S is for Sarcasm

“Sarcasm: intellect on the offensive”

-Author Unknown

100_0270Sarcasm is probably my favorite type of humor.  I tell people, “if there are two ways to interpret something I said, just assume I’m being sarcastic.”  It’s true.  I have a dry humor, and because I have thick skin, I sometimes forget that others don’t.  I know that sometimes things I’ve said have inadvertently hurt people’s feelings.  Since I’m a therapist in my day job, I have to be especially careful not to be too “me” sometimes.

Recently I had a conversation with a woman from Puerto Rico, and we got on the subject of sarcasm.  Now, she speaks perfect English, so this is a cultural, rather than a language thing.  She commented, “I don’t get sarcasm.  I’ve tried to do it sometimes, and I just end up being mean.”  I also recently had someone tell me, “People who are being sarcastic are hiding something.”

It wouldn’t have been appropriate for me to laugh in the latter instance, so I’m lucky I have experience with keeping a poker face.  But it made me start to think about the implications of sarcasm.  There are times when I think that my sarcasm is so obvious that I might as well be flashing a blink sign.  *sarcasm*  blink  *sarcasm*  blink  But then whoever I’m talking to doesn’t get it, and I wonder if I’m being unclear.  Maybe it’s not that simple.  Maybe some people just don’t “hear” what I’m saying.

I often think about “style” in writing, and how a distinctive voice is one of the things I most enjoy about certain authors.  Different authors use language differently.  But I suppose that we all have styles of speech too; I just don’t normally give those much thought.  In speech, I pause a lot.  I frequently misuse words and lose my train of thought.  (I tell people that my train of thought derails.)  I say “uh huh” and “hmm” a lot.  But my writing style is rather different.  “Real” dialog in writing really isn’t much like real dialog at all, and writing is different than talking.

As to the person who said that people who are being sarcastic are hiding something… I can’t speak for everyone, but I most often tell the truth.  And when I’m being sarcastic, it’s usually because I’m telling the truth.  But because the truth comes in sarcasm, no one notices.  How is it my fault that others don’t pay attention?

What do you think?  Are you pro-sarcasm or anti-sarcasm?


W is for Weather

100_1232Did you ever notice how, in conversation, if you have nothing to talk about, you talk about the weather?  In the winter, if you want to start a conversation in Arizona, just mention how lovely the weather is here compared with in other states.  In the summer, mention how hot it is.  As if these were topics that need to be discussed.  It’s going to be gorgeous or so hot you can’t stand it no matter what.  So why do we discuss it?  Just to have something to say?  I do it myself, so this isn’t a criticism.  Is it because it’s a safe topic?  Seriously, does anyone actually LIKE discussing the weather?  Like, you get up in the morning and think, “Hey, today I’m going to stand in line at Starbucks and say to someone, ‘Isn’t this lovely weather we’re having?'”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen characters discussing the weather in a book (unless it’s really unusual or noteworthy).  As I’ve said before, we do things in real life that no one writes about in books.  That’s partly because books are an escape, and if we wanted to hear about bathroom habits, we’d just call someone over 80.  Or most men.  It cracks me up when people talk about “realistic” dialog.  Honestly, no one wants to read realistic dialog.  It would be horribly boring most of the time.  Don’t believe me?  Just listen in to strangers.  It’s probably nothing interesting.

So the moral of the story?  There is none.  Other than that if you have nothing to blog about, blog about the weather.