Mz. Mannerz: Hi Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Time for another exciting edition of Mz. Mannerz!

Hi.

Who would have thought such a little word could inspire so much rage?  I mean, I would have thought that, but I fly into rage over someone misquoting lines from Caddyshack, so I’m a bad gauge of what’s rage-worthy.  You should probably talk to someone who doesn’t have a vein semi-permanently bulging out of their forehead if you want calm and well-thought out commentary on the matter.

I mean, goddamn it.  If you’re not gonna get the quote from the movie right, then don’t quote it.  You can’t just replace Bill Murray’s line “Big hitter, the Lama” with “The Lama is a big hitter” because you will have ruined the line.  RUINED IT.

As I will pontificate to anyone who will listen while I eat pizza:  Comedy is as much science as it is art.  Maybe more, even.  The order of the words counts.  Every word, change of tone, inflection, eyelid movement – it all counts.  It is 100,000 times more complex than drama, and I will stand by that until the day I die eating pizza.

Drama is so freaking easy, it annoys me to no end how much credit people get for it.  Oh no, they killed that character everybody liked and it was sad!  A lone tear falls from a sad British person’s face.  Cue violin music as people make stern facial expressions under overcast skies.  Black umbrellas.  HERE’S YOUR OSCAR.

Sad shit happens in real life all day, every day.  Making a movie about sad shit where the main take is, “That was sad!” is not the work of genius.  That’s just long-winded reality with a soundtrack.

You try killing off a character everybody likes and making it funny.  Craft a touching death scene to kazoo music.  Shoot Old Yeller with one of those guns that just unfurls a banner that says “Bang!” yet still preserve the integrity of the scene.  That shit is hard.  That shit takes finesse.  Watch “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of The Desert” for further reference.

Where was I?

The person who texts you with the word “Hi” followed by nothing is the most obnoxious person in the universe (besides guitar players, which I try to cover in every other blog post.  Try to keep up).

What this person has done with their lone “Hi” is start a conversation with you by immediately forcing you into an awkward silence, thereby drafting you to be the person who remedies it.  They’re not being folksy with their “Hi”, they have given you a J-O-B.

My whole life, I’ve had this desperate need to fill the awkward silences in conversations to make sure everyone is having a good time.  You might better recognize it as, “Good lord, you never shut up, do you?” but your better class of swap-shop psychologists would call it “codependency”.  I always try to have at least three universally interesting topics on-hand just in case an awkward silence happens.  I literally cannot take it when people seem uncomfortable.  It makes my palms sweat and my heart race.

The person who just sends “Hi” is the same person who when you respond with:

“Hey, what’s up?”

Will respond with “Nothing!” and then continue to sit there in silence.

GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH.  Why did you text me if you have jack jimmy squat to say???

Did you just want me to entertain you?  Because if that’s the case, feel free to say that right up front.  “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?”

Hey, schedule-permitting, I would be fine to tell you a knock knock joke.

Schedule-permitting.

Also, my schedule does not permit that ever, so if you want to be a wisenheimer and text me and say, “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?” your text will be deleted and you will be immediately put on “The List”.

Is “The List” a good list or a bad list?

You tell me.  Do you think something that I refer to as “The List” is a good thing?  Take a moment.  Really think that over while you look at my prom picture:

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It was a magical  night.

I’m not filling awkward silences anymore.  If you text me a “Hi” followed by jack jimmy squat, guess what you’re getting back?  Jack.  Jimmy.  Squat.

I will wait you out, joke-a-cola.  I will let that “Hi” lie there like a corpse if I have to.  I refuse to participate in your senseless games.  I won’t do it.  The ball-rolling is now your job.

Unless a full ten seconds go by, and then my palms will start sweating and I’ll tell you about that time my best friend Anne and I went on a date with five Moroccan contortionists and fire-eaters at Epcot when we were 19 and when I called my mother beforehand to brag about it, she yelled, “DON’T YOU MARRY ANY OF THEM! THOSE MOROCCANS TREAT THEIR WIVES LIKE PROPERTY!” because that shit is universally entertaining.

So!  To summarize:

  1.  Don’t quote the movie if you don’t actually know the quote.
  2.  Comedy is harder than drama.
  3.  There should ideally be a give-and-take in successful human communications.
  4.  Don’t tell my mother that you’re going on a date with Moroccan fire-eaters and contortionists.
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That Mighty Mighty Bosstones t-shirt I’m wearing never failed to attract inordinately flexible Northwest Africans.

Mz. Mannerz: The Fauxpology Prodigy

It’s time for another exciting installment of Mz. Mannerz!  Go put on a codpiece and brace yourself.  Like you weren’t already wearing one anyway.

The fake apology, or as it is often called, the fauxpology.  One of the more entertaining things a person can receive.  You could write it out as “Faux pas-logy” but that’s just confusing, so just go along with me here.

As you know, I had many years of experience dating scumbag musicians because for some reason or another I used to think I was worthless, so I’ve probably received more fauxpologies than most people, including such golden hits as…

“Hey, you know what?  I’m sorry you had to pay to get the electric turned back on again, but do you even care that I finally beat Grand Theft Auto Vice City while you were at work today?”

“Sorry you’re all ‘boo-hoo sad’ with your trust issues because I haven’t told my parents about us.  I’m doing you a favor.  If my mother knew I was living at your house for the past two years she would think you were a tramp and weren’t good enough for me.”

“Well, sorry if you have to get up early for work, but I’m having a good time and I’m not ready to go home yet.  Go sleep in the car if you’re tired.”

And yes, I walked out to a bar parking lot alone at 1am to sleep in my car.  My car that I had driven him to the bar in, because he had no car and no job, yet he felt he was the person in charge of when we would be leaving the bar.  Feel free to mentally transport yourself to the past and punch him in the dick.

…so I consider myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur of the fauxpology.

Now that I’m away from that horrific horseshittery, I find these fauxpologies almost endearing in hindsight.  They really are the gift that pretends to keep on giving.

There’s really only one correct way to say that you’re sorry:

  • By clearly stating that you are sorry for doing the shitty thing.

That’s the formula, in case you’re taking notes.

My god, please tell me you’re taking notes.  This website could self-destruct at any moment and then where would you be?  How would you know that the preferred Sheen/Estevez is actually Judd Nelson?

Here’s what an apology is not:

“Sorry if there were hurt feelings.”

This is what I like to call a “non-ownership” fauxpology.  For one thing, you couldn’t even be sincere enough to add the “I’m” before the word “sorry”?  That’s red flag number one that you’re not even remotely sorry.

The usage of the word “if” is another good indicator.  When you’re apologizing to someone, that means that they DO have hurt feelings.  There’s no question as to “if” they have hurt feelings.

And who’s hurt feelings are we even talking about here?  Because you didn’t mention anything about them being mine!  What you’ve done is just semi-apologized to the air, on behalf of the air.  You somehow managed to remove both of us from the entire equation, and questioned the notion that there were any hurt feelings to begin with.  Try again, shitass.

“I’m sorry you got your feelings hurt.”

I said try again.  That means try something different.  Not try the same damn bullshit again.

“I’m sorry that you’re so sensitive!”

Here’s the thing.  Do you want to have friends?  Would you like for people to be genuinely happy to see you?  Then when you do something shitty to them and they say, “Hey, that was shitty,” whether you intended to be shitty or not, you freaking apologize to them.  This is not cause for a debate over whether or not you feel they had a right to be upset about something you said or did – something that has clearly upset them either way.  Just apologize.  It goes something like this:  “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”  <—— Don’t cost nothin’!  AND DON’T SNEAK AN “IF” IN THERE.

“I’m sorry you took it that way.”

This is most often said when someone has said or done something so egregious that it’s undeniable, and now they’re basically trolling you.  This is how someone fauxpologizes after you get upset when they tell you, “Wow, you’ve really packed on weight since the last time I saw you!” or “Unlike you, I actually clean my house.”  There’s only one “way” to take those statements.  They were meant to be insulting.

“I SAID I WAS SORRY, OKAY?!”

See, now you’re yelling.  You’re yelling at someone who you’ve already wronged once.

Sometimes you can do something so super shitty that no amount of apologizing is going to make it better.  Sometimes it’s a sting that will take time to fade.  Sometimes it’s something unforgivable.  If someone is still upset after you apologize, that is not your cue to yell at the person.  That is your cue to figure out what you can possibly do to make it right, if anything, or just leave them alone and respect their space.

And people don’t have to actually accept your apology.  It’s not just a given in the apology transaction.  When you apologize, you are asking someone for forgiveness.  You don’t get to demand it from them.

So!  To summarize:

Stop being a dick and just say you’re sorry.

“Well, when I was on the debate team in high school…”

I SAID STOP BEING A DICK.

Mz. Mannerz: I Am Fine If We Pretend We Don’t See Each Other

I’ve decided to start a regular-ish thing called “Mz. Mannerz.”  It will feature exciting content about how we can all be less of a jerkass in our daily lives.  Dissenting opinions will be printed out, put through a shredder, and used to line the cage of an angry rabbit that I have not yet acquired named “Dr. Stabbers”.  This is a dictatorship and will be governed accordingly.

Here’s the first installment!  Try to control yourself.

So there’s this person I don’t like.  He is my current Nemesis (I keep a rotating cast of enemies a la Nixon).  What he did to gain that ranking isn’t important, just know that he totally sucks and is completely outer limits rude and disrespectful, and if you had the misfortune of ever meeting him in person, I have zero doubt that you would agree that he is a universal double turdburger with cheese.

The thing that drives me the most insane about Nemesis, is that even though we do not get along AT ALL, he feels the need to barge up to me any time he sees me at a restaurant, a concert, even just walking down the street, to wave frantically and say hello to me.

And touch me.

Did I mention the touching?

I have watched in slow-motion horror as he’s sprinted across a city block to flag me down and touch me.

Ohh well, you see, even though I have instructed Nemesis on no less than five occasions, in no uncertain terms and with a look of death on my very married face, that he is NOT to touch me, there he is.  Touching me.  You would think that my glaring at his hand and through gritted teeth saying, “Do NOT touch me.” would do it, but nope!  Apparently, Nemesis feels completely entitled to touch me even though I could not be more clear that it is not okay to touch me.  WHO DOES THAT?

Also?  I am not “ha-ha don’t touch me” laughing when I say this to Nemesis.  There are no mixed signals here.  I am openly hostile to him.  When he approaches me, I take this particular stance.  NOT THAT HE CARES.

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Self-portrait, 2019.

This is to say, Nemesis is very aware that I don’t like him.  The feeling is mutual – I can assure you he doesn’t like me, either.  Yet there I am, trying to run twenty rows back at the movie theater, hoping that he won’t see me when I realize he’s sitting in the fifth row.

Oh, he’ll see me.  He ALWAYS sees me.

Sometimes he yells out my name from across the street and I pretend I don’t hear him.  That’s when he starts sprinting towards me.

Can’t we just pretend that we don’t see each other??

So here’s the thing.  Nemesis is certainly not the first person who has done this to me, and I’m sure you’ve probably had plenty of people do it to you, too.  The person you can’t stand – who knows you can’t stand them – who can’t ever see you out in public and just LET IT GO.

It’s like every ex who feels the need to come up to you and say hello every.single.time they see you in public, even though your relationship was a flaming napalm toilet of shame that ended with you smashing the original tapes of his early recordings with a hammer on your back porch after you found out he never stopped cheating on you from the first day you started dating until the last, routinely stole money from your purse, and went to Ireland for a month and came back with a permanent Irish accent and started calling french fries “chips” even though he was from Colorado.

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Fairy godmother.

Oh man, did that guy have it coming.  Trust me.  This was the same guy who gave me a secondhand rock for Christmas.

“Well, I saw you from the other side of the club…”

Then stay on that side of the club!

Now you’ve just made it awkward for both of us!  Yes, I saw you when I came in, and I am totally okay with neither of us acknowledging each other’s existence.  I am so, so 100% willing to pretend I didn’t see you.  I am so, so 100% okay with you pretending you didn’t see me.  Let’s pretend to not see each other together!

“I figured we could act like adults and at least say hello when we see each other.”

No thanks!  I’d really, really, mega prefer that we behave like pissy teenagers who pretend the other person no longer exists!  I’m fine with that.  Please, by all means, let’s not act like adults!  Acting like adults is highly overrated!

So!  To summarize:

  • Don’t ever, ever touch anyone who has told you that it’s not okay to touch them.
  • If you’re not actually friends with someone, feel free to just leave them alone when you see them enjoying a nice dinner out.
  • Just because you dated someone ten years ago doesn’t mean you have to chase them down to say hello, especially if the reason your relationship ended was because you were a nuclear asshole.  Let it go and let that other person live their goddamned life.

Sincerely,

Mz. Mannerz