I’ll cut to the chase. It’s “don’t be a jerk.” So many tense, awkward or otherwise annoying situations could be avoided if people simply chose not to be jerks.
Case in point:
- I’m patiently waiting in line at the Starbucks drive-through like every other currently under-caffeinated Mom when a driver darts in front of me. Because THEIR need for coffee is MUCH greater than mine. Every part of me wants to flip them the bird or shake my fist like an 80-year-old woman. Instead, I choose to keep my cool and just wish that “don’t be a jerk” ran through that coffee-line-budger’s mind as much as it does mine. Hopefully, her coffee had full fat milk instead of whatever skinny combo she was going for.
- My lovely husband once made a comment that “So-and-so’s wife writes her meals for the week out on a little board that everyone can see.” Oh really? Well maybe you should stop being a jerk and marry so-and-so’s wife instead. I have never claimed to be Betty Crocker and, in fact, I can’t stand cooking. He was well-informed of that from day 1 of dating so, sorry sucker, but this is what you signed up for. There will realistically never be a menu board in my future. So maybe Chef Boyardee can take it down a notch and stop being a jerk.
- I love my kids more than life itself. I really do. But when my one-year-old thinks it is funny to bicycle her legs like she’s taking part in the Tour de France while I’m changing her diaper and then kicks me hard in the face, I want to say to her “Really? Let’s not be a jerk and cool it on the Lance Armstrong impersonation so we can get a clean diaper on and call it a day.” Ugh.
- And then there’s my four-year-old. She’s not a morning person. I am, so that sets us up to fail from the start. She knows she has a small window of time between when she wakes up and I’m finished getting ready that she can lay in our bed and watch a cartoon. Many days, when it is clear that I am fully dressed with makeup on and ready to go, she’ll go “Mom? Do you have your makeup on? It doesn’t really look like it.” Now my daughter is clearly not trying to tell me I look so pretty and natural, she’s trying to scam her way into more cartoon time. Instead, I wish I could tell her not to be a jerk so we can get off on a good start to our day. Sigh.
- When talking to someone who starts a conversation with “Well, not to offend you but…” I want to just stop them right there and inform them of my motto. Because you’re probably going to offend me if you start a sentence like that, right? Just keep your snide little comment to yourself and let’s all join hands and not be jerks. OK? OK!
- I jog with a couple neighbors during the week. When you encounter other people in your path, it is nice to say hello. We always get surprised at how many jerks there are out exercising who choose to ignore us or just not return the greeting. Why? Just don’t be a jerk, and say hi. Right?
Unfortunately, there are many other examples of how others could benefit from this simply saying. Now, I am far from perfect and have been a jerk from time to time, but I pride myself on not being a jerk more than I am and that’s a victory in my book.