Today I stopped in at Mars to buy a pack of diet soda. After my usual interval of pointless milling around and looking at shiny things, I was tickled to see that there was a lone cashier available–a rare convenience at lunchtime Mars.
“You know that’s diet, don’t you?” she chided. I found this confusing. Was this some new kind of flattery? Was there some new poisonous sweetener finding in the news?
She sensed my confusion as I nodded. “Some customers get mad at me and bring these back and want to know why I didn’t warn them they were buying diet.”
“Wow,” I said. This was a job hazard I hadn’t thought about, ever. “And of course you can’t be rude and say, ‘read for yourself much?'”
“Right,” she said, still grim, “Not like, are you stupid or just illiterate or what?”
If I was cheering her up I could not tell.
Why does this happen? People being stupid is godgiven entertainment, isn’t it? Why should it make people angry or sad or bitter instead of something else in response, like, I dunno… spontaneous juggling?
Does she expect only geniuses buy soda?
The difference in response is probably all about happiness, but how do we accentuate the positive without feeling stupid too? Since I don’t have an answer for that, personally, I just accept that I’m going to feel stupid some of the time. Just keep feeding that pollyanna until she’s big and strong and oblivious to snickering, says me.
Responding to negativity with a positive spin with a willingness to look stupid might just be humor. Mama always said you better have a sense of humor.
That’s not to say that you always should confront someone else’s sadness with jokes. Trying to put a cheerful slant on sadness is like saying, don’t be sad.
AND just because something is funny doesn’t mean it’s positive. Duh.
Oh nevermind. Just remember: if you can’t say something positive, juggle.