“I can’t stand it…I know ya planned it…”

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image Every egocentrist feels that the cosmos are out to get him or her. There’s always some grand plan by “The Gods” to screw up whatever it is that person has going on. And while I don’t believe myself to be terribly egocentric, nor do I feel that my plans have been thwarted at every turn, the older I get, the more I realize how unfair the world really is.

Of course I’ll explain.

I have a temper. Most people don’t see it, but when I was 14, I put my fist through a door in our house and told my dad I fell down the stairs. I’m not sure he bought it…in fact, knowing how wise I am now about kids, I KNOW he didn’t buy it. But all my life I’ve struggled with letting things go. I’m very competitive and I think the fact that for many years I struggled to make a name for myself in the corporate world, without a college degree, caused me to square off against other people’s stupidity–especially when I felt they were supposedly “smarter” than me.

I was penalized for that, a lot.

My last two months of the military, while working swing shift one evening, I told my duty officer that I was NOT going to do something to the network that he told me to do. It was a ridiculous order, born out of his lack of understanding of the system, and also, he didn’t know a T1 from his ass. I, on the other hand, had taught myself the ins and outs of this new technology and knew that doing what he was ordering me to do, would shut down a major comm line between the Pentagon and one of our satellite broadcasting stations. I argued with him in front of everyone else.
I lost. My commanding officer called me into his office and said (I have a very good memory for conversations): “Chris, I know you did what you felt was right, but regardless of whether it was right or wrong, you can’t just piss on the chain of command. It’s there for a reason.”
He was a cool dude and after hinting that he too thought my duty office was an idiot, sent me on home. I think it helped that I only had two months of service left, but still. There were several such instances while I was in the military, but I never had anything permanent on my record and I still received a Meritorious Service Medal when I separated (nyah, nyah, nyah nyah nyah!)

My first job out of the military was with a medium-sized global telecom company. I was the youngest guy on the team, made up primarily of guys who were perfectly happy working graveyard shift into their retirement. They were also lazy, which pissed me off. I remember another meeting with my boss:
“Chris, you have got to learn to control your temper. You’d be managing a shift already if you didn’t piss off your teammates so badly.”

The word “piss” seems to come up frequently in my life.

I say all this to illustrate that I have been penalized time and again for being outspoken. Sure, I’m not the most politically correct guy on the block. I know this. Despite being a professional wordsmith, when it comes time to suck up in an e-mail, I just can’t find the words. Recognizing my shortcoming in this area, nowadays I’ll just take the crap thrown at me, rather than poke back at the a-hole who threw it in the first place. So I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I’m either not good looking enough, or rich enough or whatever enough to get away with being a smartass. And so I put my head down, and I do what I’m supposed to do and I try not to rock the boat (too much).

But there are other people who seem to be rewarded for such behavior. For instance, if you’re…oh..say…a woman, then it’s OK to be as rude as you want to other people. “Oh, it’s just their personality.”

B.S!

If I have to play nice, they should too.

I still have a temper…oh yes I do. But I’ve learned to refocus that anger (usually) in other directions (the Internet has helped). That doesn’t stop me from soliloquizing in my head these long drawn out scenarios where I excoriate the other person in front of their peers. It helps though, that I have a family.

I think rudeness and anger are the purview of those who don’t have others relying on them.

But can someone explain to me why doctors say that stress, which raises your blood pressure, is so bad for you; yet, exercise, which also raises your blood pressure, is said to prolong your life? Aren’t they the same function really?

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9 thoughts on ““I can’t stand it…I know ya planned it…”

    Rose said:
    February 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Chris,
    you are right…I should let you know I am here more often. sometimes I have time and sometimes I do not. I tend to read up on what your doing then get involved in a child issue and fail to come back. It never fails once you start to do something you wnat to do the kids have an issue, or even a non-issue they feel is so important it can not wait another moment. Or they have an issue with a sibling. Isn’t it odd how they will get along for hours on end than the minute you get occupied doing something they argue about something so petty.

    I always thought that men have it easier being an a-hole. Women are called bi@tches, Power Hungry or Catty etc when they act that way right? Of course I am not in an office or never have been so I don’t know from experience. I taught with mostly women. Anyhow, what do I really know about it.

    Take care and I promise to comment more.

    trishatruly said:
    February 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Uh, this is a hard post for me to reply to despite the fact that I relate to it so intensely.
    Not to sound too vain or egocentric but I think the biggest problem you and I ( and a few other relatives) may have is the fact that we are indeed far superior in intelligence to the average persons we deal with on a regular basis.
    Now while this may seem simply self-delusional, let me say the record has shown, in my time at least , that I am usually right and “they ” are usually STUPID!
    You are NOT wrong in thinking that the average person does not, in fact , have all the answers. Where you and I go wrong is in thinking that being right will gain us somehow. People do not want the truth. They want validation. Unfortunately our validation comes at the end of the spectrum….after we prove that everyone else is a fucking nut job! That doesn’t pay the bills though or put bread on our tables. I don’t think it’s so much a gender issue (although I don’t live in the current workplace with it’s sordid political issues) but it may be I am wrong on this one. I am out of sync with current job-related issues , having lived in a Jimmy Stewart-esque time and all. LOL
    Stay the course, oh yee of high intellect!

    Father of Five said:
    February 19, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I admit, I may not be the smartest guy on the block… But what I lack in intelligence, I reap in common sense. Fortunatly for me, that has kept me out of a lot of the situations you talk about…

    Yet, at other times, it may have held me back some too…

    “That doesn’t stop me from soliloquizing in my head these long drawn out scenarios where I excoriate the other person in front of their peers.”

    Which is EXACTLY what I do. I roll over and “take it” when maybe (just once and a while) if I spoke out, I may be viewed in a different light…

    I think it can work both ways…

    Father of Five said:
    February 19, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Perhaps I should have explained a bit more…

    My common sense says to me… “Don’t talk back to your supervisor. Even when you know they are wrong. It will only put you on his/her radar, and you DO NOT want to be there.”

    Well… Sometimes being on the radar is a bad thing – but sometimes… Being on the radar can be beneficial too!

    RE: It’s very hard to hold your tongue when you KNOW you’re obviously in the right. I think people like us are doomed for failure. If you hold your tongue, you get crapped on. If you don’t, you get crapped on.
    Either way, it’s a crap-shoot!

    Romi said:
    February 19, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Wow…I don’t know what places you’ve worked in, but if there exists a world where women can be as rude as they want because “it’s just their personality”, well gosh I want to be a part of that world, ’cause I love telling people where to go! Haha! In my nearly five years of corporate experience (not that long I know), I’ve realized that I have to prove things five different ways when I’m trying to knock someone (especially a superior) off their dumb-ass pedestal…and also I have to say it in a way that preserves the dumb-ass’s ego in some crafty way…this is not always easy, haha…being deceptive is now my middle name 😉

    RE: I could be wroing, but I think you have to play nice until you reach a certain level and then you can start being a bitch. I think it coincides with about the same time that you turn the 30-something corner and your chances at finding love drop sharply. Once that realization hits, then I think you’re free “to be.” At least, that seems to be the case with “those women” that I’m speaking of.

    ispyu said:
    February 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I’m with Romi, where is this world in which you speak of? I want to be a bitch and still be successful!! 🙂 I have also learned in my career that I need to word things just right – so that whomever it is thinks that it is primarily their idea or I am seeking their opinion. I have become quite the talented executive emailer/writer. LOL Those of us with an intelligence, including my boss, happen to know how crafty I am!

    RE: There’s a difference between making others think that your idea is actuall their idea. I don’t do that out of sheer stubbornness. What I’m talking about are the people who use little put-downs all the time when they are communicating with others.
    For example:
    I recently completed a project that DRAGGED on for reasons completely out of my control. The folks to blame were all management. This “person” said of my handling the project, “…I don’t know how this turned into such a goat-rodeo…”

    In this instance, I fired back and quite politically correct if I do say so myself. But what I find most interesting, is that these same people, while blasting you for something, feel it necessary to copy your boss, your bosses’ boss and so on and so forth.

    Hey, you got a problem w/me? Bring it to ME first. If we can’t work it out, then feel free to tell on me. I can respect that tact.

    Leighton said:
    February 20, 2009 at 7:11 am

    I don’t have problems with that sort of thing because I am spineless. It keeps me out of a lot of trouble.

    And I liked your question about stress at the end of the post. You’re exactly right. When doctors give a “stress test” what do they do? They make you exercise.

    Romi said:
    February 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Hahahaha….okay, maybe that’s why I haven’t noticed it yet….in that case I am SOOO gonna cling to the last couple years of my twenties….I do not wanna become that!!! LOL… 😉

    pamajama said:
    February 22, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Okay, here’s the answer to your question about blood pressure:

    “The Benefits Of Exercise To Lower Your Blood Pressure

    The human body is incredibly “elastic” and can cope with many different conditions for short periods. Obviously, you cannot exercise for 24 hours a day. So the temporary increased blood pressure is not harmful to you. On the contrary, exercise actually widens your arteries over time and prevents them from constricting. This means that your blood pressure will actually decrease with time. So you can see that exercise is actually good for defeating hypertension, in fact it is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure.”

    As for the male/female thing, it’s more about personality than it’s about men/women, although I get what you’re saying about the older women who are at a higher placement in the company. It’s more about the attitude that comes across inherently with your words. I can be so caustic & petty that venom nearly shoots from my mouth; I hear the same thing said by someone else & realize that it’s my attitude that’s coming through, it’s not about the issue. The anger is unhelpful in so many ways.

    So many times I’ve felt like my intelligence was more of a hindrance than a help. A very simple person can say something quite blandly, without the hours of forethought, the frustration & angst behind it. I come in & say it with my teeth gritted, ready for a fight, & that’s what I get.

    I feel for you. There are so many idiots in this world & so many of them make it to the top of the heap. What you said about “rudeness and anger are the purview of those who don’t have others relying on them” is SO TRUE! This is why my husband never loses his cool & I can talk shit about what I’d do in the same circumstance, when really the situation is entirely different.

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