Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Monday, 1 April 2013

92. April Fools' Day and the predictability of pranking

^The fact that such awful clip-art exists for such a pointless day physically hurts my being.

       I’m not adverse to pranks. On the contrary, a good and well thought out prank is often unrivalled in hilarity. Although I was the “victim” of it, one of my favourite pranks was when I went home for the Christmas holidays, only to find on my return to my London house, my flatmates had removed my bedroom door from the hinges and then hidden it. It took me a good thirty minutes to realise I didn’t have a door, when my muscle-memory attempted to close thin air just before getting changed. For a while, I thought that there had been an accident where my door had needed to be removed from the vicinity. It didn’t become obvious it was a prank until I rang one of my flatmates asking if something had happened to my door, only to get the response, “What door?” followed by a stifled giggle. Eventually, my impish flatmate got home to reveal where my door was secreted, as I couldn’t find it. It was under the staircase. A classic.

       But you know what made a lot of that prank good (other than the amusingly obtuse immaturity, I mean)? The element of surprise. At no point would I have expected my door to go missing. Hence, hilarity. Therein lays the problem with April Fools’ Day. Gone is any semblance of surprise. You know to expect pranks everywhere, which makes it all the more depressing when you discover what passes as a prank nowadays – particularly online.

       It’s rarely real people who indulge in the pranks either; rather, it is brands and website owners desperately cloying to connect with internet users through an awfully cheesy sense of humour in a vain attempt to strike up some kind of relationship. There is no surprise, there is no thought, there are no chuckles. There is just this;

Oh, haha. I get it! The joke is that Youtube was always a competition. How funny! My sides are splitting! Seriously, call an ambulance. This isn’t a laughing matter.

       I won’t deny that occasionally a good prank comes out on April Fools’. But the real power of a prank comes from two things; surprise and believability. April Fools’ Day is just a carnival of predictability where any of the good jokes are spoilt by the fact that the joker only saw it fit to exercise their wit on a predetermined day of the year. Yay for the on-going homogenisation of humour.

91. The phrase "With all due respect"

 ^ Just so we're clear, this is the kind of idiot who says things like "With all due respect".

       Working in an office is weird – I mean besides from the crushing monotony, the never-ending sense that this might be all you do for the rest of your regimented life and the constricting feeling that you’ll forever live to serve the arbitrary qualms of someone else, of course. No, I mean it’s weird in that you start to pick up things about how people behave and speak that you may not have noticed at, say, university. Working in a moderately sized office in an industry infamous for its turnover of people, you’re exposed to a variety of different characteristics and attributes, which eventually lets you start to identify what these mean about individuals (sort of). Moreover, you start to become more acutely aware of the throwaway phrases people use to thoughtlessly pepper their language.

       Except of course that none of these phrases are actually that throwaway and any illusion of thoughtlessness to them is only on a conscious level. Rather, these words or phrases become worrying markers that hide subtle warnings, agendas or hints as to what’s going through someone’s head as they say them. For example;

to be fair
[2 b fair] stalling phrase, prefix or suffix to sentences

      1. Prefix: Phrase employed when speaker hasn't thought through the rest of what they're saying in advance; an attempt to buy precious thinking time: "To be fair, I think One Direction are the voice of this generation."

      2. Suffix: Very rarely used by someone actually being fair, measured or grounded. Rather, employed to dampen the stupidity of previous statement.

to be honest
[2 b honest] seemingly meaningless phrase, prefix or suffix to sentences

      1. Phrase used to denote that speaker thinks that the very obvious fact they're about to state is a profound epiphany: synonymous with "I'm about to make a very obvious statement." 

See what I mean? All language means something, even if it’s just a warning signal that you have engaged in an idiot in conversation.

       The worst of these however is “with all due respect”. Do you know what that means? That means “I’m going to insult you now. But you’re not allowed to complain, because I’ve showed due diligence in acknowledging that you should be respected as a colleague / human being”. I’m sorry, but ‘WADR’ is not some kind of magical barrier that means you can say whatever you want to me or somebody else. If you had any modicum of respect, you simply wouldn’t be saying what you’re about to say. You may as well just shout, “HEY EVERYBODY, I’M ABOUT TO BE A SCROTE OVER HERE” and then say whatever you were going to say. It’d have the same effect and at least then, people may give you some respect for being painfully honest about your own pitifulness.

       With no due respect, anyone who uses that phrase is a spineless git afraid of the repercussions of their own worthless opinion – they wouldn’t know what respect was if it married them, had a tumultuous one year relationship that, instead of ending in divorce, saw 'respect' run away with the kids one day whilst they were at work. Or something like that.