No More Mister Nice Guy

A Mathematical Proof (with no Actual Math)

Given: 1) When someone’s being a jerk, everyone says they woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
2) My bed has four perpendicular sides.
3) I have been acting like a real jerk.
4) This never used to happen.



Prove: I have been robbed.

1. When someone is being a jerk, we say they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. (Given.)

2. I have been acting like a real jerk. (Given.)

3. Therefore, I am waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

4. My bed has four sides. (Given.)

5. I have tried waking up on all four sides of it but am still a jerk.

6. This never used to happen. (Given.)

7. Someone has replaced my original bed, which had right sides, with a bed that is identical, except that it has nothing but wrong sides.

QED, I have been robbed and obviously have also forgotten everything I knew about proofs.

The point is, somebody stole my bed, replaced it with a dud bed and the whole thing fills me with rage. Then again, everything fills me with rage lately. That’s the whole problem. I have little reason to be as grouchy as I’ve been for the month, but if I were to move into a garbage can on Sesame Street, even Oscar would be like, “Whoa. What’s her problem?”

If I were a cartoon character, I would be walking around with a thunderstorm over my head, using the lightning bolts from my personal cumulonimbus collection to turn the people I don’t want to talk to or look at or exist near into little piles of ash.

ACME explosives have nothing on me.

ACME explosives have nothing on me.

Some mornings, I wake up thinking that I’ve recovered — that I’ve finally found the right side of the bed. Then something small happens and clues me into the sad reality of my life now.

Subtle Hints that I Might Not Be in a Good Mood

1. Spending 70% of my walk to work mentally berating the guy ahead of me for walking too slowly and breathing too loudly.

2. Rolling my eyes at my cat.

3. Yelling at my french toast for screwing up.

4. Catching myself thinking, “Why are you speaking to me?” whenever anyone speaks to me.

5. Grinding my teeth every time I get a text message or phone call.

6. Typing mean comments about people’s babies on their Facebook photos and then daring myself to hit enter.

I’m no stranger to anger. Besides being a dyed-in-the-wool misanthrope and charmingly hypoglycemic, I’m also an emotionally stunted person of Scots-Irish descent. They tell me we’re a prickly people.


A few of us, anyway.

A little bit of anger is my constant companion, but usually if I lose my temper, it flares and then it’s over and I’m fine. This drawn-out, simmering rage is different. I don’t like it, which is par for the course because it makes me dislike everything.

I’m trying to fix it, though.

This Might Help!

1. I tried writing down the things that were making me angry to get them out of my head. It might have worked, except now I have a physical reminder of everything that’s ticking me off.

2. I tried distracting myself with a funny movie. I probably shouldn’t have gone with Planes, Trains and Automobiles because I do not feel less angry. If anything, I feel more angry. Mostly at John Candy.

3. I tried exercising to release endorphins. I thought my hate fire could fuel a good run, but pretty soon I realized I was just chanting, “I hate running, I hate running” in my head to the beat of my sneakers.

4. Right now, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to change my attitude towards the world. Yesterday I saw a Neil Gaiman tweet about loving everyone, which seemed like something I could get on board with. Now I’m thinking the same terrible things about the guy ahead of me on the walk to work and my Facebook friends’ babies, but I follow it up with, “But god help me, I love ’em.” See? Nicer. Kind of.

Damn you, Gaiman.

Damn you, Gaiman.

If I can’t get any of these strategies to work, I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll just sit around waiting for the return of my normal bed with the nice sides.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll be here, writing about my g*******d feelings, watching this f*****g movie and trying to love a world full of b******s.


  1. chrysaliswithaview

    Um … you’re not the only one? Does that help? I feel like this sometimes. I usually find it means I’m stressed about other things when I get to feel nasty about little everyday frustrations. It kind of pulls me up straight though when I realise I’m actually being pissed off at a 90-year-old person walking slowly. Or that I’ve just frowned at a complete stranger in the supermarket. Then I’m kind of ‘just who the hell do I think I am?!’ and make a better effort to be a decent human. On the other hand, today I smashed a full carton of eggs because something truly got to me. Bad thing to happen to be holding when you’re emotionally fraught. Cleaning that little moment of madness up gave me time for some personal growth though. :) My husband said if I have to get pissed off and smash eggs, why can’t I at least do it into a receptacle of some sort and then make cake batter as well to work out some more frustration. Poor guy didn’t get breakfast until lunchtime. Nor did I. So, yeah, you’re definitely not the only person being a jerk :)

  2. pensitivity101

    I develop jerk syndrome as the day goes on then, as I start off the day OK (sometimes) but end up grouchy by lunchtime (always). I even followed the ‘scientific’ advice of sleeping on the left side of the bed, as it was supposed to make you more cheerful. Right. No, I mean left. Hell, it worked for a couple of weeks and then the body would no longer be conned. Luckily Hubby knows me well, and that first morning cuppa is imperative before he even thinks about talking to me!

  3. Tim Taylor

    I can truly sympathize with this post, as I have been havin’ the same issue for some time now. How do I deal with it? I don’t, I just let the rage, well, rage and try to get on with my life, such as it is anyway. Great post!

  4. boomerangvariety

    I completely relate to the 6 subtle hints that I’m not in a bad mood. I berate inanimate objects, speed past the slower mover in a huff while walking, and clutch my head in utter disdain and agony whenever my phone buzzes. I also haven’t figured out an ideal way to deal with my bad moods yet. I try exercising, positive thinking and deep breathing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Mostly I hole myself up in a room and watch King of the Hill. That’s the best medicine, I’ve found.

  5. annieemmy

    Bwahahaha! If it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one. I think this ridiculously long winter has thrown everyone into a homicidal rage. Including me, with all my annoying “Pollyanna”-esque tendencies.

  6. Marissa Q.

    I read this nodding my head along with you. I also hate that guy for walking so slow and breathing so loudly. Your cat and mine are a-holes. But, I’m not angry at you, so that counts for something right?

  7. Becs

    Know that feeling – it’s not nice going through it, but can be funny to look back on.
    You need a rage room, preferably a soundproofed one, that contains breakables, smashables, crushables and any other form of destruction verb you can add -able on at the end. Maybe give boxing a go..? Could buy a massive blank canvas and chuck/squirt anything and everything at it. Paint, food, condiments, cleaning products, whatever has colour that comes to hand. At the end of it, you’ll have an artistic representation of your rage. Who knows? You may even be able to flog it for thousands in a poncey art auction.
    Or, try turning your bed around. Might reverse the mood.

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  10. perfectchow

    This reminds me of my NYC life, but now that I’m in Chi I still have it, except that no one can relate to it or understand it, because just like my hometown of San Diego, people are actually sincerely nice in Chicago and it pisses me off. Like hurry up, stop small talking me and ring my fucking groceries up, I have other things to do than to pretend that I care about a word coming out of your mouth. Trust me, I get it, it doesn’t go away by the way, cynicism takes over when you’re jaded!

  11. Janice...

    That slow walking guy gets around. He’s EVERYWHERE it seems. Is he paid to do that? My favourite is the thing about the babies and comments. That sounds totally like me. Totally.

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