Don't Get Mad - Get Even!
There is Usually a Way to Get Back at Annoying People
Revenge is not a very healthy activity as it requires a person to hang on to their anger and direct their energies toward getting revenge on the person or group that harmed them. Worse still, by hanging on to their hurt, they become used to it and, when they are finally able to exact revenge it generally does nothing to relieve the hurt they have been clinging to.
However, this does not mean that you have to put up with annoying people without striking back. Instead of getting angry with their petty annoyances, just bide your time and, when the opportunity arises, let them have it!
Remembering My Father Telling How he Dealt With Being Short-Sheeted in the Army
My father used to tell the story about when he was in basic training in the Army in World War II. The men all slept in a common barracks with no privacy. One of the tricks some of the guys would play on others in the barracks was short sheeting. This involved removing the blanket from a person's cot when he was in the shower or outside, and folding the bottom of the top sheet under the bottom sheet so that the fold was about halfway down the cot. The result was that when the person got into bed their legs could not stretch more than half way down the bed. Of course, the person would get mad, jump out of the cot and have to remake it in order to stretch out and sleep. The guys who did this would have a good laugh.
One night my father got into his cot and found that he had been short-sheeted. Rather than getting mad, he decided to get back at the pranksters by staying in bed. He curled into a fetal position and waited. He could hear the whispering and the muffled laughs waiting for him to jump out of bed.
However, when nothing happened, the pranksters finally went to sleep, obviously disappointed that their trick had failed. Once they were asleep, my father managed to raise himself up enough to take most of his weight off the sheet and then began to slowly kick at the fold to push the bottoms of both sheets down toward the foot of the bed.
He soon had them pushed down enough to stretch out and go to sleep. In the morning he remade the bed properly and never had the short sheeting trick pulled on him again.
An Annoying Resident in My College Dorm
One year, when I was in college, I was a floor supervisor in the dormitory and one of the freshmen on the floor was a real nuisance. His name was Andy and his problem was that he lacked any type of social skills and was totally incapable of taking a hint.
He would walk into any room that was open and begin a one sided conversation, staying until he was literally pushed out of the room. He also had a habit of pacing around the room as he talked and, while pacing would snoop through drawers and shelves and if he found any food he liked would help himself without asking.
Washing Dishes in the Cafiteria and Saving Unused Butter for Older Kitchen Staff
The other supervisor on the floor was Tom and he and I often worked together in the kitchen washing dishes to earn spending money. There were two dining areas and we usually worked on the window at the busy area and were usually at the front of the line receiving the trays of dirty dishes. It was our job to scrape off the food left on the plates and rinse the dishes.
Huge quantities of messy, uneaten food were left on the dishes including large amounts of butter. Butter was served in one inch squares, each on its own cardboard square with a piece of waxed paper on top. Many students would take one roll and about ten pats of butter, using one or two and leaving the remaining pats, untouched, on their plates.
In addition to student help, we had some older ladies who worked full time in the kitchen. The chief industry in the area, other than the college, was mining and many of the mines at that time were shut down. With their husbands unemployed, these ladies were the sole support of their families and, to help keep food costs down, the ladies would each take a clean container and ask us to put the unused butter in it for them to take home. We, of course, thought this was gross and disgusting but, realizing their need to save money, we accommodated them by putting the unused pats of butter into their containers.
Tom and I Collect the Butter and End Up Giving it to Kathy
One night Tom and I were assigned to the back dining area which catered mostly to the lunch crowd which included mostly staff, faculty, and non-dorm students. There were just enough of these non-dormitory students plus some overflow from the main dining area on the other side of the kitchen area to justify keeping it open for dinner. However, the traffic in this area was light and only required two of us to clear uneaten food and pass the dishes on to the dishwashing area.
Since the dining crowd was light and the dirty dishes coming in slowly Tom and I decided to amuse ourselves by saving the unused butter. So got a clean container and began saving butter with no purpose in mind other than occupying ourselves while waiting for the next diner to deposit their tray with its dirty dishes at out window.
Despite the smaller crowd the diners were the same wasteful dorm residents as those dining in the larger main dining area and by the end of the evening we discovered that we had accumulated a considerable amount of unused of butter. and were debating what to do with it. We had no use for it but it did seem like a waste to simply throw it out. We were going to give it to one of the older ladies when Kathy came into our area.,
Kathy was a young woman a couple of years older than us who had just left a convent and was living with her parents and working in the college dining hall while she tried to figure out what to do with her life.
As a joke, we gave her the butter, expecting that she would laugh at us and either throw it out or give it to one of the ladies. Instead, she thanked us and took it home with her.
Kathy Surprises Us by Giving Each of Us a Plate of Chocolate Cookies Made With the Butter We Gave Her
The next night she brought each of us a plate of chocolate chip cookies which she had made with the butter.
After two hours of not only working with garbage but listening to Tom agonize over the cookies saying that they looked great but he couldn't help imagining hairs and other garbage on the trays that accompanied the butter which had been used in making the cookies killed any desire in me for eating them. Tom also had no apatite for eating them but, like me, could not bring himself to simply throw them out.
Walking Back to My Room I Come Up With a Plan for The Cookies
Walking back to my room I came up with an idea which I implemented as soon as I entered my room.
Deliberately leaving the door to my room ajar and setting the cookies in plain site on the top of my dresser, I sat down at my desk and began to study while I waited. It didn't take long before the door was flung open and in walked Andy.
Despite the fact that I continued studying and being very obvious in my ignoring him, Andy began his usual monologue as he wandered around the room looking into everything.
Seeing the cookies he helped himself and continued to help himself until they were almost gone. With two left on the plate (there had originally been a dozen) he paused to ask me if I minded his eating some. I said no, so he ate the remaining two and left.
Problem solved. I got rid of the cookies without having to eat them or throw them away and had the satisfaction of secretly getting back at Andy for his snooping.
Oh, the cookies were fine as Andy showed no ill effects other than the addition of some extra calories which he didn't need.
And, as for Tom, he had put the cookies in a safe place and had dutifully consumed them over the next few days while imagining all the horrible things that might have made their way into them. I didn't want to add to Tom's misery by telling him what I had done. Also, since there were still a few months of school left I wanted to keep Andy in the dark and available if I needed to dispose of something else
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2006 Chuck Nugent