As I draw closer to the end of this chapter of my life, I didn’t expect to get into many new fighting matches. I didn’t see today’s manic outburst coming, but of course, in hindsight, I should not have been surprised that my comments ignited such rage.
A conversation I was offering as a helpful hint about society in general was perceived as a personal attack and his defence anger switch was flipped. 30 minutes later, I gave up trying to get my point across against the wall of anger, and I ended up as always feeling bad and apologizing. I did attempt more than usual to explain what I was saying but once he’s in this mode, words and logic only add to the flame.
I’ll start with some background. In my life, I have met a few people that use a specific type of humour that has always bothered me. I think everyone may have at one time or another, myself included, told a believable lie under the guise of a joke. A Gotcha as he described it.
Expressing a lie, and then revealing it to be a lie moments later often with joy that they got me to believe it. The person who sincerely believed you is then ridiculed for being an honest trustworthy human being and the liar is somehow celebrated for having fooled me.
This was a common occurrence in previous relationships and the side effect that lasts forever is you begin to mis-trust almost anything sincere that person says.
Thos is especially damaging when the reveal is not quick. Sometimes we end the conversations and continue living our lives believing what we have been told is true. It could be weeks, months or years before the truth comes out, and in some cases, the embarrassment is extra hurtful. It is almost always funny only to the person who told the lie. They see no harm.
With my close friend, this behaviour continued so regularly that it damaged my opinion of him. Not only did it break my trust with him to the point where I genuinely had to confirm things he would tell me, but I lost respect that he still saw no harm in such pranks even after confrontation.
When you can’t believe any statement your friend makes without doubt or confirmation, you tend not to want to be fooled again. The words; “I can’t believe you fell for that” are extremely grateful because my response is always; “of course I believe you”. The default to anything my friend says should always be to believe them. Once the default changes to assuming everything is, or at least might be an outright lie, then I don’t think I can call that a friend anymore.
I’m not really everything to liars here. Lots of people like for all sorts of reasons and some get a reputation for being liars.im referring specifically to those times and situations when the lie is told for the “joke” of it. It may come in the middle of an otherwise serious conversation. The humour comes from making the stooge feel bad or foolish because they trusted what you told them to be true.
I just don’t get it. I know I’ve done it to others, but usually to make the point that it isn’t funny to be the stooge, but the reaction backfires and I am celebrated for a good gotcha.
“You got me. I am an idiot for believing what you told me”.
I’ll relax my position to admit occasionally a brief gotcha with an instantaneous reveal can include humour, but the lie shouldn’t be the humour. The liar is not a winner for fooling me. I should be respected as the winner for assuming your story to be sincere.
Returning to the current, an ideal example recently exposed itself here on the farm. My Yamaha scooter has been more of an inconvenience in my life than it has been a joy. When I first got it, I had a great time. While living in Waterloo, I scooter every day here and there discovering every corner of that city, and beyond. Waterloo is an odd city and navigation can be confusing, especially given some street contain multiple direction addresses. King Street North and King Street West are the same street in different parts of town and do not actually travel in the direction to expect. The scooter was a great way to learn the new city.
After an accident that resulted in my first broken bone, I took some time away from the scooter and my graduated licence lapsed.
Years passed and that scooter was mostly just in the way where people complained about it. Here in Niagara, I wanted to re-licence it and use it discover my new city. Like Waterloo, many things about Niagara Falls Ontario are similarly confusing. Roads traveling in different directions can end up in the same place defining logic. Many streets don’t go through so you have to shift up or down a block to get where you want to go.
This is really the first place I’ve lived where I haven’t had a car and the scooter would be an ideal situation. It was a little depressing that I couldn’t find the willpower or complete the task of finding an insurance company that will ensure a new driver, getting the motorcycle driver’s license, paying for insurance and the license and the license plate. All of those steps seemed daunting especially given that I had to do them without a car
The scooter also head a leak in the tire and wasn’t certified so I had to figure that out as well and time passed. More time passed. Each spring I said to myself this will be the year that I get that scooter online and explore the neighborhood and improve my quality of life. Each summer came and went and that didn’t happen.
It was in the way and I was told this a number of times. It was a nuisance to both him and I, for different reasons.
One day, it was gone. Suspiciously stolen. I searched the property but it was gone. I suspected the neighbour because of the odd circumstances but took no action. I accepted it was no longer in the way, and thought little more about it, except the sadness that I would not get any financial reward by selling it, which was a decision I had come to a week earlier when I was preparing for my big move.
I know it was with at least enough to pay off my backlogged power bill and internet. I was sad that I had counted on that money, but also accept that I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to selling it anyway and so the inconvenience was gone once and for all.
Nearly two weeks later, I just covered that it was not stolen for missing it all. It was just relocated in a place I had not talked to look. Haha jokes on me apparently. He got me he made me feel many emotions for no reason at all. Good for him.
I was fucking mad actually, as I explained I found it. His reaction was, as expected, one of success with no regard to my week of unnecessary sadness. The prank was a success.
I could easily have brought the police to his door. I could have done many things in reaction, none of which would have been positive, but it’s more in my nature to do nothing, so his joke had no visible down side. It was an excellent gotcha in his mind, which pissed me off even more.
There was no remorse whatsoever. No apology, since the whole joke was a success. My hurt feelings were celebrated as a victory for him.
I plotted a revenge. I tried to beat him at his game, and at least make him feel something for my discomfort. Because I’m in the middle of packing, I lied and told him the scooter was now useless because I threw out the keys last week when I believed it was gone.
This has little effect on his mood. I assumed it would be normal to take on some guilt that his joke ended up actually costing me the use of the entire scooter or the money from it’s sale. He kind of said oops- sorry and continued his life. In an odd way, it made me look foolish even more for believing him.
Today I decided to tell him a bit of this story.
I wanted to explain that telling somebody a lie, and the laughing at them for believing you is not actually a form of humour at all. It was clear from the first sentence this was a mistake, the the chest beating ape man emerged screaming how dare I tell him he’s not funny. He has trained with experts and been around actors all his life and he is way funnier than I will ever be.
Missing my point entirely, his offence grew as I tried to clarify. There were a few brief points where he came so close to understanding and at first, he blamed the concept on his work buddies who play gotcha constantly, but just as he was starting to take responsibility, he pivoted the blame to me. He wasn’t wrong. I was too sensitive.
My sarcastic nature tried to take the blame. I admitted it was totally my fault and I should never have taken him as a friend yelling the truth. How absurd that I should believe him when he told me my scooter had been stolen.
Understandably, that was the wrong tactic and the rage continued. He added to his justification by explaining he hinted constantly but on the context of a friendship I don’t think I’m wrong to believe his suggestions I call the police or contact my insurance to be sincere and his statement of are you sure you looked around to be insignificant given that he told me specifically where he had left it.
I saw no logical reason to not believe that it was gone. After a week, I certainly would never have expected he just moved it to the other side of the house and knew full well it was safe. I was angry he didn’t even feel guilt when I explained I’d thrown out the keys.
I explained that was a lie during this new fight expecting it to help with my case and he acted like he knew all along. He even tried to convince me he thought I knew all along it was a prank.
My explanations fell onto deaf ears, all the while shouting at full volume at my offence of doubting his honour. Trying to explain I was trying to educate and help was accepted as a personal attack.
There was no way it was going to end well. Once again, I was literally terrified he might strike me. If I had tried to defend myself much more, he would have threatened to kick me out yet again, as was the usual occurence towards the end of each manic session.
So I cried a little, ironically because I sincerely understood what it must have been life to feel like I was saying he wasn’t funny. I had injured him emotionally while he yelled at me for 30 minutes.
I did not smile, and say; Gotcha. I can’t believe you thought I was serious. What an idiot.
I suspect I would be dead if I had.