There is a reason that sarcasm will never, in my opinion, go out of style. That reason is, other people’s obliviousness. Whether it’s rooted in selfishness, unawareness, idiocy or sheer bloody mindedness, sarcasm is really the only logical response to certain situations.
For instance, I am an editor, a journalist. I have been my entire career. I am basically a professional wordsmith. Writing and reading are part and parcel of my life, and I want it that way. Like many today, I’m extremely busy. My job is deadline driven and consuming, I have family members to tend, and personal aspirations that require some precarious balancing if all are to get the attention they deserve.
Enter this person. I’m going to call her this person because I no longer care to speak her name. Harsh? So what. Check the background. There is a reason I no longer have a relationship with this person – she said some mean things to me.
*reader frowns* Mean? Like, mean on a playground? Mean as in this person cut in front of you in line at the grocery story, or laughed at an off color, racist joke at a party?
No. I mean mean as in, while having a conversation – talking where two people tender comments/opinions – this person said things I felt were uncalled for, undeserved, extremely personal and quite illustrative of her true feelings about me.
I considered the situation and decided to cease all unnecessary contact. There was no big ta-doo, no scene, no explanation – these days Fat Kid is all about conflict avoidance and energy conservation. Therefore, this oblivious person may not even be aware I no longer care for her.
This person reached out to me via email to ask/tell me she volunteered me to look at her friends new book. But don’t worry, it’s not long and there is no time limit. I can take as long as I need.
*writer sits silently staring, occasionally blinking*
I ask, how long is long?
I’m essentially told, what does that matter? I’ve seen you read very quickly.
*more crickets chirping*
*writer scratches head then adopts thinking man pose*
So, because I have a specialized skill, it’s ok for you to volunteer my services? Skills that weren’t free for me to get. Skills I am still paying for – why did I just pay the minimum on that punk ass loan? They’re probably going to gas 7M of us with a higher interest rate! *takes deep breath* – Skills that my current position pays quite well to use on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it have been polite to ask me first before you even mentioned me to your friend?
Then I could explain that I do a nice side business writing/editing for money, and am too busy pursuing my own projects to take on any pro bono work right now? Or to give me the opportunity to say, no I would prefer not to do any “quick looks” because as a matter of professional integrity, I would feel obligated to do more than offer a cursory glance, which puts me in a potentially awkward position, since if the work sucks balls I have to say so? Or to say, hey, I do take on work for free occasionally, but it’s my privilege to decide what and when, not you?
Bottom line? Even if I wasn’t on fire busy right now, I’m too old to work for free. I could go on and say that times are hard, resources are scarce, I need every spare moment to work on my own shit when I’m not puttin’ it down on my job. But honestly?
Don’t be an ass. Don’t volunteer my time to do your friend a favor. Get some class. Think before you speak.
You may be wondering why I’m so pissed. As a writer, it’s quite common for people to expect to get your skills for free, as is probably the case for many people who have expertise in a given industry. I’m mad because despite all the bitching I just did, I agreed to look at the work. I’m really pissed at myself.
*rolls eyes, shakes head and sighs at own idiocy*
Let this be a lesson to anyone. Sometimes being nice is truly for the birds.