Life, it’s disappointing isn’t it? Every day people let us down, get in the way or disagree with us. It’s enough to make a person take to the clock tower with a rifle. But fear not, here is a guide to manipulating your rant so you don’t become murderous, consumed or, most disturbingly, tiresome to those around you.
You can direct a rant at anything, but for it to not become dangerous it needs to be inconsequential and frankly none of your business. Interspersed with practical advice, here are some of my favourites.
Clothing often annoys me when I’m in a bad mood, people who walk in small groups all wearing the same thing, ridiculous fads like Ugg boots or the ubiquitous chequered shirt, for example. Nothing, however, NOTHING inspires as much teeth clenching as the flip-flop. The flip-flop not only assaults your eyes by displaying hairy toes and that day’s collection of jam, it also announces itself audibly. “Schlup, schlup, schlup schlup.” You can hear every inch of sweat sticking to that slab of foam and I resent it. Is it really too much to add one extra strap and make them a pair of sandals?
It is perfectly reasonable to wear flip-flops at the beach of course, that’s what they are for, but in recent years flip-flops have become eveningwear. I have been in inner city bars and seen the purveyor of this fashion and noise crime lazily sauntering around at 1am, usually wearing a chequered shirt I might add. I blame Australians. Never mind, there is always the chance they might catch hepatitis from a discarded needle on the way home.
The end of the rant is important if it is to be satisfying. I don’t really look forward to a flip-flop wearer getting hepatitis, it’s just a gratifying thought as out of proportion to the situation as the rant is. A rant is an opinion with rage, if no one agrees it festers. “People just don’t get it!” A rant needs a full stop, preferably a bloody one.
You’re sat in a pub having a pleasant evening, everyone is getting along, the conversation is loud and jolly and the alcohol seems to be putting all in a good mood. Suddenly someone behind you pierces you ears by shouting “WOOOOOOO!” You don’t need to turn around to know some dick is on the table, dancing to the supposed delight of a bunch of idiots.
On the face of it these people are also having a good time, but don’t believe a word of it. “WOOOO!” is the noise people make when they are trying to convince themselves (and others) that they are having fun, and twats will always mistake volume for enjoyment. That isn’t to say being noisy isn’t fun, just that this particular noise isn’t and anyone within twenty feet will soon find that out too; at least until he falls off the table and splits his head open or eventually become obnoxious to the bouncer, then it’s time to pull up a chair and start filming.
The platform of a rant is a dictatorship, let’s call it the Glorious Republic of Irant, there can only be one ruler. This is not a debating society and you are not invited to join in unless in praise.
This is an etiquette that the ranter and rantee must abide. To put it another way, you wouldn’t shove someone off the toilet mid shit to rid yourself of your own waste, so don’t interrupt.
Yummy Mummies and Hubbies
I recently got engaged at the grand old age of forty. I never really thought I would get married, not because the idea is abhorrent to me, but because I hate the words husband and wife, they seem to take the individuals out of the partnership.
This is nothing, however, compared to “Yummy mummy and Hubby.” How the hell do these two even fuck? How did she even become a mummy if that’s how they see each other? Unless there is a cannibal involved, I never want to hear these again.
There are some subjects that seem insignificant on the surface, but are in fact bottomless pits to drown in. TV, for example, seems safe enough territory for a rant. Simple entertainment, what could go wrong? Safe ranting is the release of energy; the small things are inert because they lack depth. A flip-flop is a piece of foam and little else; it’s a contained explosion. TV is a mirror for all that is uncritical, incurious, and mediocre, the processed sugar on the honey trap that is Capitalism at its ugliest. An enslaving system that…. WOAH, did you see what happened there? Tread carefully friends.
The Curse Of The Car People
I’m a dog person and believe them to be superior creatures to cats. I did grow up with cats as well so am very much aware of their charms and I truly love all creatures, with one exception, cat people.
Leaving aside the destruction of wildlife that irresponsible cat owners are enabling (remember insanity lies down a path such as this) cat people are like the religious, they aren’t happy unless everyone else is joining in. Of all the evils that social media inflicts upon us, the practice of posting pictures of bemused cats wearing an expression that says “Why are you pointing that inedible plastic thing at me?” Is the worst. There really is no need to post further pictures thank you, we know what a cat looks like.
What’s worse is around 80% of my friends are cat people; coming up with a bloody end to this passage could be dangerous for me. I’ll just say your houses stink.
The biggest pitfall to avoid while ranting is being wrong. This is also where the small is safe territory. “But Dean, people like cats and as you pointed out there are lots of them. Sharing pictures of something that makes people smile is a good thing.” They’d be quite wrong about this, of course, but as this is a matter of opinion, we can agree to disagree once the rant has finished.
With politics if you are wrong you don’t half look a tit. I’m not talking of the nuances of systems, wars and policy, I mean exhibiting ill-thought out ideas at the sort of volume that makes it hard to backtrack from. Everyone is wrong on occasion; if you are wrong through a megaphone people tend to think you are a fool incapable of self-criticism. It must be one of the things that makes fame (a megaphone itself) unbearable and why only psychopaths become successful politicians.
The truth of all ranters is they hate themselves. The insecurity of vanity, the disappointments of life, the pain of lost loves and loved ones, these things can make us resentful. Life owes us nothing and we sometimes have problems dealing with that. With little control over the storms that pass us by we shout impotently at each weather system of injustice, drowned out by others doing the same.
Not everyone has broad enough shoulders to carry resentment and channel it constructively, this can lead to terrible things being said and done. It is a fine line between misery and passion and is one we all have to tread. The only other option is cynicism, a position of fear and weakness. As Alexei Sayle said “I’d rather be up here shouting spite than down there spouting shite.”
The difference between a rant and a passionately expressed opinion is in its motivation. Is your opinion inspired by kindness or misery? Hope or despair? Empathy or self-righteousness? Always question your motives and above all, take the fucking flip-flops off.
© Copyright Dean Stephenson 2014