In Defense of Snark

I had to bring the snark today. It was after the eightyeleventysevenBILLIONTH time seeing this quote on someone’s Tumblr/Facebook/Pinterest:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

I was like: “Lo, and the day came when quoting Anaïs Nin on your Facebook wall was easier than coming up with your own analogy for growth.”

And I immediately felt a little bad, because I KNOW how evil I am sometimes, and honestly – a little affirmation here and there is harmless, right? After all, I’m in recovery; I should be a veritable, glorious fountain of feelgoodery. Platitudes should be spewing out of my rosebud simper and spraying in crystalline arcs from my alabaster nipples.

But I’m sorry; that’s just not ME.

I come by it honestly. I hail from a long, illustrious line of snarks. Snark was on the menu morning, noon and night at my house. And while my father is prone to affirmations (“Do the best you can for Lisa McColgan!”), these are usually quickly followed by snark (“Hey Lees – you goin’ to the movies? No? Then how come you’re PICKING YER SEAT?”). It was everywhere. Visits with any of my eight billion cousins almost invariably devolved into snark. Overheard once at my aunt’s house, regarding my father: “Yeah, Johnny was a twin, y’know. Ma had a boy and a turd. The boy died.” And this wasn’t considered weird or inappropriate. This was just the way we talked to each other. It has made for some awkward situations outside of my extended family, I’ll tell you what.

A story: many years ago I was out with my then-boyfriend, a very nice singer-songwriter type. He wrote me songs and looked at me like I was a goddess and bought me a sweater because he didn’t think I dressed appropriately for the weather. I mean – HE WAS SO NICE.

So, we were out at some bar, watching all these brave people bare their souls through song, and I…well…I snarked about one of them. You know, like I do. I don’t even remember what exactly it was that I said, but I remember this: my then-boyfriend looked at me, simultaneously aghast and crestfallen, and whispered: “Oh my God. You’re so MEAN.”

And then I felt it: the dull thwack of the executioner’s ax on my relationship with this perfectly nice guy. It didn’t happen right away; I’m pretty sure we went home and did some rather filthy things to each other that night, but then the day came when the risk to remain in a relationship with mean little ol’ me was more painful than the risk of moving clear across the country.

Okay, so my then-boyfriend didn’t move across the country specifically to distance himself from my vaporous snark. But it took a few more go-rounds with fellows of varying degrees of niceness before I met Coombsie, said something quite dreadful in his presence, and found my…uh…”soulmate.” If you’re into that sort of thing.

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