Friday, January 03, 2014

Shame or something like it

The other day, I needed to talk to my sister about some fairly serious, unpleasant and sensitive family business. I called her in the morning and got her voice mail, where I left a message for her to call me back. When she did, it was later that afternoon and a co-worker with a well-earned reputation for being nosey was nearby working on something or other. I didn't want Nosey all up in my business but I also didn't feel like trying to whisper, figuring my sister wouldn't be able to hear me but Nosey would. No sense in fighting the battle on that level so why bother. Instead, I decided to let him have the info, but after I rendered it toxic for him...
"Hey, so listen, I have to tell you something but you need to know there's somebody nearby who's probably listening to every word I say."
Rather than jumping through all the hoops necessary to keep my conversation private, I figured it would be easier (and more fun) to just treat him like an asshole before he could do the asshole thing that he inevitably would. You know, pre-emptively. He can't even defend his as-yet uncommitted crime with "Hey, I'm not listening!" without revealing himself as exactly that. Granted, none of this stops him from listening in or even sharing it, but hopefully the fact that he knows I'm on to him, and that I'm probably not the only one, ruins it for him, at least a little bit. Some people have no sense of shame, and in those cases you have to try to find some other way to make them feel shitty about the shitty things they do. Not to teach them a lesson, because those people aren't worth trying to salvage by teaching them stuff, but simply as a form of punishment.
You see, you have to crawl before you can walk, but if somebody chops your legs off, it's hard to do either of those things.

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