I have often admired the mantra ” Every day, in every way, I’m getting bitter and bitter. ” It seems to be the sort of saying that would suit Baudelaire or Oscar Levant.
Or then again there is the biblical injunction ” If the eye of another offend thee, pluck it out. ” It explains a lot of what I see on Facebook.
Now it is all very well to be offended by things. One could hardly pass a day awake without some form of unpleasantness or inconvenience cropping up. The problem is how to make the offence work for you – how to turn a good profit from a bad investment or a good time from a bad decision. Let The Guild help you:
a. There is something about everyone that can offend someone else if they look diligently for it. – even the kindest of people can be seen in a bad light if we are prepared to take a few of the bulbs out of our intellectual lamp. Take the Dalai Lama, for instance. Hard to fault him on kindness or peaceful mien, but what about those eyebrows, hey? You can’t tell me he’s not doing that on purpose. He’s taking the piss, surely. And who told him he could call you Shirley? That’s offensive, that is.
b. Offence = defence is an equation that can be used to justify nearly anything we would like to do.
c. If you are offended someone owes you something. Money, land, white Toyota Land Cruisers, respect, a seat in Parliament, an apology, several apologies, unending apologies…well the list is endless…and tempting. What would you like to have and who has it and what sort of fuss do you need to make to get it? Come on, think .
d. A mind is a terrible thing to loose…on other people. When you are going to go spare over some offence, plan how far you are going to go – once your argument is out of your mouth ( or wherever else you may keep it…) it is open to refutation and condemnation. It may not be possible to get it back in a usable form.
e. Being on your lonesome and offended by something is a sad thing but if you can get a group together to agree that you are outraged it is the foundation of a rather good beer and cheese party. At the very least you can give each other a feeling of solidarity – though in some cases that is just the effect of the cheese.
f. You must consider the worst case scenario – you call offence and the person whom you have targeted apologizes to you. If it is in a public forum then everyone sees the exchange. At that point, the ball is in your hands, and you must be careful not to fumble it. If you fail to acknowledge the apology and just repeat your howl of outrage you look like a wad. Worse still, you look like a boring wad, and continuing to try to get on top of the situation just reinforces that image. If you go on the attack, you invite the same retaliation that you tried – and people look to see you destroyed in turn. If you go silent and slink away you look like a cowardly wad.
You may be forced to forgive someone, as infuriating as that sounds. And the horrible part of that is that they will go away and forget the incident but you will find it seared into you like a scar.