Monthly Archives: July 2013

Be enthusiastic

Please stop being the killjoy, The Negative Nellie, the naysayer. I know, you think you are doing us all a favour, saving us from our ineptitude. You want to prepare us for the worst. Sadly, only assholes shoot down great things their friends are doing. Now, being only recently reformed from my naysayer ways, I understand and I’m here to help.

One thing that may trigger the killjoy repsonse is feeling a teensie bit of jealousy. Yuck.

Here’s a test: Your vegan-who-eats-only-local-in-season-food friend has just told you about knitting with dog hair.

Big Loud Mean Voice That is some crazy ass shit right there.

You just failed the test. Let’s revisit. Word by word.

I say “vegan” and you might think “dang, that tempeh is still in the fridge. I think I was going to skewer it. shit.” Then you contemplate local and in season and remember you promised to join the food co-op and radically shift how food comes to your table. A bit of carbon guilt and wincing at eating deep fried chicken that ended up making you sick. See how this is not about your friend? Yes, your friend. You, the asshole, have A FRIEND.

By some goddamn miracle you have been gifted with someone’s affection, however tenuous, and they sound pretty interesting. They sound like someone who makes decisions in line with their values and you being their friend was one of them. So buck up buttercup, the nice lady was telling you about her dog hair knitting project. You say?

Big Loud Mean Voice Does it come with a flea collar?

Ok, we have some work to do, granted, and I’m itching a lot thinking about a dog hair sweater. Wasn’t a hair shirt a torture device? or some weird suffering shit? GAH. Must keep friend!

If all else fails I go back to “Tell me more about that” or some variation of “yes, and”.

“I’ve heard about people knitting with dog hair (that’s the yes/affirming part of your response), and I’ve always wondered about how the hair is made into yarn (invitation for them to say more)”

See that was easy, if a bit scratchy. Face to face is tough, what with all the scratching induced by the idea of a dog hair sweater.

Big Loud Mean Voice See I told you, crazy ass shit.

So you may want to practice being enthusiastic via social media or on the phone. Choose to be the cheerleader in  your friend’s life. Chances are they have naysayers a plenty but very few people who just say “you rock” or “I love your tattoo” or “You are really creative” or “You can totally handle this”.

It’s your friend. You are neither parent nor therapist.(remember about giving feedback ) If they say something that is worrisome, that’s a whole other thing, muddle through the best you can, they’re your friend despite you being a bit of an asshole so, you know, they see the best in you too. Try to live up to that and things will be fine.

Don’t worry about the pompoms but start thinking about how you can be more enthusiastic, more of a cheerleader. It turns out it’s a lot of fun and she probably won’t give you the dog hair sweater, that’s for her mom.



Denis Leary, nicer now than in 1993

Remember the Asshole song?

I do. Sadly I didn’t get that it was satire at the time. At the height of my angry-proud-of-being-an-asshole days this was my anthem. That’s right. I was proud of being mean and ornery and no one did stand up meaner than Denis Leary. He embodied the straight-talking-insult-slinging person I was trying to be.

Turns out though, Denis seems to be a “nice guy”. What? My angry icon? In the 20 years since the release of the song Denis has championed for change in all kinds of pretty awesome ways. He started the Leary Firefighters Foundation. He supports other charities. His stand up act was always social commentary but lately, maybe it was having kids, maybe it is just about getting a bit older, he’s just…well…nicer.

And I’m thinking, if Denis Leary, who built his career on being an asshole while making fun of assholes (I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around that conundrum) can move along the road to nicer then I can too.

Beneath all the ranting and anger, that’s mellowed to a simmering frustration, is the guy who said this:

“Racism isn’t born folks, it’s taught. I have a two year old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.”

So maybe you want to change. Maybe you want to take a step on the road to nicer but your plant died (it’s ok, get another plant). Take that cause you care about, that thing that reminds you of vulnerability, and do something to make it better. Donate. Volunteer. Hug the kid you got before you realized maybe you weren’t ready for the kid.

It’s ok, we got this. Denis is nicer now than in 1993, we can be nicer too.