Sunday, January 4, 2009

How do I bug thee, let me count thy ways . . .

This is going to be the title for my first Rock Opera. (First Rock Band Opera, anyway.)

I chose that title because I'm tired of love. I mean love is tiring. Love takes a lot out of a dummy like me. And you know what else? Love's not even funny. Helk, most of the time it's not even fun. Unless you live in Australia.

I know I always say all you need is love (and Code Red Mountain Dew), but sometimes you need a poke in the eye too.

What is that proverb again? A heart for a heart will make the whole world blind? I live by that proverb.

So can I just take a break from my love fest for a second? I'd like to tackle the 14 movie philosophies from my last post one at a time so they don't make your pretty little heads hurt. (Line upon line, right April?)

I'm going to start with #14. You can sing your loved ones to you.

What I'm wondering is can you also sing your loved ones away from you? Because I'm in the process of writing a Rock Opera as we speak.

I'm also writing a self-help book called GAME ON! I thought I could run some of my ideas by you for my first chapter entitled, "Mind Gaming for Dummies"

There are some very simple ways to spin your words so you don't have to take responsibility for your slams.

You may have heard the old adage, If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

That's a sweet thought, but totally unnecessary. You can say unkind things all you want and get away with it by adding bless her heart to the end or not to be rude to the beginning. Everybody knows that.

But did you know you can also say, "I mean, I'm just saying." It's so effective because it's common knowledge that sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can never hurt us. By adding "I mean, I'm just saying" to the end of an insult, you're letting people know that you're not punching or hitting or tripping or pulling hair or throwing-pie in anyone's face. You're just SAYING.

No harm, no foul.

Tone of voice is probably the most important factor when insulting someone without their knowledge. You can pretty much say anything you want as long as you use a sweet, loving tone of voice.

For instance, Let's say, hypothetically, that you have a DIL who ties her 10 year old's shoes one day because he's in a rush and late for tennis practice and everyone is waiting for him in the car.

Let's just say, hypothetically, that you think your grandson is too old to have his mommy tie his shoes, even though his fine motor skills are a bit impaired because he was born 12 weeks early.

How can you send him the message that he should be tying his own shoes without sounding like a judgemental shrew?

Easy peezy lemon squeezy. All you have to do is paint your voice in a coat of many cheerful colors and add the words WOW and LUCKY YOU to the criticism. It should sound something like this:

"WOW! You even have someone to tie your shoes for you! Lucky YOU!"

Make sure you lean in, put your arm around him and give him a big smile. If he doesn't smile back, chase him down the hall and out the door insisting he smile at you just to make sure he knows you weren't insulting him.

Manipulation can also be a super fun way to get what you want without appearing bossy.

For instance, if you're eating dinner and you want to eat the hot rolls that just came out of the oven rather than the cold rolls on the table, simply turn to your husband and say "honey, would you like some hot rolls, or would you rather eat these cold rolls here?" This immediately sends two signals at the same time. One to your DIL that you would like her to fetch the hot rolls for your husband, and one to the rest of the table that you are extremely thoughtful and concerned about the well being of your husband's stomach. It's a win/win.

If your DIL does not immediately jump to fetch the rolls, you should take extreme measures to make like YOU are going to fetch them yourself. This is called a juke out.

While you're pretending to move, announce to the table that YOU are just about to fetch your husband some hot rolls. Pause as you say this and look directly at your DIL. If you have a smart yet dumb DIL, she will immediately understand and jump up to fetch the rolls. Once she has left the table say, "I can get the rolls. I was just about to get them."

This allows you the benefit of appearing to be helpful without actually having to be helpful.

"I was going to do that," or "I could have done that," are the most important key phrases anyone can master.

"Do you want me to do that?" is also good, but must be used carefully. There is a risk that a loved one may say, "Sure, please do drag the garbage cans to the curb." Or "Sure, I would love it if you would squish in the back seat with all three of my boys." Or "Sure, that would be awesome if you delivered all my Christmas goodies to the neighbors."

If you are on the receiving end of the manipulation . . . three words for you. Passive/aggressive resistance.

If you're MIL says to your children, "Would you like your Mother to get that for you?" or "Would you like your mother to do that for you?" do not make eye contact and pretend you didn't hear her.

But if she says, "Would you like ME to get that for you?" or "Would you like ME to do that for you?" immediately say, "Sure, but only if it's not too much trouble."

Then sit back and ROTFLOL at her reaction.

I guess love is pretty funny after all.


Annie Valentine said...

Okay, my MIL is the queen of handing over sugar-coated insults, the kind you can't really call her on because when you try to repeat it, you sound like a hyper-sensitive idiot.

I think she just might be going to Helk.

Jami said...

After my MIL is dead, I have some fantastic stories to blog about. Unfortunately, my sweet husband gave my MIL my blog address. For fun. So I have to wait.

April said...

Now THIS I understood!! It was riddled with sarcasm!!! The language we speak in our home. We start teaching it at a very young age. Tone is everything! Add in a few eye rolls and fewer words are necessary!

And yes, I would LOVE a hot roll, if it's not too much trouble, bless your heart!

Jen said...

Annie's not kidding.

My MIL is a semi-drunk bartender who is very sweet, and never visits. But she always sends Birthday money and Christmas presents.

And might I add that I think you're handling this better than I would. Passive Agressive is something I just can't seem to master.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Group hug, Annie. It's taken me 20years to be able to pin it down and articulate it. This is a historic post for me.

Jami, ha ha. Too bad for you, girl. You could be making millions. And I saw your little poking and prodding on my family blog. hee hee I better get on it.

ROTFLOL April! hee hee You're quick.

Jen, just curious how non passive agressive handle things? Inquiring minds want to know.

Blogging Mama said...

Great. I am definitely picking up tips for sugar coating my insults for my next visit with MIL. Which hopefully won't be till summer..

I'm with Jami - my MIL has my blog too and it sucks.

headbang8 said...

You've pinned it down and articulated it. Now you have to let it go.

I am LoW said...

Do I laugh or do I cry for you? I do not know. :-)

Either way, today I am extra grateful for my MIL.

Stephen said...

Very clever and funny.

Haynsy said...

Just how many times have you done car testing?

I'll take my poke in the eye now please.

Now I'm really ascared of women type.

Kristina P. said...

I like to add on "No offense" to what I say.

Like, "Wow, you look really horrible and stupid today. No offense."

They can't be offended because I already told them I wasn't offending them. Or, just add LOL after something. Same thing.

sara said...

You are way more patient and passive agressive than I am bless your heart. Sorry for your trials.
Let me know if you would like me to put C.T.Dummies on the temple prayer roll.

♥georgie♥ said...

oh I will raise you one MIL then i will see your MIL then i will fold and you can have em both!

Becky said...

My MIL loves to add "bless her heart" to most of her sentences. Bless her heart.

Melanie J said...

You are a much bigger person than I. I would have resorted to face-punching a long time ago.

T said...

Crash - I've been meaning to write to Dear Abby for years about something similar... just so that I could mention it to a neighbor... instead...

Dear Crash: when someone prefaces their statement with the phrase "no offense but..." I automatically assume 2 things: #1 - it's going to be something rude and #2 - they have thought about it long enough to know it's going to be rude. Is there some way to politely express that maybe they should just SHUT it?

(hey, if dear Abby had a blog I'd be there, but this is SO much more convenient!)

Heidi Ashworth said...

This makes my blood boil b/c my mil is very good at the passive/aggressive thing. HATE it! Over the years, I have grown to love her but only b/c she has been dead for four of them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that rot. Maybe your mil should wise up and hit the road. It beats the heck out of dying.

SWIRL said...

Poor Poor CRASH- bless her heart. YOu should send your MIL over.. hey we'll invite you over for dinner and she will see what a WONDERFUL DIL you are by comparison! Your house is 100x more presentable at any given moment without 2 year old sharpie murals on the wall and cheese ground into the carpet. (We went out for our wedding anniversary and well... lack of supervision of the 2 year old was evident!)

The Wixom Zoo said...

I think you nailed my MIL with this one! I wonder if she's aware of her back-handed-sugar-coated remarks? Probably...

Funny Farmer said...

Don't hate me because my MIL is wonderful. I do have compassion, but I just can't empathize with y'all. I hear horror stories from my friends though, so I'm thinking you unfortunate souls are in the majority by a good long stretch.

Emily Anne Leyland ( Art-n-Sewl) said...

Gosh- I totally think I won the MIL lottery. My MIL is DA BOMB. Sorry girl. I totally understand, now my Mom, that is another story..teehee.

Sandi said... speak sarcasm in your home? I am shocked and apalled! And yes I would like a hot roll too tamnit!

Mariko said...

What? How did I miss this? I think your post is trying to jump away from me.
I have said, before, that at least my mother is very straight forward about what she wants, and there's no guessing about it.
She would have said, "Gawsh, I can't believe you have those hot rolls over there and you're trying to feed us these ones." And then roll her eyes.
Now picture that whole set up in a Japanese accent (especially the rolling her eyes part) and you'll have her down exactly.

Mariko said...

Oh, and then she would say, "You have no common sense."
After many years I finally figured out she has no idea what that means.

Martha said...

I'm three days late reading this, but since I happen to know your MIL I am chuckling really hard over here. Good thing you are documenting all her great strategies for future use with your DIL's.

Do you think if you used these tricks on your hubby it would work too? Since he's used to them, he might think they are normal and not notice.