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Who Do You Want to Be?
by Richard Wallace
Whatever it is you want to be, don't be a chump. Being a chump has lead me through 30+ odd years of accepting mediocrity and accruing resentment. Being a chump can mean a lot of things, but what I'm referencing today is the old school meaning. There is probably a modern word for what a chump is, but once white suburbanites start using a word or phrase it's already completely played anyway. Like 'old school' and 'played'. So I'll stick with 'chump' to describe someone that does things for others without credit, thanks, payment, or even acknowledgment.
A sucker is not necessarily a chump, but a chump is definitely a sucker. Here's the distinction: A sucker is someone that is ripped off in some kind of exchange because of what they do not know, whether they should have been aware or not; a chump knows better yet allows it to happen anyway. A sucker buys charity candy bars from children without uniforms, a sucker buys an Acura, a sucker follows a low-carb diet. A chump would buy the whole box of candy, a chump would pay sticker for the Acura, a chump would pay out-of-pocket for his health care crisis that arose due to his low-carb diet. Because, of course, a sucker may pay too much for his insurance; but a chump won't turn anything in to his insurance company.
I know what I'm talking about this time, gentle readers; I've been a chump my whole life. That is why I'm taking the time to warn any of you that may be on the precipice of the passive/aggressive chasm that is Chumpdom. When you are a chump, people see you coming from far away. It must be body language, or in your facial expressions; people can somehow sense your chumpitude. You're the one that holds the door open for people and they don't even make eye contact, much less the socially acceptable mumbled "thx". You are the one people borrow things from they never plan to return. You are a self-styled victim before-the-fact. A chump doesn't necessarily always get the worst of a situation, neither is a chump some sort of martyr seeking out disrespect. That's just the way things tend to go when you start out with the cards stacked against you. If you're a chump you're way more likely to go last when your group of friends ends up pulling a train on that Kardashian chick. But it doesn't have to be that way. If you stop accepting the assumptions that are made, you can rise to the level of patsy in no time.
I'm running short of air, so I'll give my best advice to prevent the heathen vultures around you from reaping so many benefits because of your chumpness. (I know, I already said I am a chump, who wants advice from a chump on how not to be a chump? That's like people taking weight loss advice from Dr. Phil. Just go with it, pretend it all makes sense.) The single greatest threat to our peace of mind, my fellow chumps, is the anything-but-sly, hint-request. For example, I have a friend we will call Isabel. She has roommates in the immense house that they rent and the roommates have small children. One evening not long after she got home from work, the male roommate Greasy was sitting there with the children, watching television or whatever it is he does. She asked wasn't he supposed to be on his way to work and he said well, he didn't have a babysitter as his Babymomma was at work. Keep in mind that Isabel had watched the children umpteen plus one times before, almost always after offering because of this sort of hint-request. Isabel said oh and went about her own thing. Greasy was fired as this was not his first time laying out of work for no reason, and the talk behind Isabel's back is that it was her fault. She wasn't asked, but it is somehow her fault because she didn't offer? WTF?
The most diabolical part of the hint-request is that by not actually asking for the favor, if anything goes wrong, or if a favor is asked in return; the hint-requester can now act as if they have no obligations because they didn't ask. Complain that they are late getting back when you're baby/house/dog/action figure/plant-sitting? Well, I didn't ask; you offered. Ask a favor of your own, since you have done these previous favors and you assume some sort of friendly symbiotic relationship? Don't throw that in my face, I didn't ask you to do any of that. A very smarmy, ungrateful, fuck-face type attitude, seriously. These are the same kind of people that will hint around about borrowing money on a day-after-forever payment plan. They will tell you that they owe $X for this or that and only have $Y, when what they are being careful to avoid saying is " Can I borrow $Z?"; but they're waiting for you to offer so they don't have to ask. Then, when they take forever to not pay it back they can say that they never asked, as if that somehow absolves them of responsibility and they shouldn't pay it back in a timely manner. Tell them that the next time they should go to the bank and hint around, see how that works out for them.
If you have no chump tendencies, you can do your part to help eradicate this condition in our lifetime by not abusing the chumps in your world. If you are the one that needs help the very least you could and should do is to ask for it honestly and openly. And be appreciative afterward. If you are a chump, or signs lead you to believe you may be in danger of becoming a chump, I have some pamphlets I'd like to leave with you. In closing, here in three simple words is the first of what probably won't be a series of tips on surviving chumpidity: Make Them Ask. Dodging hint-requests will give you a great head-start on the road away from chumposity. Help whomever you want to, but wait for them to open their noise-holes and articulate it.
Richard abuses semicolons, even though he knows better.