Let's Have a Chat about Asshats Shall We?
Okay. Let's be frank. We all know people who in the privacy of our minds (or out loud) are serious jerks. Our world is populated with these types of idiots--whether it's the sour-faced cretins who are abusing the cashier at the grocery store or the bigoted morons we encounter on Twitter. For convenience's sake (and because I like the word) let's just lump them all together under one linguistic aegis and call them asshats.
And before anyone complains, 'ass' can be found in the Bible and 'hat' is a lot nicer than 'hole'. Basically I'm calling these asshats haberdashery for a donkey, so slow your roll.
When I tended bar, I dealt with asshats every night. Some were willfully rude; others didn't seem to have the slightest clue they'd been nominated for the asshat club. Every shift I worked, asshat relations were a huge part of my job. For people who exist upon the income they receive from tips, being able to handle the asshat had serious repercussions. Now, an asshat who was a moderate drinker I could usually deal with. The real problem came when the asshat in question drank a lot. Once an asshat gets a buzz, his proportionate asshattery grew accordingly.
And since the biggest asshats at my job were related to the owner of the bar, my ability to relate to them was essential.
For a while, I had to play along with the asshat games. But once they reached a certain point, I had to put my foot down. Coming behind my bar? That was a no-no. Driving while trashed? Equally a no-no, as I proved several times taking asshats home, calling them a cab, or calling my boss when his relatives were the asshats in question. For the most part, my asshat relations were fairly successful. Of course, the asshat has the final word. Annoy the asshat too much and he wouldn't tip.
But if someone was being a hardcore asshat, I didn't really care. And if the asshat refused to play along with my 'this is my bar shift, and you will not screw it up' mentality, there was always another option. Nothing is more gratifying than throwing an asshat out of a bar. Nothing. Once I pulled a straight up Dukes of Hazard slide over the bar to break up a fight between eight guys. Finally got them all in the parking lot and a regular called the cops for me. Got hit full in the face,but since I was wading into the fight to pull someone out by their ankles it was my own fault.
What I hadn't counted on was the asshat-in-chief getting into his car and trying to run me over.
But then again, I have a high percentage photographic memory, and his license plate was fairly easy to remember. The cops picked him up three blocks away, thus gratifying the 'send the asshat to jail' mental fantasy I had silently daydreamed about for hours.
Unfortunately, the natural habitat of the asshat has evolved in recent years. Instead of wandering the wilds of the outdoors, now the asshat has taken to living in his mother's basement or a rented double-wide, where he stalks his prey online. He's lurking right now on your Twitter feed, waiting to pounce on the unwary.
I am rarely unwary, and having a good vocabulary, a fast WPM typing speed, and the ability to think on my feet has brought me into conflict with this most elusive breed of asshat. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't require an IQ test before someone is allowed to participate in social media. Or a spelling/grammar test either, which I find reprehensible. And while you can prune your contact list to people with merit, you cannot prune your contacts' lists. And that's how the heavily-disguised asshat slips into your feed. Someone says something objectionable, and you end up getting into a flame war on Twitter with some asshat whose political memes are desecrating your feed.
Allow me to warn you--the asshat is incapable of learning when they've been beaten, and will flame on long after he'd actually run out of gas. Then all of a sudden, when it's obvious that you have won, the asshat resorts to name-calling of the worst order. I can't even tell you all the creatively spelled curse words that have been directed at me online. It's like they know that because I am a writer/editor, every ghastly misspelled degrading term impacts me just that much worse. Strangely enough though, the asshats who don't know the different between 'your' and 'you're' always manage to spell 'bitch' correctly.
It baffles me.
There's a particular asshat on my radar right now who is a caller on the Paul Finebaum show. He is only capable of carrying on flame wars when they're one-sided--because the cowardly asshat blocks anyone who disagrees with him. So he spews forth these monologues denigrating good people that I personally like, and is fundamentally incapable of tolerating anyone who disagrees with him. As I am allergic to homophobic misogynistic bigoted racist pigs, I've been blocked for a long time. But that doesn't stop him from trashing me all over the internet. This asshat's life is so empty that all he can manage to do is spew forth poison online about someone who can't even see it firsthand--and call a sports talk show to plug Donald Trump. And his wholly imaginary past.
Which brings me to the ultimate point about asshats. Regardless of whether you encounter them in public or online, the asshat is fundamentally a very sad,lonely person. Their sole empowerment is acting like an asshat. Sitting down at that keyboard is the high point of their day. Because they have nothing positive to offer themselves,all they can offer is negativity to the world in general. So in the end, stepping on an asshat is kind of akin to stepping on a cockroach.
Kind of gross but wholly satisfying.