The Fine Art of Bitching
“Everyone has a right to be bitter. That doesn’t give you the right to go around inflicting it on others.” -My brother, J.
There are many annoying things in the wide world; it can often be difficult for the inexperienced crank to know what to bitch about. I’ll get to specific examples in a moment, but it’s important to understand what true and proper bitching is all about.
First of all, there’s no point in bitching about the big things. Starving children, AIDS, Iraq, vanishing ozone, terrorism, whether I might get laid sometime soon, melting ice caps, the plight of the Panda, the profound delusions of George Bush…all frightening and terrible problems facing mankind, but what possible good can be accomplished by bitching about them? Those are big problems and Life is full of big problems – you can’t do much about any of them. Discussing them can be interesting, as an abstract exercise, but it’s a waste of energy to bitch. Not much fun, either.
It’s the little things that properly inspire bitching – things that are so simple, so easy to get right the first time, that to fuck it up implies malicious intent. Like the guy at the drive-thru window who, despite being told three times NOT to put mustard on my hamburger…NO mustard…do you understand? NO. Mustard…. delivers a patty swimming in mustard…ONLY mustard. These people should be shot.
There’s no point in bitching about the way The First Bank of Satan gouges you with service charges. They’re going to continue to do it. You can’t stop them. But standing in line watching three bank tellers chat and giggle amongst themselves while one window serves the Friday lunchtime rush…that’s the sort of thing that makes me grip the rifle a little tighter and climb another step up the bell tower.
A righteous bitch is accompanied by a passionate and barely restrained desire to reach out, grab someone by the ears, and shake them until they explain why they’re so stupid. While lots of folks would love to grab G.W. Bush by his monkey-like earflaps and demand some answers, a slight possibility of it actually happening ought to exist. For example, you can bitch about the moronic driving of the guy who cut you off in traffic, but you can’t bitch about the moronic driving of the drunken Exxon Valdez captain (unless you happen to live along the Alaskan coastline).
Another example: The industrialized world, all the cars and factories, the smokers, bovine flatulence, CFC’s, pesticides, herbicides…all the crap with which we pollute our air and water…do I bitch about that? Not for a moment. But when the folks who live downstairs wake me at 7 am with a mile-long string of M80 Firecrackers, then proceed to fill my apartment with the smoke from fifteen tons of ghost money, I want to unroll the fire hose, hang it over the railing and blast their collective ass down the street in a 350 psi aquatic cataclysm.
Good bitching has immediacy, personal involvement, and is often the only alternative to violence. You’ve seen the photocopied bumper sticker witticism in offices everywhere: “Stress is the body’s natural response to suppressing the desire to choke the living shit out of some idiot who deserves it.”
Bitching is merely the pressure release valve that prevents that stress from festering into homicidal intent.
Bitching is intimately related to the trivial, the transient…the sort of things that annoyingly cheerful optimistic bastards tell you to “just forget about…let it slide…look on the bright side, at least you have a hamburger to eat!”
It’s blasé “when life hands you lemons make lemonade” idiots like that; their “oh, everyone makes mistakes,” approach to life that permits the overwhelming prevalence of things worth bitching about. Jesus! Don’t get me started on optimists!
It would seem a bit of hypocrisy on my part. How can I really be angry at the immense degree of stupidity in the world when I love bitching about it so much? Ample ammunition, target rich environment – you’d think I’d be happy. Well I’m not. Like everyone else, I have a dream. I want to bitch about having nothing to bitch about.
Until that magical day comes, there’s a lot of bitching to be done.
Now fuck off. I’m busy.