I Don’t Have to Respond

It’s really weird when it suddenly occurs to you that you’ve been operating under a self-imposed rule. Because, just like that, you realize that if you were the one making the rule in the first place, then, hey, you don’t have to follow it anymore, do you? Ah, the freedom!

For example, if you live alone, you don’t have to make the bed if you don’t want to! Woo hoo! If you’re the only one who ever sees the back yard, you only have to mow it when you feel like it. Sweet!

I had one of those epiphanies just the other day. Here it is: I don’t have to respond to everything. That’s huge.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in common courtesy. I make it a point to say thank you and excuse me. That’s the type of lubrication that’s required to keep a civilized society running smoothly.

But I don’t have to respond to unsolicited advice. I don’t have to correct rude behavior (unless I’m looking for closure). I don’t have to explain myself or justify anything. (But I still believe in doing the right thing.)

Just because someone asks an idiotic question, that doesn’t mean I’m obliged to answer. Not every comment requires my input. Not every insult needs to be avenged.

There’s also really no point in carrying your side of an argument if, when all is said and done, it’s not going to change a thing. Your energy is limited. Save it for the positive stuff.

Sometimes it’s okay to let the other person have the last, stupid, selfish word. Whoa. What a concept.

Boy, oh boy, am I about to save myself a heck of a lot of time!


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Eschewing the Retort

Retort — re·tort —   [ri-tawrt]

verb (used with object)

1. to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.

2. to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.

3. to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.


4. a severe, incisive, or witty reply, especially one that counters a first speaker’s statement, argument, etc.

5. the act of retorting.

Dear reader, I have to admit that I love wordplay. Pithy commentary, bad puns, dry wit, crackling repartee, it all turns me on. And I have been known to fire off a pointed retort in my day. No doubt about it.

What I seem to struggle with are boundaries. I tend not to know when to stop. This has gotten me into trouble in the past. At the ripe old age of 49 you’d think I’d have learned my lessons by now, but no. My pie hole still tends to get the better of me. I think I enjoy the adrenaline rush of a good zinger, and let the devil take the hindmost.

So my new homework assignment is to identify my retorts as they are being born within the most wicked parts of my brain, and kill off the little bastards before they can burst forth from my smug lips. It’s for my own good.

So thank you in advance for your patience, as this will probably cause me to stutter quite a bit. That’s if my head doesn’t explode.

Oh, who am I kidding?


[Image credit: zararafferty.com]