“May you live in interesting times” – Ancient Chinese curse

When we ran that quote past Mrs. Idler she informed us that there is no record of such a thing being said in Chinese and the quote is therefore probably not authentic. This kind of torqued us off because we always liked that quote and wanted to use it, but, being the man of the house, we didn’t react aggressively or violently. No, we simply put way too much cream in her coffee and “forgot” to give her a napkin with it. Now who’s in charge, Mrs. Know-it-all?


This is what is known as a “passive aggressive” reaction, and while it comes with its own set of problems, they are several thousand orders of magnitude less threatening than the alternative “active aggressive” reaction which comes with a real strong chance of landing you in the dock, the ER or the Stony Lonesome.

Take road rage. The AAA just published research that shows that 80% of adult drivers admitted to feeling anger, aggression or road rage in the past year. The other 20% are such incorrigible liars that they should be shot on sight! Sorry, got a little carried away there. Anyway, you can relax because the Idler is there for you, with strategies to overcome your occasional rages, road-connected or otherwise. To discourage other drivers from driving carelessly, you could start by putting a sign in your car window that reads, “Weapons-grade Plutonium On Board.” Or you could try, “I Brake For Pokéballs”. Either way, the hot-rodders should keep their distance, and you can successfully avoid awkward exchanges of insults, blows or gunfire.

Then there’s politics. For every upright, fair-minded citizen-patriot who supports the same right-thinking, visionary candidate as you, there’s going to be at least one drooling, slope-browed blockhead who supports the loathsome, lying, craven, clownish phony leading the other party’s ticket.  How should you approach this situation? First a few dont’s:

Don’t react to provocations – Instead, compliment the opposing candidate’s makeup artist, relative sobriety and ability to stand up under police questioning.

Feign ignorance – “Oh, right, I think I heard about this. So wait, was one a secretary for a state or something, and the other one builds walls?”

Throw a curveball – “As a numerologist, I only vote in elections held during years that are prime numbers. 2011 was the last one; 2017 is the next.”

Should your opponent insist on explaining exactly why his candidate is superior, throw him off balance by asking what level he’s reached on Candy Crush.

Getting back to the quote, we seem to be cursed with interesting times lately, in the sense that it’s interesting how many nuts can sort of snap into action all in a fairly brief period of time and for reasons we have trouble understanding. It’s not what people believe, either, because they can believe all manner of preposterous things without causing any harm to anyone. There are people who believe in UFO’s and people who believe in ghosts. There are even people who believe that Bill Belichick is not an extraterrestrial. They just don’t act on it. And if you follow our logic here, it’s the “action” part that’s troubling. Psychologists use jargon like “acting out” and “impulse control” and essentially it’s a question of pausing for a moment before you lean on that horn, throw that punch or pull that trigger and thinking through the consequences. You might ask yourself, “What Would The Idler Do?” and even though the answer would probably involve either a nap or a refreshing beverage, it would still be preferable to a stretch in the big house or a reservation in the Mahogany Hilton.

So before you do something rash, stop and think about it over a nice soothing libation. Hey, what the heck did she put in this coffee?

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com  Also, Like “The Idler” on Facebook

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