 25 instances of conflict – therefore filling their psyches with anger, annoyance, dread… a sort of negative mental itchiness that made everyone act like major assholes the next day.

I, however, was better organized than that, and kept my diary all semester long. I was able to choose 25 of the best entries out of about 45 total. I filled my psyche with anger, annoyance and dread on a regular basis, and was a major asshole the entire semester, albeit on a more watered down basis. It was worth it for the GPA pumping A- I earned in the class.

This all came back to me today, as I struggle with my desire to verbally tear someone from asshole to ear lobe. I’m not the type who has to worry about violent physical urges. I’m smaller than most folks, and I don’t run very fast, so I’ve developed the useful skill of tearing someone down in such a sweet, Southern Belle way that they don’t realize they’ve been insulted until later. I’m incredibly patient with most people – ask anyone who has seen me with my rotten children – and I’ve been incredibly long suffering with today’s asshole. I will continue to refer to this person as Today’s Asshole, as I don’t want to identify this person, have you insult him/her too, and thus water down the disdain I plan to continue heaping on him/her today.

If I were writing out this conflict for a graded “conflict diary”, here’s what I might say:
I approached Today’s Asshole this morning in an attempt to collaborate on a project, despite the fact that I was not at all looking forward to this prospect. Today’s Asshole didn’t even pretend to be happy – or even tolerant – of me standing there in the doorframe suggesting a course of action. Today’s Asshole then ignored my suggestions in favor of insulting the quality of what s/he assumed was my past performance. However, the critique turned out to be about someone else’s work. It was then that I realized that the authorship of that criticized work was obvious to anyone who had paid attention , and that Today’s Asshole seemed to be looking for a way to attack my confidence, thus establishing her/himself as holding a higher position in this anticipated “collaboration” – in effect turning the collaboration into Me doing what Today’s Asshole wanted me to do. I declined her/his interpretation and informed Today’s Asshole of what s/he was to do instead, given that collaboration seemed impossible (due to her/his negative attitude). I assumed the leading role that Today’s Asshole had tried to wrestle from me, but in the future will attempt to avoid collaborating with this individual, as it is bound to be unproductive.

If I were standing outside chain smoking cigarettes and blowing off steam with my girlfriend from down the way, here’s what I might say:
B*&%h – don’t even! Can you believe this (&#%? We’re almost done with this freaking thing – and So and So tells me to sort out the remainder with Today's Asshole. So I suck it up and go down there and she’s all like “What the (^$& – I’m trying to get my (*%^ done and you’re all, like, &%$@ing it up!” And I’m like “that wasn’t me – pay attention Ho-bag. That was So and So." I’m all biting my tongue cause I wanna roast her and I’m like “just give me half this *!@$ and shut up.” And she’s all “I don’t think so cause look what happened last time!” and I’m all, “okay, thanks for cooperating – I’ll take the second half” then I rush down the hall and email So and So and it’s a done deal. Pissy little know it all! Like I haven’t been doing this so much longer. What the hell is her problem?

I have kept my mouth shut about all of this so far. But I am planning my revenge in a very feminine, sneaky way. Perhaps I will purposely burn popcorn in the microwave. Which is in the kitchen right across from her office. Perhaps I should compliment her – “Honey, you look like you’re losing weight! You almost fit back into those skinny pants you’re wearing!” I could suggest to the gossipy chick that Today’s Asshole must be having a rough time at home – she’s looking kind of sad. That way it’ll get around and everyone will treat her with kid gloves and she’ll wonder what the hell is going on and be uncomfortable all day in a vague “I can’t put my finger on it" kind of way.

Or perhaps I should just grow up and do what I’m supposed to do – ignore the nastiness, get my job done and forget about it. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll grow up. I’ll do my half of the work quickly and well. And I really will. But I’ll vent about it over the internet in a completely catty way first.


  1. remind me to NEVER piss you off. i think you're doing the right thing... but I would chose the childish path and do one of the things you already suggested or an equally sneaky and underhanded thing that could never be traced back to me! Loved this post :D

  2. Can you grow up AND tell the office gossip something must be wrong at home? that sounds like so much fun!