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Say What You Want, But That Jerk Had Style

I spotted a truck the other day that had two bumper stickers on it. One sticker said “I’m not tailgating, I’m drafting” a reference to the practice of race drivers following inches behind an opponent to gain an advantage. The other sticker said “if you tailgate me I will brake you”.

I learned one car length for every 10 mph. (image via wikihow.com)

So on one truck we find two messages announcing the driver’s intent to commit acts that are in direct opposition to each other and equally unsafe. He plans to drive entirely too close to cars in front of him, making a collision more likely, but justifies it by saying he fancies himself a race car driver. He also intends to mete out justice to those he feels are driving too close to him by hitting his brakes to force a collision.

What a jerk. Being both pro and anti-tailgating is impossible. Do you know what’s wrong with people like him? He will not commit to a particular style of being a jerk.

Even Those People Have Style

Everyone has a style. I read the work of favorite authors because of their styles. When I see certain musicians have new albums I buy them, because I enjoy their styles. My friends expect that I will do certain things in certain ways; they know my style.

I even respect the styles of those I don’t like. Once I worked for a self-serving jerk who didn’t realize that everyone he supervised saw through his façade of caring for his subordinates. I didn’t like the man, but I respected that he was consistent. He took an equally superior attitude with everyone “beneath him”. When he dealt with me, he was equally unlikable every time. I liked that. We both understood how the transaction would be; it allowed me to be more efficient at my job and handling him.

Bieber, Now There’s A Jerk With Style

What circling the drain looks like (image via The Smoking Gun)

I’ll take the concept a little further by examining everyone’s favorite, Justin Bieber. Mr. B has begun the inevitable death spiral of all teen heart throbs. But instead of slipping away quietly and living off of the disposable income he was able to leach out of the pockets of millions of young girls, he has chosen to be a jerk about it.

The odds of Bieber and I being in the same place are mercifully low. But I know from what I’ve seen that he has elected to conduct himself as a jerk who considers himself privileged by his position in the world. So, if he and I were trapped in an elevator together I would know how I would handle him because he is consistent. I think we could co-exist until someone came and let us out of the elevator.

Now there may be someone who says “I’m not going to commit to a jerk genre because people will be ready for my game”. What that person doesn’t realize is that when people are not ready for rude behavior, the long-term outcome for the rude person is not good.

The key to being a successful jerk is commitment to style. Nice folks have to know what these rude people stand for with their  boorish behavior. When jerks fail to commit to a style, likeable people (for example, people who read Blurt) have no script to help them control their own frustration. Jerks who have not committed to a genre are more prone to being dismissed in ways they’re not prepared to handle.

If you insist on being a jerk, be who you are. Know that the rest of us would appreciate it if you were more like us.  But if gaining the disdain of polite society is your goal, focus on the craft of being a jerk. Be a rich young fool, an arrogant tailgater or even a loud boor.  Specialize in a particular rude behavior pattern.

Most of all, be consistent and maybe some day someone will say “you’re a jerk, but you’ve got style”. That’s the best you can hope for because, seriously, no one likes a jerk.

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35 Comments on “Say What You Want, But That Jerk Had Style”

  1. shoutabyss says:

    Pickup truck duality! I love it! You have a keen eye, my friend.

  2. Maybe they were his and hers bumper stickers. You know, like Bud and Cissy’s license plates in Urban Cowboy.
    While this doesn’t absolve any jerk behavior, it might explain the inconsistency. That movie explains a lot of life’s inconsistencies.

  3. orthodoxchristian2 says:

    Cool post!

  4. Lily says:

    A teenager screamed at me at Target this week, mocking my sunglasses (which, as I’m an OLD FECKING LADY are PRESCRIPTION – fecking’s cos I’m being ‘polite’ on your blog).

    It would have been So Fun to punch her in the mouth and take her all the way downtown with a hook to the temple. People don’t know who they’re dealing with basing it on looks. I don’t like being the kind of jerk from my family and my surroundings but … it’s a part of me. I can be that jerk, although usually I’m just an ahole. Don’t know what it says about either of our styles.

    Living in MO, I see a LOT of Jesus bumperstickers on vehicles that run red lights, tailgate and generally create havoc on the road. I call it ‘Driving with the Lord’ because they’re so saved they don’t need to worry about killing anybody, including themselves.

    • omawarisan says:

      That’s fecking nice of you, old lady. My sunglasses are prescription too.

      In that situation, I think that she would have still been the jerk if you clobbered her. It is certainly a flaw in our legal system that there is no allowance for clobbering those whose words make them clobber-worthy.

  5. Blogdramedy says:

    I agree. He needs to own his jerk-dom. So other people don’t have to.

  6. dentaleggs says:

    There’s something to be said for public transportation.

  7. Merilee says:

    I loved this post. Because it reminded me of people who I knew were always consistent assholes, but I learned how to steer around their assholiness because, as you say, they were consistent. I could even sorta respect them, in a roundabout way, because they were consistent in that assholiness. But I can never tolerate tailgaters. (I will full-on stop my truck, get out of the truck and walk back to the tailgater and have a little chat with them. Which always freaks them out.)

    • omawarisan says:

      Man, you’re taking your life in your hands walking back to a car.

      With you on the consistency thing. I also worked with a supervisor who would be friendly one day, evil the next two, friendly three, evil one….and so on. It drove me nuts and I eventually shut down on her.

      • Merilee says:

        True on walking back to the car. But I’ve got such a mean temper, I don’t care…lol. What’s interesting, though, that I have found, is that sometimes when you call the jerks out, oftentimes they are unaware of their jerkiness!

  8. You make a valid point. There’s simply a lack of pride of craftsmanship these days. People play the jerk card, but don’t really have a consistent pattern of behavior to being any good at it. It’s a shame that potentially stylish jerks would not likely read your posts, because only witty, intelligent folks like us do that.

  9. Lizi says:

    I will reference this post again for your great tips should I ever choose the path of jerkiness (and I don’t mean the beef kind).

  10. Mal Content says:

    Have you ever known someone who is such an over-the-top asshole that you actually start to like them? They become a real life cartoon character. You don’t take anything they say or do personally because they are so obnoxious it becomes entertaining.

    I went to college with a guy who used to put his coffee cup on the middle step of the busiest staircase on campus, then angrily yell at people for almost knocking it over when they walked past it. He was a hilarious asshole.

    • omawarisan says:

      Yes!! That was kind of fun because I’d watch the people who didn’t understand his game freak out. Your cartoon character analogy is right on.

      Those are jerks who take pride in their craft.

  11. I can tolerate most jerks. But jerks who are being jerks because they want to change their image and sell more of their music, fall very low on my list of favorite people who are also jerks. Self-entitled jerks, too, make me want to slap them. Bieber is both of these. He is being consistently jerky now, but wait till after his seventh life-changing rehab stint.

  12. “The odds of Bieber and I being in the same place are mercifully low.”—Weren’t you once in the same space as Taylor Swift? I bet you’ll see The Bieb soon enough.

  13. susielindau says:

    I was verbally accosted n the grocery store yesterday (for no apparrent reason) and the guy had no style at all. He probably got into his car and alternated between tailgating and slamming on his brakes all the way home.

  14. List of X says:

    I would define this behavior as Schrodinger’s jerk.

  15. Rob says:

    I think it is a shame that the US is having to source jerks like this from outside the states. There have to be plenty of other jerks in the US who can do this guys job just as well. Heck, I bet you can get 10 jerks to split the salary that ingrate is making and be happy to call themselves US citizens. What that punk fails to realize is that Canada is frozen for 1/2 the year and opportunities for drunk/drugged driving in a 1/4 of a million dollar car are zero. Also, Canadians are not as enfatuated with punk ass celebrities and more likely to through them in jail, whereas in the US, we throw them more money and give them a police escort to the next jerkfest. I say, give the money to the Lohans, the Kanyes, and the LaBeoufs – they are the true American jerks!

  16. ubecute says:

    Awesome! I love your blogs and your style. Keep them coming!

  17. spencercourt says:

    Yes, I belieb he is a jerk, but isn’t that to be expected given his age and wealth? I wonder how many folks with his wealth at his age would be models of propriety? Heck, Alec Baldwin is a very mature age but is a big jerk too. Maybe Justin will become a Keith Richards in his old age.

  18. robincoyle says:

    I am so glad my girls are too old to be Belibers. Think of all the little girls’ hearts he has crushed. THAT is a jerk with style all right. The style of an idiot.

  19. Pie says:

    I want to apologise on behalf of the UK for exporting Piers Morgan to your country. That is all.


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