Mz. Mannerz: The Cow in The Parking Lot

Oh man!  It’s time for another edition of Mz. Mannerz!  Drop that Crunchwrap Supreme, put on some pants for heaven’s sake, and let’s DO THIS THING!

One of the things I’ve come to terms with through my personal studies in anger management is that people rarely get out of bed in the morning and say, “What can I do to go out of my way to really annoy people today?”

That sort of malicious attitude is rare, unless we’re talking about Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber, or Justin Bieber’s face.

I try to live my life in a proactive manner, so I figure it’s better to read up on anger management before a court orders me to do so.  Some books are better than others, but I recently read a great book on the topic called The Cow in The Parking Lot by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston.  It did a really great job of re-framing the annoying things people do – the things that make me nearly implode with rage every day.  I highly recommend it if you’re a pissy little so-and-so.  It’s completely changed my perspective.

I mean, I still get angry when someone makes me wait with my engine idling while they spend three minutes backing into a parking space when it would have taken ten seconds if they just parked front-in, but I don’t let it ruin my day anymore.

Most of the time.

It’s hard to live in a state of outrage your entire life and then just quit cold-turkey.

Most people are just bumming around, doing whatever they do and not even thinking about it.  Like cows in a parking lot.  If you saw a cow doing any of the annoying things that people do, you’d probably be tickled by it and say, “Oh man!  Check out that cow!  Isn’t that hilarious?”

People aren’t going out of their way to do things to personally annoy you.  They’re just doing them and not even really realizing it.

To that end, I’ve compiled the list below, outlining some of these annoying things that people may not “realize” that they’re doing.  You know, as a “courtesy”.  To let them “know”.

For”

“their”

“information”.

And please – feel free to add to it in the comments.  There are tons of things I left out.  Keep it light, you filthy beasts.  I have no desire to argue foreign policy.  As it is, for the past three years I haven’t been able to turn on the news without having to take a tranquilizer and breathe into a paper bag.

Here we go!

a.  Tapping your foot on a clackety floor, tapping a pencil on a desk, tapping your 80s acrylic porno nails on a counter, or tapping any other thing on a tappy surface.  I know a person who does this – sometimes for hours on-end – while I’m ten feet away trying to dissect complicated contracts, and it destroys my concentration and makes me want to scream and/or dig a hole and lie in it.  I have literally broken into a cold sweat and had to leave the room, it’s that disruptive.

b.  Bum-rushing an elevator door to get in the moment the door opens, and then acting surprised that someone is coming out of the elevator as you slam directly into them.  “Oh!  Sorry!”  Do you honestly think that there’s NO CHANCE somebody might be getting out of that elevator?

c.  Along those lines, walking down a crowded sidewalk, going at the same speed at everyone else, and then stopping dead in your tracks so that everyone behind you slams into each other.  Bonus points if you do this on a staircase in an airport or a subway, where people are also carrying large objects and trying to get somewhere in a timely fashion.

d.  Leaving someone a voicemail that says, “Oh!  Looks like I missed you.  I’ll try you back in a little while!”  Do you have any idea the amount of time and steps and button-pushing and secret codes and shit I have to dial into my phone in order to check my voicemail, only to receive a message that says you’ll try me again later?  The only voicemail worth leaving is, “The police know.  You need to pack up that chatty parrot of yours and leave town NOW.”

e.  Walking into a restroom with ten empty stalls, and then taking the one directly next to mine.  Don’t YOU enjoy personal space? I know I certainly do.  Choose ANY OTHER STALL besides the one directly next to a person – especially if there are ten open stalls.  It reminds me of every time I go to the beach and there’s nobody for miles, and right after I set my stuff up, the most irritating people on the planet come walking down the sand and plop their piles of stuff down six inches away from me.  Go sit ANYWHERE that’s not six inches away from me.  You have a mile of open beach, for god’s sake.

f.  The fact that I can’t go to the movies in 2019 without people talking at full volume in the theater is mind-boggling to me.  Mind-boggling.  I wish theaters would replace their polite “Please be respectful of others by not talking during the movie” with something waaaaay more blatant.  Something like, “If you talk in the movie – which has NEVER been an okay thing to do – it means you are a jerkface dillhole and everyone in here will hate your guts until the end of time, so shut up.  No, really, we’re not kidding here.  It’s two hours.  Watch the movie and SHUT UP.”

g.  Pushing a shopping cart in a forward motion while having your head turned completely the other way.  Do you think the store is so large, so vast, so vacant, that’s there’s no possibility that you’ll hit someone with your cart because you’re not watching where you’re going?  Same for rounding corners with your cart at 80mph and acting surprised that there’s someone on the other side when you almost mow them down.

“But Mz. Mannerz!  I didn’t know that was annoying!”

WELL NOW YOU DO.

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If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the warm feeling of superiority when someone gets a trivia question about The Love Boat wrong, have an ax to grind with people who describe themselves as “bubbly”, or are just looking for newer and better ways to pretend you’re working while you’re at work, click the “Follow” button on the side here and you’ll get an email any time I post something on this godforsaken blog, usually about once a week.  Sometimes it’s twice a week, but only when I’m feeling particularly sassy and/or have run out of chicken fingers dipping sauce options.

It’s one of my personal favorites and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today.” – Ferris Bueller

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.