As a supplement to last week’s post, I thought it might be helpful for me to list acceptable and unacceptable responses to typical social situations that I have discovered in my research…I mean in my social life. I mean in my “social life”. I mean…I have no social life, but I’m working on it! And this list will totally help me achieve that because this is how all human beings operate: observation, list making and careful deductive reasoning. So proceeding from that hypothesis, here we go.
1) Invitations: When one is at a get-together and someone says, “Hey, we should all totally hang out!” You might think the proper response is, “But aren’t we already hanging out?” I made the same mistake. Apparently this is a meaningless phrase used to express polite interest, not an actual invitation. Therefore, the proper response is, “Yeah, totally!” Even if you hope to never see that individual ever again.
2) Inquiries: “How are you doing?” Answer: “Fine.” Only add “And you?” if you actually want to listen to this person — who obviously hasn’t done their research or read my highly informative blog — go on about people you do not know and do not care about engaging in bizarre activities such as participating in organized athletics or the benefits of their new kale-only diet. Do not tell them about your asthma/allergies/sinus issues, how many panic attacks you’ve experienced in the past week and their intensity, that thing you’re working on, or the evolution of your crush on your favorite character in The Walking Dead (Rick!). And the answer to “Have you lost weight?” is “Yes.”
3) Fangirling: Occasionally you may find a subject in which you have genuine interest will come up. This is the time for self-control. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the subject is Patrick Stewart. Take a deep, deep breath, count to ten, and in your calmest voice possible respond thusly, “Yes, he is still attractive. I appreciate his work very much.” Yes, I realize this is a tough one. However, if someone else expresses a slightly higher level of interest, you may question them further, until both of you have long lost any other connection to the larger social group and are breathlessly recounting how you could totally see some of Picard’s butt when he was captured by that Cardassian in the “There. Are. Four. Lights.” two-parter.
4) Um, actually: No. No. No. No. No. Whether the topic be if global warming is caused by humans (Um, actually the consensus among scientists says that it is), or the “planet” the second Death Star blew up in Return of the Jedi (Um, actually it was a forest moon.) just learn to bite your tongue until it bleeds. Odd as it may seem, many people don’t really care about facts, and they also don’t care about the gigantic store of them you have neatly organized in your brain by subject and with cross-referencing through your Memory Web. Also, probably don’t talk about your Memory Web.
5) Bigots: Shut them down. Always and without prejudice. 😉 If they don’t like President Obama’s policies, they’re wrong, but that’s OK. What is not OK , ever, under any circumstance is to nod and smile as someone demeans an entire group of human beings out of ignorance, hate and fear. Grandma, the Moors were in Italy, get over it. You with the handlebar mustache, thanks for identifying yourself as a moron by wearing a T-shirt with the Rebel and American flag displayed side by side. Frickin’ idiots. And then run and do a shot or ten of the alcohol closest to you, and find some better folks to talk to.
That’s my summary for now. Although I must include a general warning against responding to every statement or question with a quote or reference, unless it’s to Star Wars or The Beatles. Actually, just try sticking to Star Wars and The Beatles, and you’ll do just fine. The only people who don’t like them are dead inside anyhow.