I worried about finding inspiration this week. The past several days have been an absolute blur, and Ive done as much as possible to avoid any societal interaction beyond what is necessary. But as I sat on the couch last night pondering just who I could write about so as not to deny my
legions maybe five fans a punctually updated That Guy I was reminded of an encounter I had at work late yesterday morning. Though not an out of the ordinary exchange, this conversation is nevertheless consistently annoying enough it not only warrants nomination for addition to the that guy roster, I’m surprised this is the first week I’m using it. This week’s that guy is someone we’re all familiar with, some of you may recognize its personification in your own children, some of you may recognize its positivity in the successes of those around you, and, unfortunately, some of you will know a that guy in the form of an ornery customer who just never quite got around to familiarizing themselves with the most basic tenets of the English language. My that guy goes out to that guy who never takes no for an answer.
No one likes denial. One of our earliest reactions is a refusal of rejection. Hell, if you really want to boil it down to the basics pretty much our entire life is reconciling ourselves to the parameters of denial we’re forced to exist in while simultaneously finding as many ways as possible to defy those boundaries. Our life is a constant haggle. Some people recognize this early on and are able to not only successfully reconcile this absolute of life, but also revise the rejections they face and create a positive, fulfilling existence. Others, not so much. Maybe it’s because they heard the word so late in life, maybe it’s because no one ever showed them the silver linings to those storm clouds, or, maybe they’re just bitter people who survive on vengeance. Whatever the reason some people just suck at hearing the word no. It doesn’t compute. It’s like the instant you uttered the word their brain shorted out and all they heard was that white noise dead cable signal sound. They’re perfectly capable of hearing yes in every conceivable language on the planet, but try to form a no and all of a sudden they’re looking at you with more confusion than your dog when you try to explain why it’s not cool to scratch your ass with the carpet.
I get in some instances refusing to take no for an answer is a positive trait; but not every conversation is Michael Jordan’s high school basketball coach telling him he didn’t make the team. Sometimes it’s me telling you the driving range is closed. Or it’s the cashier at Whataburger explaining why you can’t get breakfast at 11:30. It could also be your ex explaining why they don’t want to give a relationship an 87th chance. Whatever the circumstance, the beauty of no is that its existence is its justification. One needn’t a reason for why they’re hearing the word. Do we need a reason for why we’re incapable of unassisted flight? No, we just accept that flight without mechanical assistance is not a possibility for human beings. Same with no. If the bartender says no you can’t buy and take double digit beers back to your table, you don’t need to interrogate them like you’re trying out for “Law and Order.” Just accept that at this particular moment in your life you will not be able to buy beers for the table, and move on. Recognize the gravity (or lack thereof) of the moment and react accordingly.
Perhaps that’s where Mr never takes no for an answer’s stubbornness comes from. It’s not an over exposure to the word yes or shielding them from rejection during critical stages of their development, it’s an inability to perceive the relative importance of a situation. To them everything is life and death. There’s no escalating the situation if the situation started at 10. They don’t need to deal with rejection better, they need to reconcile the continuity of their timeline.
Ultimately, a modicum of awareness would do wonders for mr never takes no for an answer. Rather than assume malicious intent from whomever it is that’s handing them their rejection, perhaps they should consider the possibility that the individual delivering the L is just a messenger. Perhaps they’ve no more power over the no than the person hearing it, they’ve just been tasked with speaking it into existence. After all, there’s precious little in our lives we actually control, who are we to think the availability of some Starbucks or the leniency of using expired department store coupons would be any different?