A few people have been pointing out to me during the past two weeks that I’ve been too nice. A sweetheart, in fact. Just the other day, a friend of mine threatened to disown me when I dared to buy her lunch. “What the hell are you doing, Ed?” she said. “Only kind and extraordinary people do that sort of thing.”
Not only have I had email volleys that have been pleasant, thoughtful and without incident, but the tone and demeanor of these communiques have been too kind and considerate. The cheery level of conversation and socializing has kept me swapping book recommendations and shooting the breeze over literature with equally kind and keen people.
I was getting a little worried about all this. So, tonight, I went to an attitude specialist. Even he had to confess that I was being just too damn friendly to people. The cause of this sudden joy and commiseration, and the reason why I was spending all this time thinking about other people, apparently had something to do with breathing in too much oxygen. A combination of preternaturally beautiful California weather and extra lung capacity garnered from a post-bronchitis state.
Well, frankly, I was astonished by this news. I didn’t realize that there was a limit to being nice. And I certainly didn’t realize that it had anything to do with oxygen. But the attitude specialist, a gaunt thirtysomething man with bushy hair fond of Hawaiian print shirts, showed me his “Attitude Specialist Certificate.” When I saw that the certificate had been notarized by the proprietor of the corner delicatessen (with the notary associated with “the state of Freedonia”), well I was immediately convinced of his qualifications.
So to anyone I’ve cheered up, to anyone I’ve given inspiration to, and to anyone who cried on my shoulder, I apologize. I blame the oxygen. The simple truth is that I’ve been far too nice lately. I promise to be a mean bastard from now on and to call you names. I’ll make your children cry, I’ll steal your wallets, and I’ll be sure to cop a feel from your spouses. The last thing the world needs is more kindness. So I’m going to try and scourge myself up until further notice.
This probably means I won’t be posting anything here until Monday.
Really, I’m going to hunt this demon down, this hideous beast that’s too kind to be cruel, and I’m going to put this scarabic fucker back into my soul.
And I’m going to breathe less oxygen. If I can modify my life so that my blood pressure will go up, then I guarantee that you will reap the benefits of my cruelty.
Maybe I can take some lessons from Jack Shafer, who clearly needs a hug from Denton.