The arsehole rule

Posted: June 18, 2014 in Mental Health

The AH rule

This rule is universal. Now that sounds like a hell of a statement, slightly cocky and over egged even but when applied it allows everything and I mean everything we do that involves interaction with anyone whether face to face or on the phone, via email or even texting to be experienced in a better way, a way that allows you to end it regardless of the outcome in a better frame of mind than you may well have.
Now when I call this the Arsehole rule you shouldn’t get hung up on that word, that’s the word I prefer and seems the most apt, maybe I’m lucky that most of the people I meet are easily described by that word but others may prefer a more genteel word and some I know have substituted it for much harder words, the C word being quite popular and to be fair I can’t argue against that because on any given day I swap it around and get great satisfaction from walking away from a genuine “C” knowing I have the upper hand , albeit without their knowledge, rather than what they think has happened.
So to the nitty gritty of this wonderful and empowering rule and this won’t take long so the less concentrated of you won’t drift. In essence the rule is as easy as this, I am bolding this to aid it as a mnemonic and once you’ve remembered it you will be firing on gas.
Everyone you meet, and I mean everyone from a child to a high court judge and everyone in between is an arsehole, until they have proven otherwise.
Now I can imagine a lot of people taking a harsh inward breath in shock, the idea that your parents, children and even Santa Claus is an arsehole can be hard to imagine but I remind you of the second half of the rule to allay your fears somewhat. The line you set at which proof of not being an AH is considered will be entirely personal to yourself and therefore some of us who would struggle to see a relative as an AH can Gerry Mander the parameters but remember that everyone else might be using the same rule and therefore your loved ones could be considered arseholes by everyone else and it might be with good reason too. Now the easy part is done with you could end your interest at this point and be a relatively effective practitioner of the rule from this moment onwards but you would have missed some crucial elements that allow you to use this without being the biggest arsehole of the lot by seemingly being a judgemental prick to all those poor arseholes out there.
Firstly there is a proviso to the rule and this is quite complicated for some so bear with it.
Someone who is an Arsehole on one occasion can prove themselves to be otherwise on another occasion and the opposite is also true.
Simply put people aren’t any more stagnant in their personalities than you are so if you caught them on a bad day they may have been unusually rude or awkward so you were right to judge them an AH but when they are on a more even keel they are a delight, the opposite is also true you may have met someone who has just won the lottery and been in an out of character good mood and every day since the AH has been on duty.
Now the rule is explained as fully as you need to be a full time practitioner but why would you? What are the benefits? And why will it improve all interactions? Simply put if you put everything that someone says , regardless of their position into the realms of a prize Arsehole sounding off then you can’t take it personally, no matter how vile or unhelpful, prejudice and unfair you know they are probably like that to everyone and this loosens the ties of inadequacy that they are trying to bind you in. consider you have called the Tax office and get a very abrupt young lady who speaks over you and tells you in a patronising way that you have filled in a form to the effect that owe for something you know you don’t, she is unbending and highly critical of you, in your head she has judged you a ponce and beggar.
When the call ends, usually you will feel deflated and upset, believing in however small a way that she was right and you are a fool, a cheat and buffoon in short beaten. Now flip the situation in your mind, you know that you are the only person in that conversation who isn’t an AH so what really happened was you thought you would be confronted by an arsehole and you were right, kudos to you and it also means everything she said was immediately written off as the ramblings of an arsehole and in no way your responsibility. Now that has got to feel better than berating yourself for hours only to have to ring again with the information you should have given them, because you were stupid?
So that’s an obvious win in a situation where the rule proves true but there is an amazing up side to this too. You call the same lady with your “I know this one’s an arsehole” head on and to your surprise she turns out to be a lovely helpful person who explains the error in a fair and friendly way, fixes the system and you finish the call with a result you could never have expected. So where does the rule fit here I hear you say. Well it’s a huge fillip when someone goes against the rule because it’s a pleasant surprise and who doesn’t like them?
In conclusion the rule allows everyone to enter into any discourse without the fear of being denigrated and crapped on by anyone else, whether they are officials, family or health care professionals. If you are primed for disappointment then its effect is lessened greatly and the feeling of superiority you get when putting the other person into their box , without the need for confrontation makes you warm inside, even if only momentarily. It also allows you to be surprised when someone who you considered an arsehole, rightly or wrongly turns out to be otherwise, in short it’s a win win situation every day. They either prove themselves to be an arse and you’re right or they aren’t and you are happy to have met or spoken to them. One final thing I need to clarify about this rule. It isn’t the pessimistic idea of prepare for the worst and you can’t be disappointed, far from it. This is a way of making everything that happens in relation to others somehow positive and also a safety against the genuinely nasty arseholes out there, if you expect them to be that way the venom is drawn from their words and that’s always a good thing, right?

Steve Goldsack
June 2014

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