Forgive me, folks. I’m a bit cranky this morning. I spent all day yesterday waiting for a delivery from Amazon.de. I ordered new contact lenses on Thursday last week and they didn’t get to me until Saturday. And because the weather was yucky, we hung around all day waiting for them. When they finally got to us, it was almost five o’clock. Then, when I opened the package, I saw that one of the lenses wasn’t the right prescription. So I had to order again and return the wrong ones… or really, I got Bill to return them. Yesterday, once again, it was five o’clock when the delivery got here. I spent all day waiting because I know that if I’m not home, it could be a hassle to get my parcel. I need my contacts or I can’t see shit… and wearing glasses puts me in a bad mood. We also have yucky weather today, so it doesn’t look like we’ll get a walk.
Last night, I was also feeling a bit grouchy. Sunday afternoon, Bill and I had lunch at a Georgian restaurant in Frankfurt. Georgia, as many people know, is a U.S. state. It’s also a country. If you want to know why there is a U.S. state named Georgia and a former Soviet country called Georgia, click here. When I refer to having Georgian cuisine, I mean I ate in a restaurant that specializes in cuisine that comes from the country of Georgia. If I had eaten southern food or “soul food”, I would have called it that.
In any case, just as I always do when I try a new restaurant, I wrote about it on my travel blog. I shared the link on Facebook. One friend posted this:
No grits? <ducking>
That was a dumb joke, but at least she realized and acknowledged it was dumb. She’s also someone who interacts with me often, so I felt charitable toward her obvious attempt at humor. I even laughed and pointed out that the restaurant had polenta, which is much like grits. Basically it’s the same as grits, only more refined and more often yellow. You can get yellow grits, but most people eat white ones.
Anyway, I thought the obvious joke had passed. But then I saw a comment from another person on a different thread that just consisted of pictures. It was– you guessed it– another obvious crack about the lack of black-eyed peas, cornbread, and watermelon (although the dish Bill had actually did have collard greens in it). And the person who posted it is someone who doesn’t interact with me very often. Usually, when he does, he makes silly jokes or schooling comments, which, for some reason, I find insulting and kind of demeaning.
I don’t know this dude very well. We “met” on a now defunct online review site, where over about eleven years, I made about twelve thousand dollars writing product reviews. It wasn’t enough to live on, but when you consider I was just writing reviews of products I was using anyway, it was nothing to sneeze at. I know another guy who made $48,000 there, but he wrote thousands of reviews. The site had pretty high standards and an awesome community of talented and intelligent writers. A lot of them are still my genuine friends five years after the site sank into oblivion.
I remember from interacting with this guy on that now defunct site, learning that when he was a young man, he suffered an accident that put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Maybe being in a wheelchair makes him feel like he has to compensate for something. But I also know that he did well enough in school to earn a doctorate in psychology. So he’s not dumb, and I would not expect him to make dumb comments. I can’t see that he’s in a wheelchair, so that doesn’t affect my opinion of him (and wouldn’t even if I could see him). And yet, he often makes stupid comments on my Facebook page that, for some reason, really annoy me. It’s almost like he thinks I’m dumb, and won’t understand basic wit.
So what am I supposed to do in such an instance? Should I just laugh along hollowly, feigning delight at the inept stab at humor? Should I just ignore the comment, inadvertently inviting him to try again later? Or should I let him know in no uncertain terms that I find that kind of inane comment irritating?
Well, because I was feeling cranky last night, I decided to let him know his comment wasn’t appreciated. However, because I was raised to at least try to be nice, I wrote “pay attention”. Seems like that would be a clue… but then he came back and explained his comment, which was even more insulting. So I wrote, “I think we both know that you knew I was referring to the country of Georgia, rather than the state. If you’re going to try to be witty, do better. You weren’t the first person to crack that joke.” Then I added a winking smiley, because I didn’t really want to come across as bitchy as that comment probably was. I just wanted him to quit being inane on my page.
So then he deleted his comments. I kind of expected him to unfriend me, too, but so far he hasn’t. It wasn’t necessary for him to delete his comments, but I suppose my retort could have been embarrassing for him, so maybe he deleted his comments to save face. I don’t know.
I am a southerner, and for most of my life, I was raised to be “nice” and tolerant. Unfortunately, I have found that always being “nice” can lead to undesirable results. At the very least, always being nice and overly forgiving simply invites more of the same shit. You have to teach people how to treat you, especially when they’ve “come to you”. It would be one thing if I had posted on his page. He posted on mine. Yes, he’s a “friend”, but does that give him license to be dumb on my time and try to “force” me to laugh at his corny jokes? Is there something wrong with challenging him to think of something more clever next time?
I probably would not have had this reaction had this person been someone I interact with a lot. Real friends can be dumb on my page, because I know they’re real friends who don’t think I’m dumb, too. People I don’t often interact with who make “dumb” comments seem to imply that I’m also dumb. Or, at least that’s the way it comes across to me, especially when I know the other person isn’t lacking in intelligence.
I realize that this reaction is one that comes from my own “psychological sunburn”, as the perpetually annoying Dr. Phil would put it. I am the youngest daughter in my family and still, at the age of 47, get treated like I’m dumb by some of my family members. My sisters, for instance, often offer me unsolicited advice or question my decisions, even though I’ve never been in any serious trouble… at least not so far. I’m also a blonde, and some people seem to think that a lack of melanin in one’s hair follicles makes them “dumb”. I’m not a dumb person, though, and it gets super old being treated like I am. Moreover, I don’t like it when people expect me to laugh when I don’t think something is funny.
As is my habit as an “overthinker”, I Googled to see if anyone else feels the way I do about obvious jokes. I found a couple of interesting articles, neither of which were about what I was researching, but both of which gave me some food for thought. The first one was from The Guardian. It was written by a woman who was tired of being expected to laugh at racist, sexist, and off color jokes. And she was tired of being asked if she couldn’t take a joke when she didn’t find the jokes humorous.
The other was written by a woman with type 2 diabetes who was tired of reading simplistic jokes about diabetes. She pointed out that type 2 diabetes is a disease that has many causes, but there is a real stigma attached to the diagnosis, particularly for young people. A lot of people truly are ignorant about diabetes and I, for one, don’t think it’s funny that so many people have it. But I know people make jokes about how eating something sweet is going to put them in a “diabetic coma”. I can see why those who have diabetes wouldn’t think that was funny.
Anyway… I suppose if I knew this guy better, I might try to explain all of this to him. I might tell him that when he makes really corny, obvious, lame jokes on my page, it’s actually kind of offensive. But I know that being offended by obvious humor is one of my many “issues” that stems from a typically dysfunctional childhood… I’m a workin’ on it. In fact, I’m even reading a good book about how to get over being angry. Stay tuned for a review.