Further to my recent posts on office psychos, I’m still thinking through my Unified Theory of Global Dickheads. I’m sure that’s a Nobel Prize in the making. According to several studies I’ve read, about 1 in 100 people are full on psychopath/sociopaths and 1 in 20 suffer from diagnosable Anti-Social Personality Disorder. My own unscientific observations lead me to believe about 1 in 10 people are just jerks
I think that the biggest difference between a pychopath and a jerk is that a psychopath can’t change and a jerk doesn’t want to change. Jerks behave in ways that normal humans find objectionable. Their cunning approach is to be so obnoxious that we either have to let them have their way or essentially fight fire with fire – be obnoxious right back.
The thing is, if you’re a decent human, you don’t want to spend much time being obnoxious. It actually feels bad. While it’s worth shouting down a jerk every now and then, they like to put us in positions where our lives will essentially be miserable if we retaliate. I’ve noticed this behaviour more and more lately.
This behaviour is far too widespread to be limited to the people who are statistically likely to have Anti-Social Personality Disorder. This is where my theory on the preponderance of jerks comes from. I think being a jerk is pretty much learned behaviour – they see that when they’re a colossal jerk, people often let them get their own way just to shut them up.
But you know what? Jerks really hate it when you call them out for being jerks. It’s actually fun to watch them squirm but they’ll rarely admit they were at fault. Just today I was on a really crowded tram. So crowded in fact that when I got on I basically couldn’t move far past the doorway. That didn’t bother me too much because I wasn’t staying on for very long.
Each stop at least one person would get on and/or off which involved some creative squirming away for me and a few other to accommodate the people who were entering/leaving. Finally, we approached my stop and I stood by the door waiting for the tram to stop. A woman who wanted to get off as well evidently decided she didn’t want to wait for the door to open and shoved past me while the tram was still moving. She actually elbowed me in the stomach!
As I got off the tram behind her I decided to communite my displeasure and the following exchange took place:
ME: Yeah, thanks for that.
SHE: I needed to get off.
ME: So did I, why the hell did you elbow me in the stomach deliberately?
SHE: You wouldn’t get out of the way.
ME: The tram hadn’t stopped, I couldn’t get out of the way.
SHE: You shouldn’t have been in the way.
ME: There was nowhere else to stand. Besides, like I said, I was waiting to get off too.
SHE: I didn’t know that, you were just in the way.
ME: Well, here’s a novel idea – try saying “Excuse me” before elbowing me in the stomach!
SHE: And I suppose you would have moved if I’d said that.
ME: No, I would have told you I was getting off at this stop.
SHE: So, I was meant to just wait behind you?
ME: YES, YOU BEHIND ME IN THE FUCKING TRAM OF COURSE YOU WERE MEANT TO LET ME GET OFF FIRST! WHY THEY FUCK IS THAT SO FUCKING DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND?
Actually, I may have said “fuck” more times than that. For some reason, the conversation ended awkwardly at that point.
A love letter to the haters
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