So after all the Christmas hustle and bustle had subsided, I thought I would make note of something that I noticed my family does a lot of and that a lot of people don’t seem to “get”… SARCASM. In it’s simplest meaning, it is the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
I felt compelled to make a simple post on this topic because I think that a lot of people pick up on my family’s use of sarcasm as a means of being rude, bitter, or seemingly unintelligent. Which is not the case at all. What I find to be even more interesting is that it’s not held to just one side of the family tree. Both my father and mother’s sides of the family express a vast experience of the use of sarcasm. Granted half the time our use of sarcasm on a regular basis is towards each other so we typically are the only ones in on the comments that are made, but sometimes our sarcasm carries over inadvertently and causes those around us to be confused. I say confused because that’s typically the kind of face that I see on someone who is in any case the innocent bystander that is caught in the fray of verbal abuse.
Let me paint a scene where this comes into play …
My father is downstairs cooking something for the Thanksgiving festivities that we were going to consume and Heath, Boy, Pat ,Chris and I were upstairs. We were playing euchre and not paying a bit of attention to what my father was doing in the kitchen, until we smelled something burning. Then one by one we all made a point to say something loud enough so that my father could hear … “hey something’s burning!” Needless to say we didn’t need to say it more than once, and I’m sure my father was well aware that something was indeed burning. Though if we hadn’t told him in the way that we did then we would’ve missed a golden opportunity, and what’s the fun of that?
Another example …
If you’re a good friend of mine or someone who is around me more often than not you might know that I tend to use “big” words when I talk … words that I typically have no idea what they mean at all. I’m not sure when it started but if I had to guess I’d say I started to joke around with it in college. I’d do it almost without thinking just to make whatever I was talking about sound more illustrative and interesting than using normal mundane words. Typically I used whatever “sounded” best in the context that I was talking about. Half the time people never noticed and the conversations would just continue on. Then some of my friends started catching the words I was using and calling me out on it – and it progressed into a sarcastic ritual that continues on today. I love it. It’s a way that I try to keep my wits about me and to be clever in a manner in which it pulls people in and makes sure that they are in fact listening to what you’re saying. It’s not so much about making a sarcastic remark but being sarcastic in nature. Now sometimes people will try and call me out on it, but what’s great is that I have started to use words that would seem out of place but are in fact words that do work within the context of the conversation. I will then reward that individual with a clever sarcastic remark and the circle will be complete.
There are people that tend to abuse sarcasm. These individuals don’t understand when and where it should be applied or how it’s properly used. Then there are those that have no sense of humor about them whatsoever. I feel sorry for those people because in my mind that means that they are too serious all the time. They are the ones that are strictly business all the time and miss out on the little nuances that life has to offer. They forget to let loose every so often and to have fun with friends, co-workers, or family. If I had to guess, those people, the “serious ones”, are the ones that don’t understand sarcasm or fall prey to it more than the rest.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that more often than not, sarcasm is used all in fun and is rarely ever intended to hurt anyone’s feelings. If I or anyone from my family have in fact hurt anyone’s feelings through the use of sarcasm, then on behalf of all of us … Get over it!