It Could Be Worse

Have you ever had a bad day? I don’t even mean a “sharted on a coffee break” kind of bad day, maybe just a “Modern Family was a re-run” kind of bad day. That one guy you work with that talks too much roped you in to yet another one-sided marathon conversation about backyard horticulture in which you literally almost fell asleep standing up. Or that one supervisor that thinks every question you ask should be turned into a 30 minute “teachable moment” decided to give you a new lecture when in reality you just wanted a damned yes or no answer. Standard stuff, happens all the time.

Have you ever gone to a friend of yours – someone you trust to care for and embrace you in your time of need – and bitched about that bad day, as unextraordinary as it might have been? You groggily stumble over to their desk/cubicle/house or lethargically shoot them a text message and talk about the excruciatingly verbose and unnecessary lecture you just received about the company’s policy on section whatever-dot-whatever in the procedures for whatever-the-hell-it-was, hoping to receive a little emotional “I got your back, bro” from your friend. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, really.

But, somehow, it apparently is too much to ask, because that asshat of a friend just has to respond with the most annoying that-doesn’t-help-at-all response:

“It could be worse.”

No way? It could be worse? Damn, I hadn’t thought about that. I feel so much better now that you pointed out that my crappy, frustrating day could be even crappier and more frustrating. You’re so right. I could be crippled. Or bald. Or Rachel Maddow/Sarah Palin (take your pick based on your political preferences). You’re always getting me to look on the bright side of things, friend.

Except that’s not at all how you feel, because that’s not at all a helpful thing for someone to say when you just want to have a bit of an innocent bitchfest about something that anyone would call obnoxious. In fact, it’s rarely ever a helpful thing to say. It doesn’t make something crappy better to know that there is something crappier out there. If I just broke one of my legs in a wild break-dancing related accident, it won’t make my leg hurt less if you tell me that I could have broken both of my legs. I still broke my leg you stupid jackass. That still sucks.

If you happen to voice this concern to your mentally inanimate friend, you may receive the following defense:

“It happens to everybody.”

If everyone got kicked in the balls at the same time, that doesn’t make getting kicked in the balls feel good. It’s still a kick to the balls. The fact that it happens to everyone just means that everyone has a pretty legitimate reason to piss and moan, not that they should just shut up about it because “it’s the standard.” If the standard sucks, then complaining about the standard becomes the standard.

Think about it. You’ll get it.

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