Grrr! The Thing About People Is...

The thing about people is, whether you like them or not, they are not going to go away.

I know a guy from my acting days who I just know would make you go Grrr! I tolerate him because he's a friend, but therein lies the Grrr, right?

The problem with him is he's just got to act like a total idiot.

He'll sit at home watching programs on television that he knows will play his latest beer commercial — like "The Ultimate Fighter" on Spike that he "just happened to have on" — and he'll do this especially when he's with his visiting-from-out-of-town high school friends or his new girlfriend's out-of-town friends.

And bingo, like clockwork, there it is ... the beer commercial he's in where he acts like a total moron. It never fails. And the guy always acts surprised to see it.

"I can't believe it's on again," he says.

At the part of the commercial where he does something really stupid — like, lick his armpit — he'll gauge the reaction of the room.

If his friends laugh, he'll say, "I improv'd that. That was all me. It just came naturally so I went with it. I can't believe they used it," shaking his head and guffawing like he's done on so many other occasions.

If his new girlfriend's friends look disgusted when he licks his hairy, sweaty armpit, he'll say, "The director told me to do that. I know, gross," and scoff at the ridiculousness of the scene.

Either way, no matter which group of people are watching the spot with him, this particular actor in the beer commercial is an idiot. His new girlfriend should bail on him quick, but she's the type who is impressed with his commercial stardom.

For now.

She'll look back on her early twenties one day and shake her head and scoff. Her husband (not my actor friend) will say, "What are you thinking?" And she'll say, "Oh, nothing. Just something stupid from a long time ago."

The problem is, he's not the first idiot she's dated, and he won't be the last.

How many of us know a guy or a girl who always picks the wrong person to start a relationship with? It never fails. Jenny will start dating the guy she knows has a cocaine problem, "But he said he's going to give it up to be with me, can you believe it?"

Umm, no we can't.

And then there's your good buddy Jim. This time he's found "The One." She's really into him, but he can't figure out why, how, ever since he met her, his Rolex is missing and his favorite Baccarat crystal wine decanter that he got from his grandparents at his college graduation party has vanished from the china closet.

"It's definitely not her, dude," he'll say when you bring up the possibility that the new love of his life just might be responsible.

The problem is, eventually our friends' problems become our problems.

You'll have to go down to the police station with Jenny and Jim and force them to file police reports against their now former paramours, and you'll have to do the consoling when the police get back to them with the rap sheets and the "you're not the first one they did this to" line.

Of course, you knew that it would end badly, and you'll just hope that the next one won't be a criminal, or a compulsive liar, or a drama queen or a serial cheater.

Or, you could simply write off Jenny and Jim and move on with your life.

And then there are those "friends" who are so needy that pretty soon you begin to avoid their calls, and the very thought of them sends your stress level through the ceiling.

You might have aunts and uncles who are like that, too.

You dread seeing them at the family gathering because they're never just happy to see you — but they're sure happy to have the opportunity to be passive aggressive toward you.

"Hi, remember me? Your uncle Tony? I used to have a niece. What happened to her? She's too busy now to call or stop by the house?"

OK then, Uncle Tony. I guess your phone only receives calls, because it's not like you've ever called and invited me over. What-ever.

At work there are those folks who just know what career path you should be on, too. I don't know if the thought of your success scares them, or if they're really just trying to help, but their advice always seems to have you following the exact path they took.

The worst are those work friends who quit their job because they had it so bad at the company you're working for, but soon find out the grass isn't any greener for them across the street. That's when they start calling you saying, "You know, they're screwing you over there. They don't value you. They're screwing you just like they screwed me."

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a switch that you could throw that could simply shut the negative people out of your life?

But the thing about people is, they're never going to go away. You just have to have your own firewall rules. Good luck, and keep Grrring.

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