My Knee Jerk Reaction Would Be To Kick You In The Knee, Jerk

The kneebone's connected to the - kicking bone...

The knee-bone’s connected to the – kicking bone…

My physical reflexes have never been what they once were.  My mental reflexes are probably worse. Yet if a verbal hammer hits a certain spot in my brain, the guy wielding that hammer is probably gonna get a reflexive kick to the gonads.  Metaphorically speaking.

Here are some of the hammers that trip my automatic response.

For The Love Of God, Give Me the Cliffs Notes Version

What they say: To make a long story short…
My response: Too late!

Anyone who says, “to make a long story short” is a big, fat liar.  No story is being shortened.  People who say this (and you know who you are) never do so until AFTER they have already told you the extended-play version of the tale.  Told it in such excruciating detail that you’re getting ready to gnaw your own foot off to escape, like a fox in a trap.

This is my biggest knee-jerk-reaction temptation.  When I hear “to make a long story short”, an answering cry of “too late!” burbles up from the depths of my being. Only iron-willed self control keeps me from shouting it out.  Usually.

Pythagoras Can Bite Me

What they say: The square root of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the remaining two sides.
My response: Not only that, Professor…

This favorite response is homage to the intrepid crew and passengers of the S.S. Minnow.  For those too young to remember Gilligan’s Island, the braineiac Professor never missed an opportunity to use obscure, scientific jargon when plain English would have done just as well.  This was especially true when he was dealing with that simple-minded man/child, Gilligan.   Gilligan would then summarize the Professor’s complicated explanation into one, “see Jane run” kind of sentence.

“Not only that, Professor…” cues the speaker that they might consider restating something in a simpler way.  Or it cues them that I’m a condescending jerk myself.

Conduct Unbecoming A Longshoreman

What they say:  @#$*&^!#%
My response: You kiss your mama with that mouth?

A couple of teenage boys were standing next to me in a crowd and one casually dropped the f-bomb.  I punched him lightly on the arm and said, “You kiss your mama with that mouth?”   I know, I know; it’s not my business, it’s freedom of speech and I’m lucky he didn’t punch me back.  Luckily, the young man responded as I hoped.  He looked surprised and had the grace to mumble, “Oh, sorry.”

When did foul curses become acceptable for everyday conversation?  Hows about we remember that there is a time and place for everything?  After all, the expression is “all the world’s a stage” not, “all the world’s a locker room.”

This Tornado Got Any Silver Linings?  Anything? Anything?

What they say:  My husband ran off with my sister, my hound dog ran off with a poodle and my pickup truck died.
My response: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

It’s a delicate balancing act to be empathetic when someone is going through a rough patch, and I’m not talking about serious situations.   But when confronted with an Eeyore who only talks about the downside of life’s little challenges, sometimes this reduced-to-the-absurd reminder can get them to lighten up a bit.

Sometimes all I get is a blank look when I say “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”  If they think about it for a while and still don’t get it, they have to add, “I am a slow-witted dolt” to their laundry list of Reasons Why Life Sucks.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to squelch these knee-jerk reactions.  Maybe my funny little responses can help people.  Or maybe they’ll cause the listener to instinctively deliver a swift kick to MY gonads for being such a smart aleck buttinski.

What verbal stimulus sets off your automatic response?

Advertisements

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

119 Responses to My Knee Jerk Reaction Would Be To Kick You In The Knee, Jerk

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Oh, I’m with you on this — the long story people and the endless complainers are especially aggravating to me.

    Like

  2. mistyslaws says:

    I have been known to utter the phrase, “to make a long story short” when I realize I’ve been babbling a while and want to wrap it up, but I’m also the one that usually follows that up with a “too late!!” because I realize that I’m way past that point. Does that give me extra brownie points, Professor Pegolicious?

    Like

  3. Margie says:

    I’m surprised, like you, with the use of inappropriate language. Having said that, I spent an hour and a half with my dad in a doctor’s waiting room yesterday, and realized how often my dad uses ‘hell’ and ‘damn’ and he isn’t even upset about anything.
    I’m afraid I almost had a knee jerk reaction when the nurse finally stopped to apologize for keeping us waiting that long. She said, “We’re running just a wee bit late”… but I managed to keep my mouth shut.

    Like

  4. Go Jules Go says:

    HA. YES. The “long story short” one gets me, too, and I’m definitely reading your Eeyore post next. I’ve found I’ve had to take a pity-laugh approach to Wet Blankets, otherwise they drive me up the wall. I work with someone where every conversation starts like this: ME: “Hey Happy Friday! How are you?!” HIM: “Oh, you know, it’s just so, so, so busy. SIGH. WHINE. SIGH.”

    Every.

    Time.

    THEN! If I play into it via reverse psychology (“Yeah, I know. It’s ridiculous. I can’t take it anymore.”), he always says something -in a total Eeyore tone, I might add- like, “But I’m trying to stay positive.”

    HA!

    Like

  5. Then there’s “Well, it’s a long story but…” Oh, groan. Please, no, can I be excused? Great post.

    Like

  6. One argument to getting in a word edgewise is someone kindly saying “I’m not trying to be difficult but…blahblahblah.” Yes, you ARE trying to be difficult and you’ve just cancelled out in your mind thoughts others may have on the matter. “Such a lonely existence,” I think– do not say…grrrr…yes, that’s me growling.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I love how you see the other person’s point of view. I was rereading the Desiderata the other day and there’s a line that goes something like, “Listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, for even they have their tale.” I need to remind myself of this when the “grrr factor” is climbing.

      Like

  7. Pleun says:

    I kind of remember all that, but since I am now living in a country where I don’t speak the language fluently (yet) I don’t really have any of these problems anymore. After reading your excellent post, I am kind of motivated to keep it that way 😉

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That must be frustrating, not to be able to catch the nuances in your adopted country’s language. I help out with an English-as-a-second-language course and last week I was trying to explain humor and sarcasm. Here’s an interesting tidbit: knock-knock jokes don’t translate well into Spanish OR Mandarin.

      Like

      • Pleun says:

        I’m not that frustrated that I miss the nuances (yet), because 1 Ignorance is bliss and 2. there are other things that frustrate me more (like the copious amounts of paperwork for just about everything and the fact that I always seem to miss one apparently important item. Arghh).

        Like

      • Pleun says:

        Oh and knock-knock jokes apparently don’t translate to Dutch as well. I just don’t get them either 😉

        Like

  8. Al says:

    When they say: “It’s none of my business, but…..”

    Then I say: “Wow, you’re really perceptive!”

    Like

  9. I’m not particularly proud of this, except to say that so far I’ve kept it on the inside (but my filter is fading and I’m so very afraid one day it’s going to slip out). Just between you and me, far too often during the course of daily affairs, I want to say. . . .

    “Here’s your sign.” — Bill Engvall.

    Like

  10. susielindau says:

    OUCH!!! That smarts! You would kick me with #1. I am guilty of long-winded stories, hence my new passion….drum roll please…. writing stories! I only edit on my computer. 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You’re a genius! We could all use “Blab Check”. All you have to do is invent a verbal edit gizmo to put on our mouths. Get working on that project, OK?

      Like

  11. How about, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but……” or “I don’t mean to offend you, but….” But WHAT? They end up saying it the wrong way AND offending you! Grrrrr!

    Like

  12. notquiteold says:

    I second all your suggestions, and also that of brickhousechick. I will add one of my own: “Calm Down.” I am a very patient understanding person. If I am upset, it is for a reason. “Calm Down” makes me go completely berserk, which I don’t think quite reflects the intention of the suggestion.

    Like

  13. TamrahJo says:

    My top knee-jerk is:
    “What you have to understand….”
    To which I reply:
    “I don’t ‘have’ to anything, but if I love you, I will try to see why you want me to change, so you don’t have to….
    🙂

    Like

  14. I hate “long story short.” I twitched when I read it, because I immediately associate it with a guy I used to work with who never stops talking, rambles endlessly, I mean really drags out every point he wants to make because he’s not very good at word selection and he’s kind of a used car salesman so he’s always working the deal and trying to sell you on whatever it is that he’s saying. And he finishes and then says “long story short” and then basically launches into the whole thing again so–

    Long story short: he’s a moron.

    And as much as I might swear in my blog, I HATE public swearing without regard for who might overhear. It is NOT a free speech issue. It’s a courtesy and social grace issue.

    But my biggest problem of all is probably the malaprop. It’s like nails on a chalkboard when someone mixes their metaphors or screws up a common phrase. I just want to correct them, but my mother tells me that’s rude.

    Like

  15. The worst is Eeyores on Facebook. I’m sure they’re not downers ALL THE TIME in real life, but when you only post every time you get sick or burn something, people are gonna hate, and that person is me.

    Like

  16. Ok then, to make a long story short……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  17. Seasweetie says:

    I frequently use the “Mrs. Lincoln” line. And I have a dear friend who often does the “long story short” thing. Every time I tell myself how much I love her, so I can keep from flicking her. Or worse.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Good tactic. What do you do if the offender is NOT somebody you love? Are they fair game then? I just need to know the rules so, if I mess up, I can say “it was Sweetie’s idea!”

      Like

  18. rachelocal says:

    I’m not a fan of someone repeating a story over and over again. I want to scream and yell, “SHUT UP! I’ve heard this a million times.” But I’m usually too polite or the person is older and I’m respectful.

    Or when someone says, “Isn’t that ironic?” AND IT’S NOT IRONIC. I want to say, “Actually, that’s a coincidence, you moron.”

    Like

  19. I use “Mrs. Lincoln” too! And with friends, I’ll pitch in…”to make a long story LONGER.” But my number one reflexive ARGH is “I could care less” when they should be saying “I couldn’t care less.”

    Like

  20. Paula J says:

    http://birdiesiview.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/no-problem/. This is one of the things that people say that causes me to want to have a snappy comeback.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Uh-oh. Guilty as charged. I say that all the time and my husband has the same pet peeve. I think it’s a cheery, helpful response. No?

      Like

    • Sandy Sue says:

      Oh, oh, oh. This one drives me bugsh*t! Here’s my response now:
      Me: Thank You.
      Them: No problem
      Me: Oh, I’m sorry. Did I do something wrong?
      Them: Huh?
      Me: Was there a problem?
      Them: Huh?
      Me: Well, you mentioned a problem. I’m terribly sorry.
      Them: Huh?
      (Sometimes this goes on for awhile depending on how much entertainment value I’m cruising for that day.)

      Like

  21. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, yes, I think we can all relate to these, though I must admit, I do enjoy sounding a little Frasier Cranish in my blog writing. It helps me look less stupid when I’m writing about pee and poo. Or so I think. But feel free to write: “Not only that, Professor…” in one of your comments when you come visit. 😉

    And yes, the Eeyores. Oh, the Eeyores. That can be a tough one.

    Like

  22. I can’t stand when someone starts off with “As a friend…” or “I’m not going to tell you what to do, but…”

    That and my brother saying the same, old, tired jokes at family reunions. I’ve started to interrupt with the punchline halfway through the joke, but he still keeps going on. So that’s when I go to the mall and drop f-bombs next to total strangers. Was that you?

    Like

  23. Elyse says:

    How about when you casually ask in passing “How are you?” in passing and they give you a cell by cell description. This usually happens when I’m on my way to the bathroom, so maybe I’m just extra sensitive.

    Or how about folks who give you great details about their lives and never bother to ask how you’re doing.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      What nerve! To think that a question about how they’re doing could merit an actual answer????
      Even though that sounds snarky, it’s a fact, isn’t it? That is just a polite nothing; a rhetorical question and we assume everybody knows it.

      Like

      • Elyse says:

        It should depend on how it’s asked. If I look into your eyes and make myself comfortable for the long haul, go ahead and give me the details. Otherwise, “fine, thanks” works (even if you are in cardiac arrest).

        Like

  24. At least nine times a day, someone will ask, “Can I ask you a quick question?”

    I have several knee jerk responses, depending on the person who asks. Most often I want to say, “You just did.”

    Runner up is, “Sure, the question is quick, but I’m not promising the answer will be.”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Ha ha! “You just did” is a great response, but then you should just walk briskly away from them.

      Like

    • Laura says:

      I used to work with someone who would come to my office fairly often to have this conversation with me:

      Him: Can I ask you about something later?
      Me: What is it? You can ask me now.
      Him: No, I’m not ready now. I’ll come by later.
      Me: Oh, is this going to take more than a few minutes? When do you want to do it?
      Him: I’ll come by later.

      Most of the time, he never followed up.

      Like

      • Maybe he wanted to ask for a date. True story — I had a very similar situation for the past year or so. I thought he was priming me for an Amway pitch or to join a cult. Just a few weeks ago, on a really bad day, he stood in my doorway and said he enjoyed interfacing with me and we should interface outside of work some time. I’m still not sure whether it was an Amway pitch or a cult indoctrination.

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Hippie’s got a boyfriend, Hippie’s got a boyfriend. Your cue was when he punched you in the arm and then sent his friend across the playground to talk to you.,

          Like

      • pegoleg says:

        It better be good after building that kind of tension.

        Like

  25. I tend to want to say “That’s she said” after everything.

    Like

  26. Pingback: Count to 10…Then, you can still yell… | The Good, Bad and Ludicrous

  27. I can totally relate. I was recently scarred for life by a conversation between smoking catholic schoolgirls discussing their distaste for their friend’s preference for anal sex over their own vanilla sex lives. I mean come on girls, those discussions are for the playground, not the bus stop.

    Like

  28. omawarisan says:

    …but you don’t understand.

    No, I understand. I don’t agree.

    Like

  29. This post made me laugh, and I enjoyed reading the comments too! Another one that gets me is those people where you tell them a story about something that’s happened, and it doesn’t matter what the story is, they’ll always say “Yes, that happened to me too”, except that their story will always be bigger and better than the one you just told. After they’ve finished with their hugely exaggerated story, I always feel like saying “Oh I’ve just remembered another time where something like that happened” and then go even bigger and better than theirs, maybe ending with a spaceship landing and Elvis stepping off it and buying us all a chocolate mountain which we snowboarded down accompanied by a pack of dogs who were singing songs from South Pacific.

    Like

    • Tar-Buns says:

      Ah, yes, the topper talker. Like kids on a playground – “Oh yeah? Well, My Dad can beat your Dad ANY day!” Quick rebuttal – “Oh Yeah??? Well, my MOm can kick your Mom’s cooking EVERY day!” And on and on it goes. For Ever. So much fun.

      Like

  30. Barb says:

    Well, I was going to say that my knee-jerk reaction happens when someone hi-jacks the conversation with “I know what you mean. One time…”and off they go with their own story of how they saved the world.
    But I just realized Vanessa-Jane Chapman complained about the very same thing in the blog in front of me and if I complain about the same thing, then I’m just hi-jacking her thread.
    So…crap…I need to get here earlier and comment or offer you a buck to move my post higher up in the comment line.

    Like

  31. Sandy Sue says:

    Dear, dear. I often tell longish stories with smarty-pants vocabulary sprinkled with colorful swears about my woes. You’d need a pill before we talked in person, but I think I have some leftovers…

    Like

  32. Oh, bother! I’m surrounded by Eeyores. My mom is the biggest one, she could see the downside to a sunny day.

    I guess I’m not a fan of someone who lays into me with thinly-veiled insults, but then at the end they say “No offense” and think that somehow makes up for it.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s so rude. And the cutting remarks iced with a sweet, pink frosting of funny. So not only are you being mocked, you don’t have a good sense of humor if you don’t laugh along with it. A lot of humor is like that, and it makes me squirm even while I’m laughing.

      Like

  33. All so true! And to make a short story even longer I love that you refer to the whiners as “Eeyore” I have a few people in my life that I call “Eeyore” for the same reason. O course they think it is a term of endearment.

    Like

  34. People coming up to me at work and saying “Working hard or hardly working?” My response use to be to laugh hysterically, sometimes repeating it to myself and then cracking up again, as if I’d never heard that one before. After awhile that got tiresome. Now I just answer “No.”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      “no” with a perfectly straight face probably has the same effect as over-the-top laughter; it get’s the “you are a doofus” message across loud and clear. 😉

      Like

  35. Every single thing you said Peg and what Vanessa-Jane Chapman said as well. I admit to having the mouth of a sailor and sometimes willy-nilly drop bombs in my writing, but never ever drop them in public where strangers can hear me unless I intend for them too.

    My other favorite, the one that truly gains my reflex action are those who insist on arguing feelings or personal reactions. Really? Is there some barometer somewhere that tells you my personal feelings should be something other than what they are and you are the expert?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s a good reminder about the feelings, Valentine. I sometimes find myself doing that and have to remind me “feelings aren’t good or bad, they just are.” Or some sort of new-age mantra like that.

      Like

  36. Angie Z. says:

    I felt myself “Hell yeah! Damn right!” with every one of these. Except the foul language one in which I responded “Heck yeah! Darn right!” Seriously, aren’t homo sapiens a total drag?

    This sort of relates to your last one about Eeyore — I haaaaaaaate when people right cryptic things as their Facebook status with the obvious intent of trolling for concern. As in, “I didn’t think this day could get any worse but I guess it could!!!” Or, “Somebody’s going to be really sorry they did that to me.” Who are these middle-aged drama queens and how did I get to be friends with them on Facebook?

    Like

    • Angie Z. says:

      I also hate when people don’t do a better job of editing their comments.

      Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Hey, watch that talk, Missy Miss. Some of my best friends are homo sapiens!

      I am pretty much over whatever tiny interest I had in Facebook. I can barely bring myself to check it out every couple of weeks. And I’ve totally given up on the news as well. If something earth-shattering happens, somebody call or email me, OK?

      Like

  37. Hahaha… but… but… I can shorten so many stories with an F-bomb! Or… ten.
    😉

    Like

  38. Great post – pretty much every things been said.
    “Polite conversation rules/conventions” of the past may have been said to be fake and covering up real feelings – but it was so much more pleasant – and less stressful.
    “Too much information” being blabbed all the time is irritating – we don’t want to know. Really.

    Like

  39. bzzfft says:

    I love the Lincoln reply! I’m just sitting here with no outward sign of mirth but inwardly terribly enjoying it.

    Like

  40. “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” CLASSIC!!!! I love it, that’s so hilarious! I might have to put that one in my rolodex!!!

    Like

  41. terzahcain says:

    I have definitely been taught a lesson (me of the “long story short” tendencies). I have also picked up a VERY handy tool in the “Professor” response. Problem – what if the person I am abusing with this phrase is too young to recognize Gilligan?

    My phrase? “In terms of…” I mean PULEEEEEZE! Pacific Northwestern folks are most guilty of this vernacular and I, for one, have had enough. It doesn’t make you look smarter – which I believe is the goal of most. It says about as much as the word “basically,” which is zilch. Finally, most of the time it is used out of context, as in: “In terms of the cost of living, I think I need more pay.”

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s