How to get pissed off at anybody, anytime and come out feeling self-righteous and superior.
Genius is 99% perspiration. First and foremost, it is necessary to strengthen the fundamentals on which you will act on taking offence, in your spare time – *before an offence-taking situation arises*. Offence-taking par excellence is never a spur of the moment thing, and the actual taking of the offence is the final product, the coup de grâce, the tip of the iceberg for masters of the craft. The cherry tree has to be planted and watered and so on before a president-to-be may chop it down, or not, for historians to argue over. So get to work offline on constantly strengthening the fundamentals every practising offence-taker worth his/her salt ought to know, in order to rise from excellent offence-taking to superlative, and even beyond – to take some truly sublime offence:
i. Never work on resolving your anger issues. Bottle up your grudges and be a veritable pressure-cooker of venom waiting to spout.
ii. Strengthen your pattern recognition skills. Your skill or it’s absence for sweeping generalization and identification with a kind may make the difference between taking good hot-under-the-collar offence and lukewarm offence. Or between taking offence at all or not for that matter. You’ll see how this matters later in the post.
iii. Perform exercises that screw with your reading and listening comprehension. The reason for this critical inability will become clear below as well. Read a book backwards, or upside down. Read every odd numbered word, or even better – read words in the prime-numbered sequence. While listening to somebody, sing “If I were a rich man, Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum” to yourself. In a loop. Badly.
iv. Reinforcement: Once every week or so, set aside a half hour to go over a previous offence-taking experience. How would you rate the offence taken? Good? Mediocre? Remember, what is measured, improves. What were the circumstances? What would you do differently if you were given a fresh chance to take offence? What would you keep unchanged? Go back to the righteous indignation you felt then. Has it diminished subsequently? Do you still feel as superior? If not, why? Go after the details. What word or phrase specifically made you take offence? What colour was the underside of the dog that scratched disgustingly in the corner? The question words are your friends. Remember what Kipling said:
“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who. ”
v. Prepare your comebacks. Few would contest the fact that the best part of taking offence is in the ad hominem insults you throw at the fellow that tickled your delicate underbelly. Prepare these in advance. This should not be very hard, since the more irrelevant your insults are, the more satisfying they’re bound to be. For yourself. So “You say that because your momma’s a goat!” is pretty good. If you want to be a bit classier (but less impactful), you may choose “… cuz your momma’s a coat!” instead. Now, that has the added advantage that people may think you read Kafka in your spare time away from preparing insults.
Once you have equipped your arsenal, be on the lookout for occasions to take offence. Now, this needn’t necessarily depend too much on the content of what somebody says or writes. Just choose your offender and go gung-ho.
The process needs to be as follows. Quickly pick keywords in the potentially offensive text that may help you label yourself and the offender. The sky is the limit for these keywords. Third-world, developed, coloured, non-native, red, blue, porcupine, concubine, young, old, monotheistic, toad-to-be-a-prince-upon-kissing, man, woman, feminist, misogyny, polyandry and so on. The idea is to pick a label that you may identify with, in your mind; but not the offender — only in your mind. Now, dig into your deep anger reserves and dish out some vitriolic hatred. This is where your toil-by-the-midnight-oil training comes in handy. The key to taking fine offence is in the speed with which you go from labeling to generalization to cranking up the anger machine. This is exactly where your inabilities in comprehension will help. The more time you spend in understanding what was said, and the more you comprehend it, the less offence you’ll get to take. So be swift and decisive. Now it’s payoff time. Ready an ad hominem insult from your arsenal, customize it to fit within the labeling framework to make it sound related to what was said (but only ambiguously so to come off sounding intelligent), and fire! Go home with hard-earned high-quality righteous indignation for standing up for your beliefs.
Example: Him: “The Aerosmith concert was too long”. Churn. Swirl. Whip. You: “That’s because you are getting too long in the tooth!”. Touché.
May you take some fine premium quality offence. May people point your way reverentially and say “There walks the taker of great offences!”. May your friends be patient and your evenings grumpy. Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.