My body has a defense mechanism for other people. It has invented a way to let friends know that I’m about to become insufferable. I subconsciously developed this mechanism during college, so it’s fairly recent. Before then, I guess people just clenched their jaws and hoped that a meteor would quickly hit me. It is the rattler on my snake tail, warning passersby that Daniel is about to become the most annoying thing on the planet.
It’s when I start a sentence with “Well, here’s my thing about…”
I have a lot of opinions, most of them on things that I shouldn’t logically have an opinion on. About half of this comes from the fact that I am a child of the internet, where everyone counts their opinion as simultaneously fact and God. The second half comes from me really liking to talk and share my ideas, something I’ve been doing since I was a child who decided that everyone who came to the family Christmas party needed to know the name of every dinosaur species. No one else in my family seems to do this as much as I do – deciding, personally, that a topic is so important that it needs to bulldoze through everyone else’s topics. It’s one of the things that helps to prove creationism. Intelligent design means that growing into an asshole requires very little nurturing or provocation.
My friends began to make fun of me for starting things with “Well, here’s my thing about…” way before I noticed that I was doing it. It was the conversational spinach in my teeth until they told me about it enough. In time, I began to fear it coming out. I was Bruce Banner, whispering “You wouldn’t like me when I’m philosophical.”
Why is it so bad to start off everything with this combination of five words? Let me break it down.
Nothing agreeable has ever started with the word “Well.” Even “Well, yes” is usually succeeded by a “but” which is basically saying “You have an opinion, and I acknowledge that. But it’s fuckin’ wrong.” Starting your counter argument, or any statement for that matter, with a “Well” tells the group that has obviously gathered to hear YOU speak that their plebian opinions and ideas are about to fall victim to a scorched earth campaign. You’re about to blow their minds out the back of their skulls and into a garbage bin, and replace their minds with droplets of enlightenment that once resided in your own skull. But no worries. There’s plenty to go around.
My opinion has arrived everyone. It bought a ticket to the party, and luckily, regardless of what time it actually came out, it was right on time. There were a few delays, mainly due to the fact that someone else may have talked first, but this opinion is Steve Martin’s character in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and all of your opinions are John Candy. You guys might have the moral opinion victory, but this is about me.
I’d like to imagine that, if we put on a special type of glasses during these conversations, we could see the physical form of the opinion leaving my body and entering the battlefield. And if it’s like most emissions that leave my body, it’s probably shaped like a pert, the lovechild of a pee and a fart.
This is the most important part, because it’s from me. Don’t get mistaken about who’s delivering the presents this Opinion Christmas. Daniel Claus has arrived, and you’ll wake up the next morning thankful. I graciously accept your milk and cookies.
The last part might have been the most important, but “thing” is the most telling. Not “opinion.” Not “idea.” “Thing.” And this goes back to what I said about me not necessarily needing to spout off about any inkling of subject matter that crawls into my skull palace. This thing is a shapeless mass, a blob of half formed concepts that wheezes into existence and practically begs for death as I try (often in vain) to put some structure into it, to shove a spine into its back before my friends get bored or decide that they need to go to the bathroom, or get another drink. I need to get this “thing” out there before it dies on the tip of my tongue, and I have to swallow it and think about all the cool ways I would’ve said the “thing” in the shower the next day.
That word needs to be there, for the sentence to make any sense. I’m not an idiot. Also, run.
Run, if you hear this leave my face. Open a window and fall out. Leap from the speeding car. Because, well, here’s my thing about me.
I’m awful sometimes.