A Practical Guide to Pettiness
My uncle’s oldest son disappointed him by being born, and he disappointed his wife by not using birth control.
The most forgiving person in the world is a guy with Alzheimer’s. To stay mad at someone, you need an excellent memory, and mine is so bad I can’t even recall family birthdays. At one point, people used to take offense.
“You didn’t remember my kid’s birthday,” said my cousin Zubair.
“I’m sorry, man.” I didn’t even remember he was married or that he was my cousin.
I can be forgiven, though, because I have 52 first cousins. My dad has 150+.
“Why did the previous generation have so many kids, dad?”
“Because if you have a dozen kids, statistically, one of them is going to make you proud.”
I could never have that many kids, again, because of my memory. Remembering names is a lot of work. In the good old days, you could outsource work to your kids and call it ‘family business’ instead of ‘child labor.’ I would probably have six kids, and one of them would remember the others’ birthdays. Now I’ll likely have one kid and convince him that my birthday is also his birthday.
Please feel free to forget my birthday because even if I get mad, I’ll forget all about it. As I said, you need to have excellent memory to stay mad. But if you forgive too easily, people start walking all over you. That’s why I have started keeping a grudge journal. In it, I write who I am supposed to be mad at.
Amina, December 2016.
This was the year I graduated from University. My classmates said the market conditions were bad, and employment was hard to get. To be honest, I had heard that from every graduating class since 2012. But when I applied to over 500 positions and got no response, I realized they were right.
Then I found my ideal job. It was an entry-level creative position in an ad company. I eagerly applied and spent the rest of my time daydreaming about how many awards I was going to win my agency. This was the professional equivalent of going on the first date and thinking about your future kids, except the agency hadn’t even reviewed my application.
One day passed, no response.
Two days passed, no response.
One week passed, no response.
Just when I was about to lose hope, I got a notification from LinkedIn: Congratulate your friend Amina on her new job at the same damn agency that ghosted you, you loser. Amina doesn’t even know that she took my dream job, but I remember coz I have a journal.
Nessy, September 2017
Have you ever been cheated on by a girl who is engaged to someone else? I had met Nessy at a public speaking event where she kicked my ass in a debate, so I asked her out. She told me that she was in a 13-year-long relationship but broke up with her guy because he had moved to Australia. A week into dating, I tried to prank her.
“I know, Nessy,” I texted her.
I didn’t expect her to confess that she was actually engaged to Mr. Australia and that I was a temporary side piece.
A guy once told me that the best revenge is to rise above those who have wronged you. I guess he’s right but being petty is more practical. Suppose Josh made fun of your weight. You might try and get a better physique than him, but isn’t it easier to tell people Josh has an STD?
Doing great things is hard, but doing hard things doesn’t feel great. So 90% of the world is looking for lazy shortcuts. We invented cars because we didn’t want to walk. We invented TV because we didn’t want to go to theaters. We invented cousins because we didn’t want to pay for babysitters.
A family is as follows: parents and children. Everyone else, we hang on to because we might need them later. A grandma is usually the best unpaid chef, a nephew is an excellent practice dummy to exercise one’s parenting skills, and an uncle who owns a business is the best medium to fake internship experience while binging Korean dramas at home. Because we have so many expectations associated with relatives, it is hard to forgive them when they disappoint us.
My uncle’s oldest son disappointed him by being born, and he disappointed his wife by not using birth control. The cycle of disappointment continues as the child has decided to become a playback singer in Bollywood, the odds of which are lower than Facebook’s respect for user privacy. His parents are actively working towards crushing his dream, and I can only wonder what he will do out of revenge.
If he grows up to be too lazy for revenge, he can always delegate it to Karma. Karma doesn’t work. Isn’t it weird how anyone who can exact revenge doesn’t rely on Karma? Only people who can’t get even who believe Karma works. Well, it works as a coping mechanism. For the realists among us, here’s my message: stay practical, stay petty. Above all, stay off the high road.