Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Almost Civilized Myself

Those of you following along know that starting last Monday I'd resolved to experiment with a full week of enforced "civility". This I defined for myself as (1) no uncivil confrontations (we're talking verbal here), (2) no ironic or sarcastic ripostes to the ongoing idiotic blither surrounding my average day, (3) teeth-gnashing "niceness" to the endless parade of conformist prigs spouting or exhibiting their concept of proper social behavior, and, finally,(4) no ever-present sexual innuendo.

I almost made it.

I listened to guys in my brokerage office asserting that the reason for poverty was that poor people were lazy. An acquaintance told me that teens watching off-color or violent TV and movies was the direct cause of juvenile crime. I heard a person say that Rush Limbaugh was the greatest philosopher of our time. An idiot opined to me that Creationism should be taught as a science in our high school, and gave as a reason that all his friends agreed with him.

I listened and made no negative sound. I smiled a lot and uttered not one discouraging word. Several people I knew asked if I were feeling OK. I was right about women. Females were solicitous about the disappearance of my usual confrontational personality, but the attendant sexual attraction disappeared along with the lack of innuendo. In short, I had become your average run-of -the-mill BORE. I could feel the forces of ironic incivility bubbling inside, desperately seeking freedom. Finally, on Saturday, an incident occurred.

I was in Stop and Shop. The cute but ditzy check-out girl asked if I wanted to donate a dollar to the Jimmy Fund. She then informed me of the good things that it did, including giving support to the "Dean Farber" fund and "St. Juke's" hospital. I couldn't resist. I engaged this sweet young thing in a lengthy discussion on (1) how the good Dean found the time to run his university and still put out his line of dishes (Farberware) and (2) how the lovable Saint was so adored by teens that they named the musical Box after him. I did this, of course, with a completely straight face and the SYT nodded very seriously in agreement with my comments.

On my way home, my wife berated me for picking on the young (albeit unknowing) victim of my sarcasm. I admit that it was a ridiculously unfair thing to do, but something inside me felt this little evil jolt of pleasure. I probably would have let that little fish off the hook if I weren't feeling ironically deprived.

My wife, a very civil person (at least to the untrained eye) wants me to try another week, informing me that lack of confrontation makes HER life less stressful (especially if family and friends are involved). There is no way I could do this again. They didn't call it the Civil War for nothing. I've returned to the familiarity of my abrasive, confrontational, innuendo-spewing, ironic, UNCIVIL lifestyle and I'm never abandoning it again. In the words of Fast Eddie Felson--I"M BACK.



Anonymous blue girl said...

Hey Papa Bill -- you gotta be you and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Maybe that's why us wise guys get along so well!


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