So this happens to everyone, right? A stranger/friend/family member makes some passive aggressive comment and right before you respond in an appropriately outrageous way, you bare your teeth in an awkward smile and bite your tongue?
The skill of filtering your thoughts and words is a means of survival. We like to pretend that we like when people speak their mind, but really, we don’t want people doing it all the time. For example, if Person A says something offensive directed to Person B, Person B often times feels obliged to comment back with something idiotic like, “that’s what I like about you, you speak your mind!” No. That’s not at all what they like about you. In fact, they hate it and you suck. Maybe if you find yourself in the back of the line at the best hot dog stand in town and the customer at the front can’t decide if they want relish or ketchup, then we wan’t you to be the guy who always speaks their mind. “Obviously you want both you old bag, keep it moving.” See what I mean? There’s a great deal of nuance involved.
Fortunately for me, my mother spent many years helping me perfect my smile in a mirror, so I don’t have too much trouble smiling on demand and swallowing my words. The following is a bit of a regurgitation of all of those words.
I bring you:
Things I’ve almost said
Anonymous: So do you immunize your child with those mercury shots?
Me: Every chance I get. Ho.
Anonymous: Oh, your little girl is so adorable and tiny! Look at those tiny feet!
Me: I think your baby ate half of my baby.
Anonymous: So what do they teach in a two-year nursing program?
Me: Mostly how to stick those nursing corners when making a bed.The school couldn’t afford fitted sheets so it was an important skill in our final evaluation.
Anonymous: See, you like to wear a lot of make-up, I’ve never really been into it.
Me: Get into it.
Anonymous: (while watching Robbie hold a box of Lightening McQueen fruit snacks and addressing her children) We don’t eat those kinds of foods
Me: Jokes on you, neither does he! Also, you’re the worst! Have fun with your homemade fruit leather, you heartless monster!
Anonymous: And does your husband do well?
Me: Sooo, we’re talking about public speaking orrr with regard to love play? What’s happening here?
Anonymous: What made you want to get married at 21?
Me: I thought I’d beat the Pinterest rush so I could get all the credit for the clever decor at my reception.
Anonymous: So Mormons are kind of like the Amish, then?
Me: It is my understanding that we are both known for delicious, homemade breads. So yeah.
Anonymous: So you were a nurse but now you’re a stay-at-home mom?
Me: Yes. If I focus really hard I can still remember what we use Tylenol for but it comes and goes.
Anonymous: You don’t drink? How do you unwind?
Me: You know, Parkour, Krav Maga, crocheting. Sometimes I paint small, wooden button covers for my husbands dress shirts. Things like that.
My universal follow-up to each conversation would go something like, “Oh, sorry, I just thought this was one of those ‘exchange inflammatory statements’ kind of thing.” Or maybe something a little more classic like, “You started it.”