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Monday, January 10, 2011

Keeping it simple in the new year

I have long been opposed to New Year's resolutions.  The whole thing seems pretty asinine to me.  If there's something that I need to change about myself, I'm probably well aware of it and have decided either to do nothing and deal with it or to change it when I'm darn good and ready.  It's not up to a holiday to decide when I will and will not embark on some kind of new life path.  Days don't get to tell me what to do.  Unless they're Fridays.  Fridays tell me to get very very drunk.
Last year, however, I decided that maybe I was wrong and everybody else, contrary to my well-voiced rantings over many years, might be onto something.  After all, other people had pretty good things going for them, and maybe it was time for me to step a little further out of the left of center category and into the almost normal zone.  Mostly, I decided it was time that I start being nice to people the way most people are nice to people.  I thought that this would be a good step toward adulthood for me.
When you make a personal decision to change your outward behavior, it ends up feeling exactly like acting and, in some cases, lying.  I mean, it wasn't as if I'd had some Dickensian catharsis that was driving my newfound desire to do good; I'd simply noticed that it was something I wasn't doing and others were.  Plus, I was finding that my complete disdain for most people was spiraling out of control, and that it was quite possibly fueled by my uninhibited ability to unleash the searing stinky lava that is KimHate right into their poor unsuspecting faces.  Like a hotrod of rudeness I was able to go from zero to scathing in 2.3 seconds.  This usually resulted in the following:

Me: Hi there, coworker!  How are you doing today?
Coworker: Oh, I'm good, good.  Did you go out for lunch?
Me, now scowling: No.  Of course I didn't.  When do I EVER leave for lunch?!  I *ALWAYS* stay right here.
Coworker, expressing nervous concern: Oh, maybe you should go somewhere sometimes.  It's a nice day out there.
Me, now spitting words through clenched teeth and brandishing my fingernails like tiger claws: OF COURSE IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY OUTSIDE!!!!  IT'S EFFING SPRINGTIME YOU MISERABLE DOUGHHEAD!!!!

At this point, the coworker generally ran screaming from the vicinity.

Under my new guise of niceness, however, interactions were no more pleasant, if not certainly more unbearably awkward.

Me, grinning like a stoned idiot in a high-pitched voice that is a few decibels too loud: Hi there, you awesome person you!  How's things?  Are they good?  They’d better be good!  Yayayayayay!
Coworker, who is all at once very uneasy: I'm...yeah, I guess I'm...doing...well...How're you, Kim?
Me, in a voice that only Care Bears could stomach: Oh, I'm super-fantastic-okelly-doo!  It sure is a lovely day out there!  Don't you just love butterflies?
Coworker, who is inching away: Bu...butterflies are nice.  Are you feeling well?
Me, now sickened by my own behavior and feeling the need to lay down:  No...not really, no...

I made it about a month before scrapping the niceness project entirely and going back to chewing peoples' faces off.  All was right with the world, and my coworkers actually seemed relieved to see me revert to my old ways. 
I've decided to try again this year.  Not as part of some crappy resolution.  Not because I feel sorry for the people I'm mean to most of the time.  I'm doing it to prove I can.  I have adopted three rules in order to help facilitate the change this time.

1.  Try to think about things that make me happy.  If I run around thinking about the Goo Goo Dolls and paper cuts and some kind of Kardashian*, I'm more likely to be unpleasant.  Rather, I need to focus on floppy pup ears and sweet rolls and new designer dresses.   Oh, and pickles.  It's impossible to be angry when thinking of pickles.

2.  Wait 5 seconds before responding to things that upset me.  Sometimes, I'm rattled by things that shouldn't be rattlers, and I realize this only after unjustly removing someone’s head with my teeth.  By adhering to this new take on the five second rule, I'll be better equipped to delineate the awful from the not really so terrible.

3.  Sleep.  A tired Kim is a grumpy Kim.  And a grumpy Kim is a homicidal Kim.

By following these three simple rules, it is my goal to get through 2011 without emotionally scarring or physically dismembering anyone.  Wish me and my coworkers luck.

*Contrary to what you might think, these are all terrible, terrible things.