“Yeah, but…”: The Average Person’s Guide to Me

Someone sent me a website to look at this morning with the prior request that I let him know what I thought of it. It was a site dedicated to stopping false accusations of crimes, and he thought I might find it interesting. So I took a look. Within the first minute I found myself conjuring up reason after reason why the testimonials provided were nonsense, and justification after justification for why the site was bogus overall. And then it hit me: I couldn’t have cared less about false accusations or the supposedly innocent people who were being screwed over by a faulty system. I had no emotional investment whatsoever in either side of the debate. My counterpoints just “happened” in my head, as though set off by some mystical philosopher demon whose only purpose in life was to prove you wrong. And yes, I mean you. So I deleted the comments I had constructed in an email to my friend illustrating how stupid the website was and sat back for a moment to ask myself that age-old question: What the fuck is wrong with me?

Now, hours later and on a forum about as lame (sorry bloggers) as Facebook or Twitter, I find myself coming to the same conclusion over and over again. When it comes to my opinion on most worldly topics, I am just a sociopathic malcontent. Which is to say, if you ask me what I think about something “relevant” in the social stratosphere, it will be more likely than not that I simply won’t care one way or the other. Thus the sociopathy (I may have created that word). But it doesn’t just end there. Regardless of my ambivalence about the subject matter in question, I will almost always immediately default to the contrary position of whatever has been argued. I will become the opponent, the adversary, the fly in the ointment. In essence, I become the asshole you should avoid.

A quick word about the so-called “Devil’s Advocate”. John Stuart Mill famously maintained that there is a place for contrary views on just about everything, if only to avoid what he called the dead dogma of those who forget to think about what they believe after a period of time. Specifically, he pointed out that even “…the most intolerant of churches, the Roman Catholic Church, at the canonization of a saint, admits, and listens patiently to, a ‘devil’s advocate.’” So you might think that I am simply performing a public service by telling people how wrong they are to believe whatever they are spouting off to me. But sadly, that isn’t the case at all. I’m not being contrary to maintain some sort of academic living truth. I’m doing it because most opinions annoy me to the core.

Hence the malcontent. I can’t be satisfied in just listening to someone talk or argue or preach. Just can’t do it. Some synapse in my brain causes the wheels to turn immediately with the sole purpose of finding the flaw that I can use as a response, often with the (fake) fervency of the most adamant of pro-lifers standing outside of an abortion clinic as poor young sixteen year old Jill tries to walk in so she can continue her life in peace. See what I mean? I can’t even provide an analogy or metaphor without becoming irritated with both the ridiculous imaginary picketers who refuse to spend their imaginary time getting imaginary jobs, and the made-up teenager who couldn’t get laid without subjecting an innocent made-up fetus to death because she wants to remain a cheerleader in her made-up high school.

“Yeah, but…” is my stock response to something that I don’t care about but don’t feel like staying quiet about either. The two words form in my mouth faster than you can imagine, and are followed by a counter-argument that probably has holes in it but looks good at first glance. That’s the gift and the curse of being smart but not brilliant. I can start a hell of a lot of nice sounding projects without having the brain power to see them to their fruitful conclusion. And it also doesn’t help that I get bored easily.

Even now, with this post, I feel the appeal of writing about my predispositions of contrariness and assholishness wearing off. I am becoming annoyed at my annoyingness, not so much because I don’t want to be annoying to people, but more because it is getting boring to write about it. I am thinking of reasons why this post would not serve the purpose I initially intended it to, which is basically just to tell a (remarkably unapologetic, as it turns out) story about my argumentative nature. So with that, I will sign off by saying that whoever you are, whatever you think, you are probably wrong. And remember, no matter how passionate I may appear when I tell you how wrong you are, deep down I probably don’t even care.

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