- Gender and Relationships
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!
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.
One year, when I was in college, I was a floor supervisor in the dormitory and one of the freshman 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.
The other floor supervisor, Tom, and I both worked together in the kitchen washing dishes for 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 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. One night Tom and I were assigned to the second dining area, where the traffic was light and only required the two of us to handle it. To amuse ourselves we got a container and began saving butter. By the end of the evening we had accumulated about half a pound of butter and were debating what to do with it. We had no use for it but it did seem like a waste to just throw it out. We were going to give it to one of the older ladies when Kathy, a 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, came by. 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. 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 mixed into the butter which was used to make them, neither of us had any appetite for them. Walking back to my room I had an idea which I implemented as soon as I entered my room. Deliberately leaving the door ajar and setting the cookies in plain site of 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 ignored 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 with getting back at Andy for his snooping.
So, the next time someone makes your life miserable, do get mad or upset. Let it go and, when the opportunity arises, as it will, get even with them!