Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to be polite to an A-hole.

On my way to run two days ago, I patiently waited at the crosswalk for cars to pass to make my way into the park. I stood next to two men, also waiting to cross. Nevermind these two grown men were both drinking cans of crappy beer but I chalked it up to the fact they were likely crossing the street to the ball fields.

As we waited, one of them in a very snide and unpleasant tone, "Those guys have it so easy. I wish I could get paid to stand outside all day collecting money in a boot." He is referring to four firefighters standing on the center lanes at this four-way cross walk. His friend says, "That and posing for calendars." They guffawed to themselves. He then turns to me and asks, "Wouldn't you just love to have that job?"

Sometimes I find myself in situations that invoke the fight or flight response. Not the standard biological response but more the response of "shall I fight with idiocy or shall I take flight from the band of idiocy in which I am currently encircled." Sometimes you need to take the high road. Sometimes you need to just smile and nod. Sometimes you just have to learn to be polite to an arsehole.

So here is my response:

"Oh that job? Yes, I would LOVE that job. Because outside of the four or five hours they spend outside boot in hand collecting much needed donations, they spend the rest of their professional time running into BURNING buildings. You know why they do that? To save people's lives. To remove people from the home before the ceilings cave in and to douse the entire mess with water in an attempt to save as many of your personal items as possible including crap you don't even need and all your awesome pictures from that one trip to the Grand Canyon. And what a great job where your spouse and children worry for your safety every time you leave the house. Oh, and do you know WHY they look good enough to be in calendars? Because they work out all the time so they can carry people out of the inferno. That all sounds ideal. When can I be recruited???"

So how do you act politely to an arsehole? Clearly, I would not know in this case. They stared and I think one of them had their mouth open a bit. We all missed the crosswalk light so I enjoyed standing with them even longer than necessary.

Perhaps the sarcasm spraying out of my mouth similar to a firehouse stunned them.The friend merely muttered, "Sorry." My Father is a retired policeman. Maybe I have a soft spot for law enforcement and fire fighters; occupations that including a very high risk of death. Maybe these two had it coming. Or maybe I just felt like spritzing the whole situation in a little combination of sass and la bitchilita. Either way, how to be polite to an arsehole is something I will have to practice in the future.

38 comments:

Dark Mother said...

I would have reacted just like you. I'm actually in the middle of writing a post about speaking up to stupid, hurtful, racist or downright offensive comments.

Bravo to you my friend for using your voice when many others would have just looked away.

Jean said...

Well done! I tip my hat (if I were wearing one) to you MrsMac :)

singedwingangel said...

ROFLMBO no wonder we get along. My hubby used to be a VOLUNTEER Fireman, meaning he did it for the love of people NOT cause he got paid. There was a letter to the Editor of our local paper one day complaining about how they drove through lights and such when getting to the station for a call and when they drove to a scene in the fire trucks. HE thought they should obey the law and lights..
I WENT OFF>> YEAH OFF
I said Oh I am so sorry that you have nothing in your life that you find worth another person giving up part of their day to protect in the event of an emergency. So when your house catches fire be sure to remind the dispatcher of that fact and I can promise you they will take their sweet time. As for the rest of the runs, those people appreciate what my husband does and the speed with which they arrive sooo I think they will continue to drive like bats out of hell to those people.. got anything else you wanna say.
Yeah the following week he apologized.. smart man very smart man.

Simply Suthern said...

Prolly 30 sec after you jogged away one looked at the other and said "If she said one more thing I would have kicked her arse" LOL Amazing how easily women can disarm a guy with their tongue.

Ed said...

Whatever.

Firemen can do no wrong in a ladies eye.

the walking man said...

so you took the diplomatic route then eh? All that edumacation has finally kicked in right? You say there were two firefighters right there? Why not just scream a high pitched girly scream and point at the two miscreants and let the firefighters take care of your "unable to deal with stupidity" self?

Your response was just fine but I may have dodged traffic to not have to stand there with them for a second light because I do not get along with ignorance for two traffic lights worth of time.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Fireman do it for me too.

vanilla said...

Whether or not the lesson is effective, I applaud you for giving it a shot.

Eva Gallant said...

What a great response! Kudos, Kiddo!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

My husband tells me all the time that my mouth will be the death of me!
<><

Jewels For Hope said...

best reaction! I would have done the same thing :)

Kelley at My Island Wedding said...

don't you dare practice how to be polite to any kind of arsehole!!! i think you handled yourself quite nicely!

good for you. (and thank you for your father's service as well as all the others out there that put their lives on the line.)
-kelley

Kristina P. said...

I would love to see if they could drag a 150 pound person up the stairs, and jump through windows and carry around a sledgehammer.

I had no idea how intense they work! Adam is one test away from being a certified firefighter!

Audreya said...

Arseholes, indeed. I'm glad you set them straight.

My dad is also a retired police officer. And my husband is a police officer. So I share your soft spot.

mermaid gallery said...

I had the same thing happen to me ..except it was policemen that were getting the rap....I went up one side of that guy and down the other....assholes look out...I love taking my frustrations out on assholes....good job, girl!

Mommy Lisa said...

I love La Bitchilita.

Maria said...

You know, they probably had a hard enough time carrying their prejudices AND the crappy beer they were consuming. Regardless, I probably would have added a couple of expletives to get my point across in a language they could understand.

Well done, JennyMac!

Pricilla said...

My hubby is fire chief here.
Thank you

Big Fat Gini said...

Amen!

I know far too many wives and mothers who stay awake into the wee hours of the morning waiting for their husband/son to check in and let them know they're okay and will be home soon.

Posing for calendars? Please.

Marcy said...

sass and la bitchilita...LOVE THIS.

brainella said...

Do it to it, Jenny Mac. You rock! :)

J.J. in L.A. said...

Honey, they had it coming and you handled it brilliantly!

A childhood friend and I had an argument (on Facebook) about gun control. My niece's hubby is a cop and this woman argued that the constitution gives us the 'right to bear arms'. I said, "My niece just had a baby girl and her daddy doesn't need to die because some lunatic can get his hands on a gun. No one needs a glock or an uzi". The next time we 'talked' the subject never came up.

Bouncin' Barb said...

I so would have done that too. Ignorance is so obvious when some open their mouths, isn't it? Good for you!

Wow, that was awkward said...

Geez, they are a-holes AND idiots. Glad you did what you did.

Kathy said...

Well done...

webb said...

Don't bother - trying to be civil, that is. These are the guys who want to get rid of the fire fighters' union, while complaining if it takes 30 minutes to get their cat out of a tree. Not worth your time.

Chez Zizi said...

Uh No, you don't need to practice being polite to an arsehole.
Well done.
Zizette

DaisyGal said...

personally, I think your responses were perfect. :)

A**holes! ;)

Ashley Stone said...

I'm not good at it either! I like your response... sometimes idiots just need to be set straight.

Dumblond said...

Did you really say that to him?! Aaaamazing. I hope you made them extremely uncomfortable.

Nitmos said...

But seriously, BESIDES the death-defying danger into which they are suddenly thrust, they do spend lots of time sleeping on the job, no?

DeNae said...

You? Are a rock star.

sweethomeamy said...

Good for you! Seriously! What idiots!! I am so glad you responded like that!

Caty said...

no need to be polite...I love some sarcasm!! Way to put them in their place :)

secret agent woman said...

When people are in need of educating, politeness is not the biggest concern.

KittyCat said...

One anyone who has been drinking arent worth arguing with. Most of the time it will just end badly,
As for working games, I can tell you first hand knowledge it isnt all freakin fun. It sucks actually.

CountessLaurie said...

Way to go!!

Melissa B. said...

We just lost two local firefighters in a 4-alarm inferno. They had gone into a blazing vacant building, thinking that it was occupied. Sad. About these brave men and your brazen arseholes.