Much easier to type quickly than do quickly. Consider the number of times an immaculately scathing comeback has popped onto your tongue two and a half seconds after your opponent has started to smirk. Isn’t it ironic? Yeah, I really do think… Although it isn’t too much like rain on your wedding day, but might be equated to good advice that you chose to not take.
I get yelled at a lot by strangers. It is the nature of my profession. Well, job. A major premise of standing behind the customer service counter at a big-box retailer is getting continually shat on for things entirely beyond your control. Another key facet of the position is being condescended upon for the stupidity of others.
A quick “for instance” for ya: Old guy comes into the store. Gives my coworker a piece of paper to claim a TV. Piece of paper doesn’t have his name or address on it. “Sorry, old guy, you can’t take this TV home.”
Enter ME, lucky lil’ Miss Manager.
I’m sorry, but it’s common sense. I can’t give you the TV.
IF I WENT TO JORDAN’S FURNITURE THEY’D JUST GIVE IT TO ME.
Then go to Jordan’s Furniture.
…As you could assume, it escalated from there. But where I generally shrink up, cower down and get apologetic, I stood my ground. Ever been constipated? Well, six years of repressed retail shit pooped itself off my chest and onto that old man. That’s catharsis.
If you’re curious of the outcome of Old Man Angry, I was able to call his daughter and get her to release the TV to her father. She was incredibly apologetic and said she hoped her father was “being OK” about the situation.
I was gracious enough to not say anything.
It would be nice to always win like this, to always be the victor in battles of intelligence. But that’s unreasonable– the quick-tongued quips of Shakespearean comedies will never be the every day reality of the modern man. Why? Well, Shakespeare is scripted, obviously. And there is the stupidity factor to consider.
People today are lazy and distracted. A man bled to death on a San Francisco bus a few years ago from a stab wound. The bus was crowded– crowded with people wearing headphones, talking on cell phones, reading Kindles, ignoring everything and thinking only about their microwave. Our brains no longer know how to process information– new or old– in an expedient manner.
Nicholas Carr, acclaimed journalist and author, illuminated the descent of the modern brain in his 2010 novel The Shallows. It’s a good read, but I warn you, there are no pictures. There is, however, an amalgam of simultaneously indispensable and highly disquieting information crammed into it’s pages.
Yes, I purchased the tangible book, read the paper pages, and used a kitty cat bookmark. Old school, I know.
Carr points out, through thorough research and astute analysis, that the way we use (or don’t use) our brains is making them function less efficiently. Where the capacity for understanding was once a chasm, it is now a shallow hole.
Below the frustration of thinking of the ideal nose-thumbing remark immediately after a pissy customer leaves the service desk lurks an unsettling reality. We have grown so accustomed to staring and not absorbing that when we’re momentarily snapped back to reality by something unexpected– a douche-bag, a gun shot, a dead grandfather– we can’t quite manage ourselves. We fumble intellectually, sputter, spit, and fail.
So I suggest that as soon as you’ve finished reading this blog (the whole thing– every entry, no excuses, because I’m just that enthralling), you avert your eyes from the computer screen and pick up a book. With pages. And a cover. And read the whole thing, and think about it. Because if you don’t, you will forget how. And more frighteningly, you will never know what it is you’ve forgotten.