Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two little words that nobody says

Two little words. There are two little words, NOT three (the ones written on those cheap heart-shaped boxes of candy from the drug store) or four (the ultimate, shining, tinsel-coated four that cause men to get down on one knee at hockey arenas with the Jumbotron on them). I never hear these two little words any more, and in fact I can’t even remember the last time I heard them.

If someone is offensive to you, if someone says something rotten, if someone hurts your feelings with the nastiest thing they can possibly say, what generally happens? What does the offender say, if they bother to say anything at all?

“Oh, I didn’t know you were so sensitive.” (or, alternately, “Jeez, stop being so sensitive!”)

“You obviously don’t know how to receive feedback (or, alternately, “You need to work on your ability to receive feedback”).

“I was only trying to help you” (with your bad breath, terrible cooking, lousy taste in clothes, etc.)

“I just don’t see how you can be so ungrateful” (for all this help!).

“How dare you accuse me of saying something so mean!”

“What’s the matter with you? Why are you so neurotic?”

“It was a joke! (your taste in music, movies, art, people). Don’t you have a sense of humor?”

“Oh, no, you misunderstood me. I would never say anything like that” (you’re fat, you’re boring, you’re lousy in bed).

“Well, I’d never react that way. I always receive criticism as a compliment to my ability to change in a healthy, positive direction.”

"I know I'm right, but if you really need me to say it. . . "

"Well, what do you want me to say?"

"I didn't say that."

"You made it up."

“You’re just playing the victim.”

“You made me do it.”

“You owe me an apology.”

“Oh, but this is karma.”

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“Criticism is just God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

“Here, read this book.”

“Here, read this book.”

“Here, read this book.”

For some reason, every nation in the world has turned to Teflon. NO ONE takes responsibility any more, for anything. To do so is so rare that it is seen as almost freakish.

Just when do people learn these baroque twists and turns, these arabesques which slip and slide them out of any necessity for owning up to saying something personally hurtful? We all know the advantages in this system. It means people can spew out the meanest, most venomous comments and then turn the blame around and aim it at the victim. Yes, victim. If someone has a poison dart thrown at them, they are a victim, though the word now has such negative connotations that it's seen as an insult in itself.

A victim of someone else's verbal cruelty does not deserve to have their own protests shoved back down their throat. Nevertheless, it happens all the time, along with all the other popular flip-flops practiced by the heartless. No one “makes” anyone do anything abusive, but this is something you hear over and over again from the thugs that make everyone else's life so utterly wretched.

I have seen people behave abominably because they hurt me. You see, I am not allowed to say anything. Ever. If I do say something, THEY flip out, act as if they have been horribly abused. "How could you do this to me?" Then the shivering little rabbit, limping after being so badly kicked, crawls under the bed.

I have a remedy for all this twisted shit, and it is very simple, though not (apparently, or people would do it once in a while) easy. It’s only two words, and once they’re out, you can run and go gargle with mouthwash and then go home.

"I’m sorry."

Not, “Even though I know I was right, I guess I’m. . . “

Not, “Even though I know you’re way too sensitive, I guess I’m. ..”

Two little words.

And that’s all.