The other day I was talking to an older gentleman who thought because I owned a web design company, I could solve all his email problems.
That happens. People figure because you have a nerd job that you’re jacked into some secret nerd database of knowledge. Because I can build a web site, logically, I can also wire a home for surround sound, program a TV controller and recite the name of every alien in the Star Wars Tatooine bar scene.
I get it. I make sweeping assumptions, too. I assume every Eric Roberts movie will suck, forgetting that if you make 1000 movies a year one of them will probably be halfway decent. He is, after all, a top-notch professional prick.
And in all fairness, I guess I did just admit to knowing the Star Wars bar scene took place on a planet called Tatooine, which is pretty nerdy.
Anyway, just as I forgave the old guy for wasting my time, he said, “Well, let me work on this for a bit…” expecting me to hang on the phone while he rebooted and clicked random buttons and muttered just enough nonsense for me to know nothing he did would have any effect.
He never asked if I was busy. He ignored all my attempts to explain to him that I don’t even use Outlook, because it sucks donkey dick, and could not possibly help him.
I think that was his way of apologizing for being annoying.
Speechless, I grunted goodbye, hung up, and then raged at my poor husband about the self-centered old prick I’d just talked to on the phone, the part of whom, in the movie of my life, would be played by Eric Roberts.
Later at the doctor’s office, I watched another charming old gent demand at top volume that a receptionist provide him with the exact time he would be called for his turn. In the waiting room, which had been silent as a crypt, he continued his tirade by berating his wife for not bringing him earlier, “like he told her to,” pausing only to scream “you know you got a big zit coming in on your chin, right?”
The other people in the waiting room tried to hide their embarrassed giggles behind month-old magazines. The old guy’s wife tried to melt into her chair. When she whispered that she was aware of the pimple and suggested he be more quiet, he barked, “You got another on your forehead, too.”
I imagine right now that man is sleeping, and his wife is standing over him. Just staring at him, her face twitching as she considers bludgeoning him to death with a family-sized tube of Clearasil.
Old guys, we love you. You’re our fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers. But in the name of Wilford Brimley, take a moment to think about the people around you before you open your mouths. I know for much of your life it felt like the world revolved around you, but there are other people on the planet. Women aren’t here just to bring you dinner and bear your children. Even the wife you think IS here for that, has thoughts independent of your needs. Someday you might need her to flip you so you don’t get bed sores. You might want to be a little nicer to her if you don’t want lime jello eight months in a row.
Next time you want to bark something hurtful or stupid, shut up, and eat your damn oatmeal.