As the profound Brittany Spears sang not enough years ago: Oops, I did it again. I forgot that some people don’t speak Snark. Today, when one such person looked at me with a combination of horror and confusion on her face, I remembered too late that she’s one of those people. Then I felt bad. Because she thinks I meant what I said the way that I said it, not the backwards way that I meant it. And since she heard it the forwards (?) way, I’m a complete jerk. Dang it.
How come some people can communicate in cynicism and some can’t? If science looked hard enough, would it discover the smart ass gene, somewhere between hair color and tongue curling ability? Is it a skill learned between the ages of 18 and 24 months, and a few poor souls were just never exposed? Or is it a bad habit, like nail biting, that we are supposed to get under control, but some particularly weak-willed saps can never tame the beast? I’m not sure I’ve ever met a weak-willed sarcastic person, so that last one seems unlikely.
Then again, how dull would it be to never put a twist on a phrase? To never say the opposite of true intent with a bit of a grin and twinkle? To never engage in a cynical sword fight with a worthy opponent? Hmmm. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Given my propensity to put my foot in it when I really should know better because I’m talking to one of those people, I’ll likely never know.
Still, the cursed gift should come with a warning. Use with care. Cynicism is often viewed as an indici of apathy and a bad attitude. If that’s what you intend to portray, go for it. Otherwise, try to smile and keep quiet. Also, when speaking this way, take a moment to examine your motivations and the motivations of those around you. Sharp words can be a cruel weapon. Then again, those snarky tones can be a hardened callous around an injured soul, so maybe someone just needs a hug …. Also, even in the best of circumstances, some people will never understand a word you say and will think you’re just a jerk.