There are nice people in the world. This confuses me.
September 30th, 2017 by Mike Coughlin
girlfriend fiancé wife is nice. This confuses me. Brother Brian has been with Ashley (last name withheld by no one’s request but this is me using my brain) for years now; I believe five+. When your little brother is with someone for that long, you have no choice but to get to know them.
At first, I wasn’t sure she was real. She was basically too nice. She’s polite and doesn’t really swear, doesn’t drink, does crafts, likes to play board games, and she even teaches troubled youths – she’s kind of like Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds.
Naturally, being a dick at heart, I was unfamiliar with this behavior. My family, for lack of a better term, are assholes (all from my dad’s side). I’M an asshole. When we get together, we’re the people at the bowling alley making a little too much noise, drinking a little too much, and swearing a little too much in front of children. The family cabin in Northern Minnesota has two refrigerators: one for food and one for booze.
My mother is, easily, the best person I know. She taught French, raised kids, works at a library, never ever swears, and likes to go to Bible study and church. But she can be a little sassy at times and she watched 50 Shades of Grey the other night (shudder). She’s very typical of “Minnesota Nice” even though she’s from South Dakota. She and Ashley get along quite well. Ashley is nicer.
Anyways. I’m like my dad in that I’m smart, know I’m smart, let other people know I’m smart, and speak only in sarcasm. This isn’t to say that Ashley can’t be sarcastic but her default setting is not “somewhat aloof ass.” Again, this confused me because it’s taken me the longest time to realize it’s not a show, not an act; it’s real and genuine: she sees the crap out there but doesn’t let it get to her, she chooses to be a good person instead. For me, this is like waking up and learning Santa is real and that I could’ve had whatever I wanted if I’d been nicer.
She’s someone I truly didn’t know existed in the world. I do nice things for people. And I think overall I do more good than bad and help folks out. But if I saw an old lady fall down the escalator I’d laugh before I thought to help her. My niceness is tempered by my desire to be an ass. Oh, right, that’s the other thing. I LIKE being an ass.
But then there’s her. And she’s infectious. My brother was more evil than I for many years but over time, due 100% to her, he’s become nicer too. Her niceness is so pure that she causes other people to become nice. And her friends are all nice too. I cannot verify if they’re all genuine but I’m pretty sure they are.
I see photos of my brother and her together – they don’t really have photos where they aren’t together – and he’s well dressed, like a proper adult, smiling, the whole nine yards. I wear sweatpants and a t-shirt as often as possible, don’t really know how to smile, and mostly look like a hobo except for the one day a month I shave.
This is me being removed from her (their) world:
I went to a birthday party of hers (should it be “her’s” or “hers”??) once and it was normal enough, her friends were whatever – people I didn’t know but no one looked like they kicked kittens for fun so I presumed they were normal – and things were as you’d expect until… Someone brought food. I can’t remember what it was, but it was healthy. I think it was a salad of some sort. (I should note that I was a little tipsy – the only one who was I think – because I’m that guy.) And they were all truly and without any irony excited about it. They enjoyed the salad. Salad. At a birthday party. I kept waiting for someone to open up three bottles of whiskey and announce that 4 pizzas had arrived. Instead: they were eating healthy, not to eat healthy, but because they just liked the way it tasted. I felt I was at a zoo until I realized I was the odd one out; I was the bear behind the glass.
Here I am, half-drunk, having spent my day alternating between beating people up in a gym and writing scathing letters to people where I basically threatened to destroy them, amidst people who weren’t mean. I didn’t have to be on alert, ready with a quick witted reply or anything like that. No one was going to be sarcastic and give “light hearted shit” to anyone. They were … nice.
I contrast this to anytime I’m with my life-mate, Tony – the third head of the three-headed monster that is this site. Whenever we’re together, it’s basically nothing but days on end of us destroying our bodies with food and booze, calling each other every name under the sun, trying to find weirder porn than the other, and then falling asleep (read: passing out) as fights are on in the background. One time we cuddled while watching fighting – it wasn’t weird enough for either of us. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This does cause issues. I forget to tone down my full Mike-ness sometimes and what I think of as just regular shit-talking can come across as rude. It is rude. Nice people see it as rude, I’m just so used to being around my own kind (when I do venture near people) that it doesn’t always dawn on me that, “Oh, you bitch! I had that hand won!!!” isn’t what everyone says during card games.
I think she’s the kind of person the world needs to protect. Bad people don’t need to be protected because they’re bad. People like me don’t need it because, let’s face it once the bad people are gone I’m likely to slide in and take their place if there’s enough money on the table. But it turns out there are truly good people in the world. Those of us who’re inherently bitter and sarcastic should do our best to preserve a world where good people can flourish. Because they’re out there.