How To Deal With Petty Enemies
After twenty plus years as an investigator, and over thirty in finance, I should have learned how to deal with petty enemies. I have learned, but I frequently forget.
One should judge a man not by his friends, but by the quality of his enemies and critics. Thus, why have petty enemies if you can work them into a lather, representing something of significance – a position they cannot attain without your skilled assistance?
When I say petty, I’m referring to those unfortunate souls whose station in life’s lottery relegates them to occupying and buttressing the left side of the distribution curve. We all know people who populate that territory; we simply find it impolite to discuss it. Of course, we can’t ignore them when they choose to display tantrums every time our name is mentioned in a context that casts a positive image. Conversely, our indictment or obituary will bring these petty souls joy. So here’s the first tip — avoid arrest or death. Especially avoid a meaningless death, like running with the bulls at a faux festival in Arizona (dying while running with the bulls in Pamplona is cool – and such an epitaph would really piss them off. Dying running from the enfeebled veal in Arizona – way lame. Really.)
Enjoy your petty enemies — enjoy them as you would a new erector set you can re-task at will. Like wine, a deep breath, and other pleasures – you will find that it is equally enjoyable to have out as in. Do not lower yourself to accept contempt from a seemingly worthy enemy — you must rise to the occasion and incite the feeble minded to expose their unworthiness. You have not arrived in this world until you have earned the derision of your own confederacy of dunces.
Petty people can always be counted on to seek out positions of authority. They seek them with the intent to deride, but never to serve. They will, as a group, judge the tastes, opinions, and abilities of others — as they have none themselves. They are experts unto themselves, and responsible to no one but themselves – using any bit of information to torment targets and elevate their delusional self-image.
Petty enemies will dwell on the smallest detail, as they see any potential flaw as sufficient (albeit, not necessary) to advance their cause. They can and will pick through minutia, over and over — for example, how one spells — labor or labour? Is one something one does for party money, or a party that will do anything for money? Wasn’t that fun? There is never a fault too fine for petty people to tag on those whose space they seek to occupy. They must be right, and the enemy must be wrong.
Petty enemies will not give ground to assaults on their position as trivial as evidence or truth – lest their minions abandon them. They rule as the least ugly contestant in the hideous pageant – the tallest Pygmy in the tribe — and as such will go to extraordinary lengths to punish those who challenge their position. Their message cannot be confronted either directly or indirectly — they must be toyed with. Only a long series of rationalizations, restatement of falsehoods, and dismissal of evidence will expose them to the weak minds that have granted them the high ground they came to occupy.
Thus, exercise number one.
If the petty enemy has a high opinion of themselves (and they will) and who believe their way of doing things that is the only right way (and they will), agree with them. But take it one step further. If they have to get into the office at 5:00am, you show up at a quarter of. If they have the best computer, buy the same system with more RAM. Agree with them by doing what they do and thinking what they think — but taking it to the next level. By doing this you cause a schism to develop within the weak-minded communities they rule. You are supplanting the ruler! The typical response is to try and discredit you though any means possible, and in so doing, further exposing their motives.
Since manners are made up of small sacrifices, and petty enemies cannot make a sacrifice or compromise on any point, the outcome is clear. Petty enemies have appalling manners.
Thus, exercise number two.
At any gathering where the local grapevine is properly represented, ask questions of your petty enemy. If they are late, ask them if they are all right – make a sincere inquiry into their health. When they are through the buffet line, ask them about every item they didn’t choose — “Is there something wrong with the food?” Observers will see this as a genuine inquiry, but the petty enemy will see you trying to make them wrong. They will give no ground, and be ill-mannered.
Petty people do petty things. They pick on people, and try to point out minor errors they have done, and blow them into larger things. They are just shallow, weak people, who cannot come up with something of substance, so they focus on petty things. As they dramatize the trivial — they set themselves up.
Thus, exercise number three.
Whatever their issue — 9/11, the Middle East, or Dancing With the Stars — agree with them. Draw out all of their angst, and then say, “Well, that is all true — but thank God that’s all over with now.” Then walk away. Do not engage them. Take a phantom call, step out for a cigar … but do not engage them. For a more aggressive ploy, change the topic to something that matters, for example the Aegis Articles on Internet Investigators or Greek Debt.
If the petty appear to be wrong, what convulsions it causes. But why make them wrong with facts? They will dispute your facts – they will cite chapter and verse to support their opinion, and will no doubt wag their finger in your face.
Thus, exercise number four.
Question any statements they make as nicely as you can.
Petty Enemy: Nolan Ryan was the best pitcher ever!
You: Yes, he was a fine pitcher for his day, but the game has changed, don’t you think?
Petty Enemy: Porsches are the fastest cars in the world.
You: Are you sure about that? (shrug shoulders and walk away).
Petty Enemy: You are a low down #$%^&*(
You: Is that the best you can do?
Never challenge, just question. It is always more effective if you can agree first.
There’s a philosophy of life that states we are either on stage or in the audience. It’s always better to be on stage, and the focus of attention while righting wrongs as opposed to dealing with life’s understudies.