Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sarcasm - how I mess up things

The more I think about this, the more I am convinced that I am a glutton for sarcasm - I heap it upon others in oodles. I must say, however, that I can take it as well as I can give it to others, so, at least in that respect, I am a perfectly "normal" sort of person :-)

I have been a fairly sarcastic person since I touched the teens, my fast-thinking mind able to conjure up cutting remarks at every twist and turn in a conversation. Ironically, this characteristic, at the same time, annoys them, and endears me, to the same people (who know me). Annoys them because they are often at the receiving end of the remarks passed by me; endears me to them because they are quick to spot the wit and to realise that my comments are nothing but a passing breeze that does not wait to see if it caused feathers to ruffle and to then titter at the victim.

I am like that. I make remarks that are often seen by ME as innocent, but by the others (at the receiving end) as mocking, degrading or insulting ... but by the time they start getting annoyed at it, I have often either apologised by gestures or words, or laughed the whole thing away by saying, "Oh, come on, don't look at me like that, man, I was only joking!"

The dear wife fell in love with my wit, and despite some very scathing ironical remarks that I passed at her during those courtship years, she stuck by her decision to lock me in matrimony with her and throw away the key ... in the years to follow, however, with the pressures of life coming up, she has become a little less tolerant of my acidic tongue and often threatens to produce the key and to use it to unlock me from her fetters ... silly me!

My elder daughter has more or less the same qualities that I do, and is often ironical while conversing with friends. I have had to remind her more or less everyday that on her path lie the ruins of my life: I show her how I have often lost friends, dear friends, who have chosen to "drift away" rather than bear the cross of listening to my vitriol poured out whenever I meet them.

This irony-laden tongue has also affected me professionally, with some colleagues choosing not to take me into their circle of influence, of leaving me out of their invite list for a party or a social occasion, of not sending me a patient that they would have otherwise referred to me because of my skills in the professional arena. This is something that has saddened me no end, and in the process, wizened me to approach professional colleagues with respect and less criticism.

Dear reader, how would you feel if you were at the receiving end of sarcasm? And how would you consider the attitude of being ironical at all times? I know, I know, both questions are no-brainers. It is obvious that one should be disgusted with people like me ... and yet, I don't know. I feel that criticism cloaked in gentle sarcasm is the way to go ahead to improve the lot of self or/and others.

What do you think? Do comment.

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