Well, I’ve had this rant coming on for – oh, I dunno – fifty-seven years and counting, so I thought it might be therapeutic to get it out there in sort of a non-specific way, because it’s just kind of rude to go ’round putting scarlet “S’s” on people’s chests (however amusing that might be). So here goes.
It’s hard, isn’t it? Being surrounded by incompetent damaged people. That’s so terribly hard. Is it any wonder you cannot contain yourselves when so many people are ever so disappointing. Look at that one over there! Claims to be mentally ill. Ha! We all have problems, don’t we? Why just the other week – and you remember the day in vivid detail because it was just. . .that. . .awful – you pulled a hamstring at the gym, but you aren’t whining about it, for God’s sake. And that old woman over there. She’s carrying on about having spent her last dime trying to save her twenty year old cat. Now she can’t afford to eat. Well boo-fucking-hoo. She should have been more financially responsible and just had the damn thing put down now, shouldn’t she? And that obese woman laying in the hospital in a diabetic coma? Driving our health care costs up, she is. Where is the personal responsibility? All around you are broken people, right? The depressed, the drug addicts, the poor, the criminals, the unhealthy, the unemployed, the…the DEFECTIVES! They are everywhere and it is enough to make you so angry that you have to resort to. . .to. . . (oh you are just spluttering at this point) social media! And water cooler gossip! And nasty emails! You can’t help it. You need those “likes” from your fellow smuggies. It’s the only thing that gets you through the day.
I sympathize. Really I do. The burden of perfection is onerous. Just ask Jesus.
But there’s hope, folks. I’ve stumbled across a revolutionary new therapy called, “Suck it up, cupcake.”
Now trust me, this is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. It involves self-control. It involves temperance. It involves tough fucking love, but someone has to help you poor, suffering bastards. No matter how good your health insurance is, it just won’t cover Smug Therapy.
Here’s what will. It’s a 12-step program which stems from the (believe it or not!) great historical tradition of treating defectives. Kinda ironic, yes?
Step #1. First, of course, you have to admit you are a Smuggie. This is a very, very hard step because it goes against all the things you’ve come to believe about your own invulnerability. It attacks your identity. It calls into question the core beliefs around which you have built your self-mythology. But stand tall in front of that mirror in the morning! Look yourself in the eye and boldly assert, “Hi. My name is _____ and I am a self-righteous prick.” You must admit that you are powerless to control this aspect of your life and that you need help. It’s O.K. All of us have been there at one point or another in our lives. Most of us have struggled with this, (albeit usually in late adolescence, but it’s never too late to start to start on the road to recovery!)
Step #2. Turn your brokenness over to your Higher Power. Now if you think you don’t have one, you might want to repeat Step #1.
Step #3. Sorry. It’s contingent on successful completion of Step #2. Recognize that your Higher Power has the ability to intervene when you are weak. You may call your Higher Power “God,” or “the Universe” or “Simple Fucking Human Decency.” It doesn’t matter. Use it. That’s what it is there for. It can prevent you from hitting that enter key before you torch a bridge with your vitriol. Bridges are useful things to have handy. Some day you may need to get to the other side and you’ll be left on the river bank, scratching your head and thinking, “Shit. If that dumb-ass person hadn’t made me hate him/her so much, I might of had some help here.” Repeat step #1. Relapsing is part of the recovery process.
Step #4. Can’t say this one better than A.A. “Make a searching and fearless inventory of yourself.” Just write the shit down. The easiest place to start is with the times you’ve judged someone based on a stereotype or an assumption you have absolutely no way to prove using the scientific method of direction observation, testable conclusions and repeatable results. If you do not know, intimately and in detail, what a person is doing or not doing to help themselves and you judge them anyway, you should probably write that one down, mmmm-kay?
Step #5. Confess. This time you can’t use the bathroom mirror. This time you have to say it to another person. It is probably best to do this with someone who is not a Smuggie, but if you can’t find one, you probably need to start hanging out with a better crowd.
Step #6. I’m actually a little foggy on why this is a separate step, but A.A. says you should prepare to have your Higher Power help you to “remove your character defects.” It’s the “prepare” part that is a little unclear, but being a practical woman, I would suggest generous use of duct tape. Preferably over the mouth. The Higher Power helps those who help themselves.
Step #7. This also seems a bit like an extension of Step #6, but according to the manual, you should now humbly request that your Higher Power excise your shitty attitude. I think that the key word here is “humility.” Look it up.
Step #8. Now you have to make another list. This time you have to list the people to whom you have been a dickhead. This may take awhile so be sure to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, set aside a block of time, make sure you have a decent stockpile of paper, writing implements and MREs handy. Bathroom breaks are permissible, but should not be used as an excuse to wander off. If you are afraid you can’t trust yourself, post a request to your friend’s list on facebook. You’ll need an accountability buddy with a cattle prod. You may be amazed at the number of people who are willing to help you stay on task!
Step #9. Ooooo – here’s the good one. Now you have to go to the people you on your list and apologize for being a dickhead. Believe it or not, this is harder for Smuggies than it is for alcoholics and addicts. Why? Because half the people who have been on the receiving end of your bullshit may not even be aware of it. This happens when either a) you condemned them to others but did not have the balls to take them on personally or b) you couched your snide remarks in some passive-aggressive linguistic wizardry that you could later blow off as “just kidding.” Perhaps you’ve even deceived yourself into thinking that you were “just kidding” or “deeply concerned” or “certainly justified.” You weren’t and you aren’t. Get over it and do the right thing.
Step #10. This is just a “rinse and repeat” step. It’s hard to admit that this will be a life-long process for you, but smugness is like any other addiction. There’s no magic bullet to stop it in its tracks. You will be doing this for-fucking-ever, so just suck it up cupcake.
Step #11. Develop a deeper relationship with your Higher Power. Self-consciousness = self-control. Unless, of course, you a congenital asshole in which case you may need professional help. And medication.
Step #12. Carry your message of hope and recovery to the world. You probably have surrounded yourself with people who still believe exactly the same things that you did. They are suffering and need help. Reach out to them, brothers and sisters, and let them know that they, too, can become compassionate, empathetic and grace-filled human beings. Pat them on the back, smile at them lovingly and tell them, “Suck it up, cupcake.”
Rant off /