God loves assholes. Seriously. Any god worth frothing about for gets a stiffy when they see people acting on their prerogatives. Any god worth painstakingly describing in illuminated text TiVOs premeditated murderers on the street, pacifists in jail, and that crazy man at the end of your street who wants to sell you a brand new hottub that’s still in the wrapper and worth all of $2,500 only he’s not asking that much he just needs to get rid of it to help Brian liquidate since he’s losing his house. (True story.)
I see people as systems with two primary sets of components:
- earnest motive power
- instruction sets
If you’ve ever tried to write a computer program, then you’ll remember how horrible your first five attempts met with your intent. The computer executed your code as precisely as it was written; you just didn’t code worth a damn. So it is with people: your actions begin as an earnestness, a motivation to do something, whatever that is; and you follow a set of rules, an instruction set, applying the energy of that earnest motive power.
I can’t imagine a way that people truly act outside their earnest drive. You can’t fake motivation. However, by virtue of your lazy amassing of disorganized rules, you can
- render useless any hope of understanding your drive
- apply your motivation sloppily and with unforeseen effects
- dupe yourself into thinking you’re following the One True Instruction Set when such doesn’t exist
- abstract yourself from well-suited aspirations
To varying degrees, assholes evade these pitfalls. Now, there are the misguided assholes, who don’t realize it’s not really the way for them; you may even be one of them. Odds are, though, you’re not a real asshole; you take the shit you’re given, you say “Please” and “Thank you” even when you’re not sure you need bother. And you can’t remember the last time you really pissed someone off. Really, that’s a skillset you need to develop; it’s not until you’ve pissed someone off that they’re really invested anyway.
So, close your browser, stop reading CNN updates about protests against warm milk, get up, and go tell Ted to stop bragging about his gastrointestinal health. Tell him that no matter how regular he is, he’s still full of shit and couldn’t hack it in the real world outside his gym-and-latte set. There are millions of Teds, so you’re not really wasting a valuable commodity by enraging him to impotent silence.