In an effort to get my writing out to national readership, I’m in the process of pitching stories to Cracked.com, one of my favorite humor sites. Here is one I submitted, that didn’t quite make the cut, so I figured I’d post it here. Apparently my writing was fine, but my observations need to be more surprising. I’m still hunting for good topics—if you have any, feel free to share!
7 Situations Where Being Polite Gets You Nowhere
We all know we’re supposed to be polite. Hold the door for the person behind you, don’t tell children to go fuck themselves when they bump into you accidentally, etc. But how often do we stop to think about why we’re expected to be so damn polite and cordial all the time? Let’s face it. Using a cushion of polite polish leads to nothing but miscommunication and unhappiness. That’s right—politeness is in fact the devil. Politeness never got anyone anywhere—except maybe Mother Theresa, and well, she’s dead. Let’s get something straight. Politeness is different than being civil or using common courtesy. Civility comprises the basic human decency clauses like tipping your waiter even if he does a less than stellar job, not barking at customer service reps over the phone, and of course not barking at your mailman (that dude deals with enough dogs already). Politeness is the fake ass bullshit representative of southern belles and sorority girls.
“Oh, I love your outfit!” really means “You stupid slut. I made out with your boyfriend last week!”
Don’t get us wrong—there are times when politeness has it’s perks (brown-nosing to get a job promotion, convincing a girl to give you an HJ on the subway, etc.), but the point is that it’s fake. It’s time to stop succumbing to the power of politeness. Just look at it there, waving it’s hand at the crazy cat lady down the street, holding the elevator for a smelly old man, and the most tragic occurrence—saying “how are you?” when you can’t even force your ears to listen long enough for the response. It’s time someone wrangled the polite patrol and smacked in it’s stupid smiling face. The following is a catalog of the top X situations in which politeness takes more than it gives. Beware.
1. The Office
Everyone’s always pussyfooting around the office. You know, EVERYONE. What for? Why sit around waiting for that promotion? Go up and ask your boss for that raise! Don’t take any excuses or waiting periods. Just tell it like it is, you young go-getter. Contrary to your mother’s and girlfriend’s beliefs, we know you ARE worth a damn!
See, everyone’s happy. Everyone.
Or maybe you’re the one who has something to say about your boss’s performance. Why not go ahead and say it? You know that asshole would take any chance to tell you how shitty of a job he thinks you’re doing (so long as the conversation ends with a catty “okay, um…thanks!”). Next time you see that guy, just run right up to him and say, “Hey, I don’t want to offend you or anything, but you’re completely incapable of doing your job and perhaps of being a functional human being. I just thought you should know.” But what do we as a society do instead? Sit there and compliment his ugly shirt.
This over-polite syndrome isn’t just a disease of the adults. It catches the younger ones, too. Kids these days, am-I-right? Apparently, besides having the ill foresight to graduate during a “tough economic time”, they also sit back and accept their current shitty situation instead of doing the proactive work to change it. So much that some are calling them “Gen whY me?” Shit, do you a-holes really need another useless “Gen ____” nickname? We get it, work blows balls. But out here in the REAL WORLD we’re pessimistic enough to know that you’ve gotta blow some balls in order to be truly successful. And no, success cannot be defined by just doing “whatever I want” from the comfort of your mom’s couch with a never-ending supply of crustless PB&J sandwiches. So, pick up the pace, you hippies. Instead of being “Gen whY does God hate me so much?” how about trying “Gen I’m going to take control of mY life and be direct” on for size? It doesn’t have quite the same ring, but who the fuck cares. You’re not here to be Miss Polly Polite anymore. (Not to be confused with Polly Pocket, who is fucking awesome.) How about you go polish up that resume, hit the cruel jobless streets and somehow sabotage the other candidates from getting the job you really want. That’s taking steps in the proactive, albeit impolite, direction.
2. At home with your lazy, shitty roommates
We’ve all been there. With the average age for marriage on the rise and prolonged college years, the time spent living with non-sexual-partner roommates grows longer and longer. Everyone was raised differently and has a different idea of the term “clean.”
When shit gets smelly, you really want to say “Hey this house smells like a trash can! Actually, worse than a trash can! And it’s because of you!” But all you can muster is a flimsy, “Oh it’s fine if you can’t do your dishes until next month. We’re all so busy!” The shit of it all is that you’re stuck living with the person for at least the end of the lease term, so you’ve got to find a way to confront them for the sake of your sanity and your sex life (no one wants to bone in a trash-scented home). We recommend posting passive aggressive photos on a blog. After all, pictures say more than words in this situation, and everyone has a different definition of dirty.
If you really want to be direct about it, try going all machete over your roommate’s ass like this guy.
“Honey, would you mind not slapping me in the face every time you get jealous? Love you!”
One in four women are abused at some point in their lifetime. Sure, there are millions more reasons women get stuck in abusive relationships than being too polite. But sometimes it’s hard to just ask the a-hole who’s clenching your throat shut to go ahead and get the fuck off. Probably something to do with not being able to breathe. This partially relates back to an upbringing of women being trained to be polite, no matter what!
4. “Casual” Encounters
Strange situations with creepy customer service people.
5. Homeless People
If you give a homeless person a cookie…he’s going to poop all over it. Don’t get us wrong, we know some people were dealt a pretty shitty hand in the game of life. And helping poor people is great, yadda yadda. But, if you’re overly polite and courteous to that nice toothless man sitting next to you, you might find him shitting all over the fountain where you love to sit and listen to the trickling water.
Planes piss people off. Period. Airports are full of inefficiencies, but mostly it’s being around a bunch of equally pissed off people that causes tension. Then when you finally get on the place, you’re cramped into a tight space, stacking a bunch of stressed out people together like pancakes. Only this brunch smells like old people farts, stale air and whatever-the-guy-next-to-you-is-eating. While actual flight delays are decreasing, complaints are on the rise. Rather than be polite and put up with some bullshit for a long, grueling flight, why not just tell your plane neighbor what’s up.
7. Smiling at Other Peoples’ Kids When You Really Want to Slap Them
We are constantly telling children to “be polite” but at the same time to “be themselves” using honesty and leadership. Let’s lead by example and tell that little dick what you really think of his ability to sing the ABC’s.