As a man who stares down his own mortality on a fairly regular basis, one thing that I often ask myself is: “What will be my legacy?”
As much as I know it’ll probably be my sense of humor, or my ability to drink enough whiskey to floor a large jungle cat. If I am to eventually be remembered for something, I’d like it to be the wisdom I left behind. So I’ve decided to start this series with the hope that it will be read, shared, and listened to. If not, hell, I tried.
Lesson 1: Know When to Open your Big Stupid Mouth
Remember back in the good old days when human beings were tolerable? When you could meet good, old fashioned, salt-of-the-earth people almost anywhere you went? Back before the days of hipsters and millennial douchebags? Damn, I miss those days…
Where did it all go wrong?
If you ask me, it went wrong when everyone suddenly got the idea that they were special, and that their opinion mattered to other people. I’m sorry – if I want your opinion I will ask for it, and don’t hold your breath waiting for that invitation to say what you think about me or my life. You will asphyxiate faster than a fish in the Kalahari. We all know the old axiom that opinions are like buttholes: everyone has one and I don’t care about them. Still, these days people spout their opinions with reckless abandon, flooding the world with negative bullshit that in the end, is less than useless.
One such example I have found, that actually inspired this series, is online reviews. Granted, I read online reviews when I shop because I research everything I buy, but people need to pump the fucking brakes here. Just because you have the ability to write a review doesn’t mean you should. Perfect example: I was shopping and saw several 1-star ratings on a cooler I was interested in. They all had the same complaint that a cooler wasn’t water-tight. They said things like “The cooler holds ice well, but isn’t water-tight, so I’m giving it 1 star.” Okay, assbags, the cooler never claimed to be water-tight. A cooler is built to keep things cool, hence the name. If it does THAT, write a review about THAT. I don’t give a shit that you can’t keep your cooler from tipping over or keep it out of whatever body of water you happen to be close to. That’s clearly an issue with you and your life choices, not an issue with the cooler’s ability to keep shit cold. You people are screwing up the reviews of this item because you are an idiot and your fingers work faster on a keyboard than your ability to keep your stupid opinions to yourself. One guy summed the situation up perfectly when he said:
Also, there are always online reviews that talk about a product showing up damaged. I might be wrong here, but if you have something shipped to your home and it shows up broken – I’m guessing the manufacturer isn’t to blame. That 1-star product review should be on Fed-Ex’s website – not the product page on Amazon. If you bought something in a store and it was broken in the package, that is different, but don’t hold a manufacturer responsible for what happens to your product once it leaves their warehouse.
Another equally infuriating trend that drives me crazy is restaurant reviews. I remember reading about a restaurant that responded to poor customer reviews by having their waitstaff grade the customers. Turns out all the bitching people were doing about service had to do with the fact that they couldn’t put their phones down long enough to order and eat a meal like a human being. They sat there taking 86 fucking instagram pictures of their food and then bitched about it being cold. It was hot when it was served you assmook – eat it!
The whole point of this lesson isn’t for me to gripe about technology and people’s attachment to it. I promise.
Notice the title of the lesson was “Learn when to OPEN your Big Stupid Mouth.” This should imply that the natural state of your big stupid mouth should be CLOSED. Think about that for a second.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is: you have to earn the right to talk shit. Before you go to ranting about a restaurant’s service ask yourself this important question: Was I a good customer? Did I pay attention to the waitstaff? Did I have reasonable expectations? Did I not assume I was the center of the known universe and that everyone around me was there simply to serve my childish whims? If the answer to all 3 of these questions is “yes” and the service still sucked, then by all means – leave a scathing Yelp review that would make the waitstaff’s families disown them. If the answer to even one of these questions is “no” then please leave your big stupid mouth in what should be its natural state.
This concept applies to other aspects of life…
One of the most important things I’ve ever learned in my business life was a lesson that was taught to me by Randy Eskelson. Randy taught me that even though it was in my nature to want to please people by knowing every answer to any question they could ask – it was perfectly okay to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” In fact, saying “I don’t know” can be one of the most important things you can say in life, period. Saying it is not an admission of ignorance. It’s an admission of your willingness to give a correct answer. Bullshitting your way through a quarter-informed answer is 10 times worse than just saying “I will get the right answer instead of making you think I know it when I don’t.” How many times a day do you see people online spouting pure bullshit about topics they understand about as well as a tree-clinging marsupial understands astrophysics? Personally, I see it constantly. Inform yourself before you even attempt to inform someone else.
Finally, I will try to work my way around a topic that I could rant about for months at a time given the opportunity and lung capacity…
People very seriously need to understand the concept of being offended. It boggles my mind how people have suddenly developed the capacity to be offended on behalf of others. If I make a joke about black men, it is NOT the place of a white woman to tell me that the joke is offensive. If the joke isn’t about you – you don’t have the right to be offended – that’s how being offended works, jackasses. It’s not up to you to determine what may or may not bother someone else. What happens if the black guy thinks the joke is funny, but the white woman thinks it’s offensive? Uh, the joke is funny – that’s what.
People need to give up on this notion that their opinions matter to anyone other than themselves. That’s the ego monster that lives in all of us, whispering in our ear that we are important. The truth is, we are all equally insignificant in the gran scheme of things and the second that you quit worrying about what other people think of you and your shitty opinions, life will be a more pleasurable experience. I can’t imagine how miserable of an existence it must be to just wander around life trying to convince people that whatever goes on in your head is somehow more important that what is going on in theirs.
Imagine if people actually put some effort into being a decent human beings. Who allowed people to draw their own conclusions and think their own thoughts instead of just blasting them with whatever grey-matter diminishing drivel they can produce with their thumbs in an online platform.
Instead, share wisdom. Share experience. Share real knowledge. Share praise. Share joy. Teach people, don’t just blindly inform them.
Other than that, keep your big stupid mouth closed.