I’d like to think I don’t take myself too seriously. I’d like to think I can have a laugh at my own expense. And certainly, I don’t seem to have any problems embarrassing myself.
Honestly though, doesn’t everyone think they don’t take themselves too seriously? Or at least that’s the impression they hope to make? I suppose there are people out there who are humorless shrews, and they don’t care who knows it. But in their private time, those people probably pick their noses and eat it. Right?
So, ha ha, I’m not too serious most of the time. If some stranger ran up to me and said “You’re a jackass!” Or “Boy you’re dumb!” Or “You’re funny looking!” My first instinct would be to agree with them. And perhaps that means I need therapy. Or at least, my sense of self worth needs to be recalibrated. But I’d like to think it’s because I’m light hearted and carefree.
But there are times I do get serious, or I do get pissed. And you might not know it. Except, like a lot of people, I have The Look.
I’ve heard it called the hairy eye ball, the stink eye, the death stare. None of those terms seem to have quite the gravitas to describe the seriousness of The Look. It is silent. It is quick. It is intense. Sometimes there is an eyebrow involved.
If you ever get The Look, it means you better instantly stop fucking doing whatever you are doing, right now motherfucker.
It doesn’t happen often. As light hearted as I like to think I am, can’t always control The Look. I once had a sudden flash of anger, the offending party (I won’t say who) turned to see The Look, and instantly apologized. I can only imagine the face I was making. Enough to sink a thousand ships.
So this is how we build civilization. As social creatures, and human beings, we understand each others’ Looks. And whatever we may be doing, if we see someone give us A Look, we stop fucking doing whatever it was we were doing. And with that, we became a civilization. Boom. You can call me and I’ll come to your college or university and teach history and stuff.
Right. So you know who doesn’t heed The Look? Sociopaths.
You know who else? Babies.
I have talked to some parents who have sensitive children, who tell me that if they say something with a slightly wrong tone of voice, their kid erupts into tears. I’ve talked to parents whose kids are earnest and eager to please, and can’t bear the thought of disappointing their parents. To those parents: Congratulations.
Because my 20 month old twin boys don’t give a fuck about what I am saying. Never mind disappointing me. They do something bad. They hear me say no. They see me get angry. And they think it’s hilarious.
I’ve tried that thing where you distract them, or give them something else to play with, or you cease giving attention when they are naughty…and they simply don’t care. They don’t care about what the looming angry woman is saying in the background.
Because they have each other. They aren’t watching me give them The Look. They are looking at each other. They give each other little grins. One does something naughty, the other follows. It’s the most fun thing ever!
Okay. So they are really good boys. Most of the time. Dave and I have honestly marveled at how good they are. “Good” meaning well rested, sweet tempered, well behaved in restaurants, tolerant of trips away from home, etc.
As they get older and gain more autonomy, and are able to reach higher, and lock bedroom doors (!!!), the ratio of good/bad behavior is destabilizing a bit. Now they are pushing boundaries. It’s probably the beginning of the terrible twos. And they don’t care about The Look.
I have to tell you, as an adult, it fucks you up when someone doesn’t respect The Look. I mean, if a giant, benevolent person with a soothing voice was gently and lovingly wiping the shit from your ass, would you kick and squirm like a fish? With your shitty butt? When that giant person suddenly gave you The Look, would you really think it was funny? Would you think it was a game?
Because my boys think it’s hilarious.