Saturday, May 23, 2009

Boring or Mean? Mean or Boring?


As far as I'm concerned, there are two ways to be a shitty person. I could never figure out which person I'd rather avoid, the mean person or the boring person. Both types will bring grief, but when it comes right down to it, who's worse?

The mean person seems like the obvious choice at first. This is the guy who will call his girlfriend "bitch" in public. He swears at his mom. He's racist and loud, he is all about the middle finger and raising his voice. Rush Limbaugh. Oh yes indeed, the mean person is awful. At all costs, he should be avoided.

But what about the boring person? Why is it so important to stay away from this guy? Well this is the guy who makes life feel pointless. He doesn't add anything to conversations. He listens to Dave Matthews Band, but not because he even likes the music, but because they're popular. All of his stories are about getting drunk or high. He wears khakis, polo shirts and Sketchers. He has that haircut that is combed forward, pushed up in the front, with gel. He has nothing interesting going on, ever. He looks, sounds and acts just like everybody else. And the worst part is that he thinks this is how he should be. It's "normal."

I used to think it was worse to be a mean person. After all, this guy is intentional. You can't be mean on accident, you have to want to make other people feel bad.

I used to work as a server during college. Back in the kitchen, the radio was always on. One day, our manager asked which station to put on. One of the waitresses quickly responded, "B96!" Right away I turned to her and said, "B96? What are you, 12?" She walked away and said "Dylan, don't be mean to me..." I took that to heart. It was a mean thing to say. Just because I listened to B96 when I was 12 doesn't mean everyone did. And who knows, maybe some 30 year olds still listen to it. And so what if they do? Does that give me the right to make fun of them?

So yeah, being mean is bad. We shouldn't be mean to each other. It is a sin of comission. But boringness is a sin of omission. It omits the possibility of anything substantial. It adds nothing.

Of course I could say that when you're mean, at least you're not boring. Or if you're boring, at least you're not mean. These vices cannot be simultaneous. A mean person is usually quite entertaining. They demand attention, hurl a lot of clever insults, and always keep things interesting. A boring person is just too dull to be mean. They're incapable. And this is why I have to say (at least at this moment), it's worse to be boring. Being boring is like being a social handicap. There's no drive, no passion, no reason to be anything worthwhile. It slowly destroys an individual from the inside, but nobody else would know it, because it could just look like timidity or tiredness. Boringness is the great existential tragedy.

Why would I pair boringness and meanness anyway? I guess I think of them in terms of relationships. If you're single, which is the bigger turn-off? I'll bet most of the time it's boringness. Girls date jerks all the time, but a boring guy is just screwed. And he should be. Unless, of course, he has money. But that's a whole new can of worms. Which is worse: the rich jerk, or the rich bore?

Well, I just want you all to know how wrong it is to be boring. It makes pretty girls yawn, causes dancers to take their seats, and is the reason you stopped reading this post a few paragraphs ago.

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