Sarcasm: it runs in my veins. I remember “getting” sarcasm from a really young age, and it just stuck with me. I can’t stop myself. I mean, I guess I could, but I also find myself exceedingly entertaining, so I kinda don’t. Due to that lack of restraint, every now and again, I wander into the dark, arid lands of Too Much Sarcasm. And it’s…awkward.
For instance, there was this guy standing outside the grocery store trying to get signatures for a law about animal abuse. Now, I like animals as much as the next person, but I DON’T like people harassing me just because I needed orange juice. Don’t they realize that perhaps that’s not the best time to talk to me? When I’m rushing around trying to complete my to-do list, thinking about how I’ve generally failed at being an adult? Isn’t that the wrong time to approach someone?
But this poor sap either couldn’t recognize the crazy in my eyes, or was just feelin’ like he wanted to dare the edge that day, so he thrust his clipboard at me and said, “Stop puppies from being abused?” to which I replied, “I hate puppies. They deserve to be abused,” and I stared my crazy right into his soul.
Several awkward moments passed between the time I closed my lips on the word “abused” and the time I realized that, perhaps, this particular sarcastic performance was not being interpreted as such. Instead he was just looking at me as a puppy killer, which we all know is gateway killing to human killing. Oopsies. Too much. “Scale it back,” I said to myself, and then proceeded to sputter out a lot of reasons why I would say such inappropriate things and how I’m generally pretty sarcastic and it just keeps getting worse like an infection except that there’s no medicine for it and now I’m chronically sarcastic and he should probably be taking donations for me. None of this actually had an effect on the fellow, so I just slinked away to my car, adding, “Have a great day!” like that would fix it.
Then, years later, I was at the grocery store again. (What is with me and the grocery store?) Now, in addition to whatever petition-signing, cookie-selling hordes have gathered outside, all the checkers have been turned into panhandlers. This is much trickier to avoid, because it’s typically 50 cents and you don’t even have to dig in your purse or man pocket for the money because they just add it to your juice and wine and beef jerky (or whatever you buy. I don’t know your business.). Also, because there’s a line of people behind you that can hear your answer to “Would you like to donate 50 cents to save sea life from oil spills?” or “Would you like to give a dollar to fight breast cancer?” or “Would you like to donate 75 cents to help your community teachers?” Answering “no” to any of these questions makes you look like a heartless she-devil, and everyone behind you is already mad at you because their ice cream pops are melting and they want to get home to watch “The Biggest Loser.”
When I feel like things are being said a specific way just to manipulate me (which, after all, is the whole point of marketing) it makes me want to punch someone in the giblets. I’m sure they design the questions to make you feel like a gremlin if you don’t fork over the money. And sometimes when I get pushed, I push back. Just a weensy bit. The question on that day was, “Would you like to donate 50 cents to help sick babies?”
Sick babies? How are you supposed to say no to that? I could have, I guess. I could have just said, “Screw it, I don’t care if everyone thinks I’m the Grinch. I’ll donate to whom I want to, when I want to, thank you.” but that didn’t exactly happen. Instead, I said, “All the sick babies? Or just a select few?”
The checker was not amused. He replied,”You want to make sure it only goes to the good ones, huh?” but not in a fun, playful way. In a, you’re-a-heartless-she-devil way. So I just said some combo of “kidding” “sarcastic” “all babies are the best” and “sure, take my 50 cents, I have no dignity”.
The moral of the story: if you have a propensity to express your humor in a way that is drier than ash, try saying things in your head before they come out of your talk hole. Sometimes, it’s a tad too much.