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bringing the RQ down

bringing the RQ down

I want you to do something for me.

You know I've been on this rudeness/courtesy tangent. I've been thinking about ways in which to obliterate the rudeness quotient of the world. That's RQ for short. Think of the RQ as our gross international debt, with bad behavior substituted for dollars. And let's just say the debt has skyrocketed.

I had that one day last week where I tried to be nice and pleasant for the whole day, even in the face of rudeness. I think I got it all wrong. I'm trying to make the world feel good. I'm trying to get rid of the black cloud of surliness hanging over our head. So ignoring someone's rudeness isn't going to cut it. Sure, I won't be adding to the RQ, but I won't be doing anything to bring it down, either. See, for every nice, courteous, kind thing you do, another RQ point bites the dust. It's the whole negation thing.

So here's the idea. Do something nice today. I'm not talking about the patented random acts of kindness where you help a little old lady across the street or pay someone's toll. I'm talking about kindness that actually effects your life. Something you have been meaning to do for a while but just never got around to. Maybe something you've talked and talked about doing and for one reason or another left on the back burner.

This is what I want you to do for me. And for yourself. And for the gross international debt of of bad behavior. I want you to call your mother. I want you to say you're sorry to your brother for stealing his record back in the fifth grade. I want you to bring coffee to your co-workers or make your wife breakfast or put a love note in your boyfriend's lunch. I want you to put the housework aside for the night and take the kids to the park instead. I want you to return your neighbor's table saw that you borrowed six months ago. Take your neighbor's garbage cans in from the curb. Tell your parents you love them. Write a thank you note to your best friend for always being there for you. Tell a teacher how much they are appreciated. Return that phone call or email. Forgive your sister. Ask for forgiveness. Buy flowers for someone. Take an employee to lunch. Fix your aunt's squeaky door. Read a funny book to a kid. Read a funny book to your wife. Ask what you can do to help out. Forgive a debt. Just....be nice. If you're always nice, be extra nice, then.

I want you to blog about it. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment here. Send me an email. Tell me what you did or what you are going to do to lower the Rudeness Quotient of the world.

No, I haven't gone nuts. No, the Paxil hasn't made me all rainbows and fuzzy bunnies. I'm just tired of the hate and the war and bickering and the rudeness. I'm tired of road rage and air rage and explosions and death. I'm tired of complaining about the state of the world but not doing anything about it. Yea, this isn't Nobel Peace Prize material. I know. It's not going to make a ripple of a difference in the world at large. But if it makes a difference to me or you or your neighbor or family for just one day, then that's a good start.

Ready? Go forth and be kind.

Comments

What a truly excellent idea by a beautiful and talented writer (nice act #1). You're absolutely right. If R is Rude, and N is nice, the RQ can be reduced by decreasing R (not gonna happen), or by increasing N! Thus:

For R/N, as R->0, R/N->0, but since R is almost constant, as N->infinity, R/N->0. Where f(attitude) = N.

A related quote I heard supports your theory: Expecting the world to be nice to you because you're a nice person, is like expecting a bull not to charge because you're a vegetarian.

great idea. i'll give this a try but call my mom?? do you know what you are asking me to do?? maybe if i take some valium first it won't be so bad. but i can be nice to other people i suppose. hey, maybe you have an idea for a neighbor issue i'm having. i am a single mom and don't have alot of time or money so my yard looks like hell most of the time, but my new neighbors are paying to have my lawn mowed weekly and they won't let me pay! the elderly man has to go through dialysis(sp?) and he can't eat alot of foods. so how would one single mom say thank you repaetedly for this kind act that he has given me? i need an idea and a good one. he is just the sweetest and i want to do something nice for him.

As always Michele you are full of brilliant ideas. I will come up with something and give you a hand bringing down that RQ.

Finally a meme I can sink my teeth into.

Great idea, Michele. I'll let people merge on my drive home. Kat, I don't know what you think about my suggestion, and of course it depends on the weather and the layout of your neighborhood etc but I'm thinking if you'd sunbathe topless in your backyard occasionally your elderly neighbor would be thrilled, depending on the condition of his heart etc.

OK I said I was sorry to my brother for stealing his record back in the fifth grade.

He said he didnít own any records in fifth grade.

;^p

okay, i'm going to call my grandfather, who i vowed never to speak to again because he's a racist a-hole, and his wife is the meanest person alive. i am not exaggerating. they have been mean to our family for years, and about a year ago i decided that they weren't worth the oxygen i wasted on them. i'm sure this sounds pretty harsh, but trust me, they are not nice people. the two of them alone can put a spike in the global RQ just by getting up in the morning.

so i am going to call my grandfather, because he was hit by a car a few weeks ago. even though he only sustained very minor injuries, i should have called to express my concern. and i'm going to try to be nice to him and his hitleresque wife, even though i'm sure they don't deserve it.

my question is, will this really help decrease the RQ? i'd love to figure out a way to motivate them to be nicer, as this might really do some good. if anyone has any suggestions...

Fuck off you cunts.

Well, I'm hoping that you making the first move and calling them will result in them being nicer. And it will increase the RQ because every time someone does something nice, it overpowers someone else's rudeness.

Hey, it's my theory. I can make up the rules as I go along.

I once told my girlfriend's best friend she had a moustache...I am truly sorry for that...I got dumped soon after.

I don't want to post this on my blog, as the party in question reads it, so:
My mother in law is a big fucking spoiled flaky judgemental hippie twit, who surrounds herself with same. She imposes on us, to a shocking degree, because my husband allows it.
She picked her Parisian flaky rich judgemental hippie friend up from the (30mi south of here, and she lives further south) airport last night and showed up uninvited at our house, at 12:30am. On a school night. And drilled me about why I am not yet producing the grandkids. Mentioned a million times how the friend is initiating people into their guru cult in France. And lectured on how high they are spiritually, and gossiped about and judged the spiritual development of assorted guru-worshiping cohorts. Blah.
Well. I did not complain, I did not try to train them in common courtesy or manners, but was mostly calm, accomodating, and led by example. Even when commanded to strip and show off my tattoos, or when derisively compared to the friends daughters, or being asked to explain why I don't have a job or children (and faced with disbelief when I explain about the little phenomenon we call the recession). I took them out for breakfast, walking through our lefty-but-not-flakey neighborhood to get to a place where people have intellectual-but-not-performance-level-loud conversations. And when I accidentally mentioned that the garden we were admiring, on the way home, belonged to radical-but-not-irresponsible Wavy Gravy, and they scampered up the stairs to ring his doorbell til he woke up and came down and they could barge in and demand he make them tea, I gracefully asserted that we like to allow people privacy in their own homes. And when they said they'd drive by on their way out of town and badger him without me to drag them physically off the property, I pointed out that they'd have to leave immediately to pick up the 11yr old daughter from school back home, 230 miles away. And if they did drop in on him, and are late picking her up, I will call CPS. Feh.

I have, out of desperation, verbally bitch-slapped this woman in the past (it is so hard not to, my plan for future avoidance is to never, ever visit their house again), which just leads to ever-whinier spoiled-rotten martyr rants. My main anti-rudeness deed, I guess, was to a) choose my battles, and b)not engage and thus encourage that kind of bullshit.

Good idea.

It's kind of funny, I've been on this little mission to do something nice, or at least convenience someone at my own inconvenience, for the past few weeks. I'm not sure how this works in relation to the RQ theory, but I've noticed, perhaps by coincidence, that since I started this practice, I've been getting totally unrelated kindness back.

Example: last night at work I gave this couple a banana split (something which isn't on the restaurant's menu) and told them it was on me. One of the cooks was bored and made it for an unknown reason and gave it to me. Rather than eating it myself I gave it to them for free. Today, I'm in line at one of the cafeteria's on my school's campus and the woman at the register let me have a bag of chips for free. In two years at that school, never has someone given me anything for free at the cafeteria. I swear, I almost cried!

I think we need to expand this RQ theory in include some measure of feedback.

As for Kat's question, why don't you go to the library and pick up a few of your favorite books (or books on tape if eyesight is a problem) you think he might like to read? I used to do that for my grandmother all the time and she loved it. My mom and I would drop by with a few books and a week later she would have them read and we would sit afterwards and have coffee and talk about them. It was time well spent, and time too many elderly people don't get to spend.

Count me in please.

Your are not the only one.

Watcha neams iut

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