You had a bad day. Oh, you. I’m so sorry to hear this.
“What happened?” I ask.
You sigh heavily, the weight of the world on your shoulders, eyes avoiding mine. I am concerned.
You scowl at me! How rude! I understand you’ve had a bad day, but the gall of you, taking it out on me! You don’t mean to, of course, but your self-control is so poor, and there you are, face contorted in either anger or stomach spasms, and ready to yell. I stand my ground.
You break down into tears. Poor you! Is that what I’m supposed to say? What I actually did was snort and call you a wuss. I’m sorry about that. That was really inappropriate. It’s not bad to cry or anything… But isn’t the thing you’re crying about that your sister ate all the watermelon in the fridge and you had to eat a banana for breakfast? Buck up, you! Fruit is fruit.
“But the banana is so much drier than a watermelon!” you choke out between sobs. “Watermelon is a hydrating breakfast! It’s light and refreshing! A banana is heavy and DRY!” You’re wailing so loudly at this point I can’t even make out what you’re saying anymore! Calm down!
The scowling. My defense is up. More carefully, I ask, “What happened?”
You tell me that while you were at [school/work/other] you had a negative social experience. A person made you angry, and you felt powerless due to likely social constraints at the time. Now you want to exert some of your anger; you think yelling at me will give you some of that power back.
You’re wrong! I won’t take that BS. But I will hear you out.
“My [adversary] is so annoying and short!” you rant. I don’t see what his height has to do with it, but I let you continue. “He has a stupid haircut and he wouldn’t listen to what I was saying and that print on his shirt was a butt!”
You really must work on your insults. I make a note of this for later. But between your immature ramblings, I get the meat of the topic: your adversary does not know how to style himself.
Your shoulders are slumped. I want to reach out and place a hand on your shoulder, to be comforting. I want to show you I care. However, I suspend my arm by my side, for fear I will make you more uncomfortable than comfortable with my conspicuous touch. We remain stiffly separate, two beings who would like to connect, but always miss our chance.
“What happened?” I ask again. You look at me through [big/small/narrow/wide] [colour] eyes. They look so sad.
Back to the fruit. Okay, I will concede. You made a valid point. A banana is much less refreshing than juicy watermelon fresh from the fridge. But at least it gives you potassium. Your wails renew.
“I have too much potassium!” you self-diagnose. You’re not actually sure of this, and you realize your doctor would probably disagree, but you’re really trying to make a strong case for the watermelon and if this requires a little truth-bending to make a point, so be it!
Ha! I can see through your truth-bending. I have an interest in both nutrition and science and I find it highly unlikely that your occasional intake of bananas and other foods based on your diet have resulted in too much potassium. You exhibit no symptoms of too-much-potassium and quite frankly, you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Shame on you.
There is never an excuse to lie. If your argument is weak, YOU ARE WEAK. AND YOU FAIL.
You shake your head and go to your [room/place of sanctuary]. You want to be alone, but will that really help you? I think you need to talk this out. I am practically a psychologist, I rationalize. I will be more than happy to charge you by the hour, as well.
I realize my error – it was not your [adversary]’s outfit that angered you so. Your [adversary] wasn’t listening, you explained in between the confusing statements of his ugliness, and I’ve caught it! I quickly rearrange myself and try to pretend I caught your point right from the start, so that I seem even smarter.
“Why do you feel your [adversary] wasn’t listening?” I ask. It’s a rather formal-sounding question and you glare at me for playing therapist when you don’t trust my credentials. Do all of my certificates mean nothing to you? I printed those on high-quality paper, and one of them says I am an officially ordained minister.
“Because he wasn’t,” you snarl, with an expression that adds a silent: ‘a-DOY!’
“Explain.” I become more computer-like by the minute. Fortunately, you are so full of passion and human fluids, you are bursting to tell me.
“He said this one theory had flaws because it was limited to [variable], but it is quite applicable to [many/all other variables]. I tried to voice this opinion but he basically regurgitated his original argument, without adjustment to receive new information, and he did not realize his error, nor was he able to adequately describe my potential error!”
You are speaking very eloquently and I enjoy it.
“Furthermore!” you fume, nostrils flared. “He insisted that in listening to further theories, I would see how this theory was flawed because it was a smaller theory, but the bigger theory did not address the problem that the smaller theory addressed, because the bigger theory glossed over many specific problems in its vastness, and more importantly, was less applicable to our topic of discussion and was not even useful as a theory!”
I can very clearly understand why you are angry now. A person who does not understand the important meanings of theories should basically be strung up by their own intestines.
“And also he is AN UGLY LAME BUTTFACE!” you scream.
I apologize. I should not have oversimplified so much. One weak argument does not make you a weakling. You made a mistake. At least you didn’t hurt anyone.
You look at me sheepishly now.
“I kind of threw one of my bananas at someone,” you admit. “Because I was angry and wanted to hurt someone so that they could feel my hurt, as I was racked with banana angst.”
I am absolutely appalled, until you tell me who you hit and quite frankly, I do not like that person! So I am feeling much more favourable toward you and your predicament. You were angry. Bananas slip. It happens.
You’re angry. It happens. But do you have to resort to the swears of a child who has not yet gone through the dictionary looking for better swears?
After your ‘buttface’ comment you went on to call your [adversary] a ‘booger-eater’ and a ‘poopoopeepeehead’. That one was especially uninspired. I did like what you said about how his butt was saggy like a deflated balloon filled with cottage cheese, because that was descriptive and really helped me picture it. But then the picture was so vivid, and quite frankly it is a pretty unpleasant picture. More unpleasant than your description of how his stomach was so fat and hairy that it was as if he was a gorilla pregnant with a baby gorilla. A poignant point, but then you followed that up with ‘any baby of his would look like a fart and a poo!’ and I don’t know that that’s a proper description. You also used the word ‘ugly’ nearly twenty times. I will get you a thesaurus.
I follow you to your [room/place of sanctuary] and insist that you talk to me. I am very persuasive. Perhaps it is my beauty, my lovely eyes and plush lips that soften you, if you are a sexist gentleman, or perhaps I used coercion and force, particularly because you are sexist and not a gentleman. I feel less sympathy for you now, and from your cowering, I can tell you can tell.
Unless of course it is my soothing low voice and handsome broad shoulders that have given you an ulterior motive to cry on my shoulders. How very inappropriate! Here I am trying to be nice and you’re trying to feel up my shoulders.
You look very small in your sadness and you admit, in a very quiet voice, that you feel very lonely. Are you trying to be seductive? Is this because of my shoulders?! No, not that kind of lonely. The kind of lonely that is an aching void in your life and you long to feel a connection to another human being, but you are sad because today you went out and you tried to fit into the world but the world spat you back out and you feel less loved and accepted than ever.
That is very sad, actually. You can totally cry on my broad, masculine shoulders. Or, if you are a heterosexual gentleman, I will stroke your hair gently with female fingers. Of course, one as sexist as you must note that female fingers are not gentle by nature and can just as easily rip your chest open, pull out your lungs and blow them up like balloons.
I’m sorry, that was inappropriate. You are sad right now and here I am talking about making party decorations out of your organs. Very rude of me. You are a sweet person and I feel sad that you feel sad. A nice person like you should not be alone. The world is harsh.
At the very least, you realize that you have exhausted your points regarding the banana-watermelon dilemma. There is nothing much to do now but accept that you did not get a chance to enjoy the watermelon, and you will have to wait until the next grocery-shopping excursion before you can enjoy watermelon again.
“If at all,” you say darkly. Some weeks do not yield good watermelon.
I am very worried about you.
I am very worried about you. You remain with your head down, too sad to even cry. THIS would be an appropriate time to cry. Much more appropriate than crying over, say, fruit. You don’t need to tough it out. You are safe with me and honestly, it’s okay if you cry. I won’t make fun of you and I won’t attempt to drink your tears due to an unusual belief that they will make me stronger. I wouldn’t do that twice.
I want to comfort you and make it better, but sadly there is nothing I can do except be attractive and offer you a listening ear. I will support you as best I can, but your feelings of isolation and dejection will not simply flutter away like an ignorant [adversary]’s cheap toupee. I ache for you that you feel so alone. I know there are others who feel as you do, desperate for connection, aching for that rare and meaningful love, but sadly, they are very far away and currently distracted by some very interesting writing. They distract themselves while they wait to meet you. I wish you the best…
The thesaurus was a bad idea. You are rational enough not to take it and throw it at me, but just irrational enough to trip over your bag as you make your way to your room to slam the door to make a sound so loud it drowns out your anger. No amount of use of the word ‘booger’ will make your [adversary] any less of a ‘butt-licking twerp’ and I understand you will be facing that idiot tomorrow. Good luck… I have reviewed your theory and have found you to be correct. At least you can carry that with you as you stare this man down, watching his hairline ebb and flow as his false hair falls onto his shoulder.
Finally, I give you an apple. A smile spreads across your face, as perfect and curved as a banana. I keep this to myself because I am terrified of how you might react if I make this very accurate comparison between you and the fruit you hate so much.
“I love apples!” you say joyfully.
“I know,” I say. I read your diary. You say a lot of really rude stuff about peppers. They aren’t the tastiest vegetable but have a heart, you!
“Thank you,” you smile. “Now my morning fruit agony can subside…” Your face darkens. “For at least one more day…”
You are very dramatic. Why am I even friends with you?