Thursday, October 9, 2008

How to Take Offense

No offense to anyone who says it, but I only take offense when people say “no offense.” The thought never crosses my mind that someone might be trying to offend me until they tag their comment with “no offense.” When they do so, I start to think, “Hey, they just said something offensive! I think I’ll take offense to that!” This might be related to my Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Look it up: it’s a real thing. And it’s pretty self-explanatory. Whenever someone issues a demand, I want to do the exact opposite. My mom had to employ reverse psychology when I was younger. She would say, “I don’t want you clean your room because then your friend Kelli will have to come over and I don’t want Kelli to come over.” I would immediately clean my room with the satisfaction of “knowing” that I was making my mom mad. In reality, I had fallen into her trap. But at least I believed that I had the control. This oppositional defiance can similarly be applied to my reaction to the tag “no offense.” The speaker is demanding that I not take offense, which in turn makes me want to take offense.

“Now, Toni,” you may say. “You started this blog post with the very two words that you are speaking out against!”

“Oh, reader,” I may reply. “I wanted you to know that my words were meant to offend you. I wanted to set my opening sentence apart as scathing words of fury. I wanted you to look inside yourself, to the core of your very being, and find that I was truly offending the essence of who you are. And when you had done so, I would have thrown back my head and laughed. Because then, I would have controlled your reaction. And I would once more have the control.”

Now, no offense, but I’m going to have to give you a moral.
Moral of the story: Don’t not give offense, for when you don’t not give offense, the other person doesn’t not take offense. Or something like that.
Moral of the moral of the story: Toni doesn’t always understand that a negative times a negative is a positive. Just follow Thumper’s rule.