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This is a question Tactless

As grandmasterfluffles puts it, "My ex once told me, "That's the best sex I've ever had... Well, apart from with my cousin..."
What's the most tactless thing you've heard? And was it you saying it?

(, Thu 3 Nov 2011, 22:40)
Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

He just didn't have the stomach for it...
I have advanced foot-in-mouth syndrome. I predict a few posts this week...

DaddyRakky was diagnosed with bowel cancer when I was 11. Due to a combination of excellent medical care and shear Northern bloody-mindedness on his part, he managed to last another four years before it finally became too much for him. He dealt with it in his own way, by refusing to discuss it or acknowledge it, and carry on as if nothing were happening. He also asked that we not tell people, beyond the immediate family and friends who needed to know as he didn’t want pity. It’s maybe not ideal, but it was his choice and we respected it.
Towards the end, he had increasingly frequent operations to remove parts of his bowel, and decide whether removal of the liver metastases was appropriate.

Mum and I were sat with a family friend, one of the few who he would tolerate in his weakened state, waiting for him to come out of yet another surgery. Mum was understandably upset, and was sniffling into a tissue; she spoke to her friend, “He’s an awkward sod you know, but I’ll tell you one thing. He’s got guts...”

“Not any more he doesn’t,” I piped up.

Fortunately Mum saw the funny side and still now, when reminiscing about Dad, brings this story up.

And it still makes us laugh till we cry.
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 9:07, 8 replies)
My First Pea
How wonderfully FisherPrice.

*wavy lines*

So I'm sixteen years old. The girlfriend has come around to my place for the day, the folks and the sister are out, and the afternoon is ripe for lovin' -- or at least, kissin' and some awkward groping, which is the best a fairly shy guy such as myself could have expected.

But something is wrong. From the moment the ladyfriend walked in the door, she seemed a little nervous, a little distracted -- basically, the complete opposite of her usual self. After I realised something was up (it took about an hour or so... I'm really that observant), I asked her what was the matter. She refused to tell me. We played that game for a while (What'swrongnothingreallyyesyousureyesoh, the one I would soon come to recognise as an old favourite), but I eventually manage to get it out of her. In a quiet, delicate voice, quite unlike anything I've ever heard her say before, she comes out with:

'I've... you know... *shaved*.'

For some reason, my mind doesn't quite realise what's going on, so I respond with, 'Wow... Well, I have to say, it looks a lot better. I didn't want to mention anything, but I'd definitely noticed a little bit of fuzz there.'

All the while, I'm gesturing to her top lip. The lip that, in fact, was not one of the ones she was referring to.

There was to be no more fumbling that day. It took three hours for me to get her to even speak to me.

Length? Not insubstantial, but firmly out of sight that day. I was lucky she didn't rip it off.
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 6:03, 3 replies)
Happy Fucking Birthday, Widow.
I hate buying birthday cards, I hate the crappy designs, the inflated prices for a bit of folded paper and the 'joke's or, worse, the second hand sentiments from the Hallmark Sweatshop of Platitudes. I don't get many cards myself, largely because I rarely send them, and that's fine by me. But a few years ago, I'd made friends with a female colleague, i'd known her about 10 months and she invited me to the pub with her and her mother for her mother's birthday. I liked her Mum, so was happy to say yes. I nipped out in my lunchtime to get a card. It didn't take me long to get fed up looking at the rows and rows of innappropriate sex and fart jokes or too sentimental for 'the mother of a friend' cards. I finally saw one that had a 'as vaguely amusing as these things get' joke, paid and headed out of the shop.

Later, we're in the pub and I pull the card out of my bag and hand it to the birthday woman with a smile and a 'Have a lovely birthday' and as I do so, I start to get a sinking feeling as I realise the card I have just handed to this woman, this lonely, 3 months a widow after losing her huband to cancer woman. This woman who is having the first birthday she has had since the tragic loss of the man she had spent 30 years with...this card I have just handed to her has on the front a black and white picture of three women sitting round a table clearly animatedly talking, and one man, laying with his head on his arms on the table. Underneath the image are the words

'The women had been talking for so long they hadn't noticed Jean's Husband had passed away three hours ago'.

Happy Fucking Birthday indeed.
(, Wed 9 Nov 2011, 9:01, 30 replies)
unhappy meal
a few days after my 21st, i ran into one of my best friends, who'd been invited to the party but hadn't shown up.
"why couldn't you make it to the party?" i asked.
red-eyed, she explained to me that she'd gone to visit her father that day and found him in the kitchen, dead.
"oh my god, that's terrible! i'm so sorry! if you don't mind me asking, how did he die?"
"he got a meal from the chippy on the way home from the pub and choked to death on a sausage."
i sincerely hope that my bursting into laughter was purely a reflexive response.
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 9:01, 12 replies)
My mum's a hoarder.
Not to the extent of keeping newspapers and bottling her piss or anything, she just hates to throw out anything she can remember paying good money for, or can imagine a future need for.

Anyway, last year she wound up in intensive care after developing a twisted bowel and succumbing to sepsis after the op.
After a couple of weeks spent watching her move up and down the grim reapers to-do list, she thankfully pulled around.

The day she was moved onto a normal ward for recovery, we were chatting about how we could help her manage once she got home and of course that would involve clearing out some of the junk from her house. My uncle kindly piped up with "Well, if you'd died we were going to chuck it all in a fucking skip anyway."
(, Mon 7 Nov 2011, 18:15, 5 replies)
On Large People
Guntfuggle reminds me of a startling but great display of tactlessness on the part of my little brother.

Let's see now, I would have been about 12, and my brother about 8. Our father at the time was a railway modeller and was exhibiting his models at a deeply beardy show in Telford, so my mother took us to Ironbridge, home of the world's first iron bridge, some pig iron works and an excellent 'working village' museum. It used to be highly recommended, but I went back a few years ago and it was looking scruffier than I remember, so take your own chances.

Anyway, back in the day, this was a really quality day out. We watched iron being smelted, walked across the famous bridge, spent an entertaining couple of hours in the company of hard-up actors pretending to be Victorian pharmacists and schoolteachers, and wandered around the museum, with its colourful tales of the life of miners and other local notables.

And then we went to the pub. It was thankfully family-friendly and served a mean fishfinger 'n' chips. We were just mopping up the last of the ketchup, when someone across the pub caught my brother's eye:

"Mum! Mum! Look! It's that REALLY FAT MAN we saw at the museum today"

This was delivered in a shrill and Coca-cola-fuelled voice in what was a reasonably quiet pub, full of murmuring gents and quiet romantic couples.

I may have only been twelve, but I still remember with glee what happened next. The first thing was complete, immutable silence as every single conversation simultaneously stopped. Next, even better, was a sort of congenital head-tilting as every man and woman around the bar tried to simultaneously locate the tactless pre-pubescent and - more importantly - the comically large man to whom he was referring, without appearing at all obvious or rude. There must have been a good 15 seconds of neck-craning, subtle gesturing and covert finger-pointing, and all the while every man in the pub weighing over 16 stone tried to suck in their guts and adopt a posture of nonchalant surprise.

We left the pub rather hurriedly. It turned out my brother was referring to a picture of the notorious 'John Bull' - a 35-stone metalworker who had lived some 150 years earlier and we had indeed seen portrayed in the museum. But never has a pub been left more full of mutual suspicion than that day.
(, Mon 7 Nov 2011, 8:42, 4 replies)
It was Halloween in 1998
and I was sitting on some stairs. They were in the student union of my second university. It was my first year, so I had been there about a month. There were two notable things about me that night. Firstly, I was rather fetchingly dressed as Satan, secondly, I was completely wasted.

A girl walked up to me. She assured me in no uncertain terms that I was a bastard. I asked what I had done, and if she liked my red flashing plastic devil horns. It was what you said to Abbi earlier, she said, and by the way your devil horns are rubbish. That's not nice, I replied, I like these horns, and anyway, who's Abbi? Don't pretend you don't remember, she said. Read the last paragraph, I replied. It clearly states that I am both dressed as Satan and wasted. Do you like my red plastic flashing devil horns?. That's Abbi over there, she said, and your horns are still rubbish.

I strained my eyes through the gloom. It was dark and my view was obscured in part by a few dozen people dancing badly to Steps.

She's the one with the bright red hair, she said. I bet she's got a great personality, I replied, by which I mean that I find her physically unattractive. You made her cry, she said, you are a bastard. I shrugged. I can't remember, because I'm wasted. Tell me what I did, though, I might want to post it on the internet one day.

What follows now is a reconstruction based on some very vague memories, what I was told, and some educated guessing.

Abbi walked up to me. Hi, she said. Hi, I replied, Do I know you?
I'm Abbi she said. I'm cs1ca, I replied. We looked at each other awkwardly.

I like you, she said, I've been staring longingly at you for weeks.
Great, I replied, I hadn't even noticed you existed.
I've wanted to talk to you for ages, she said, but have only now summoned the courage.
Do you like my plastic flashing red devil horns?
Not really.
Like I said, I really like you.
That's, er, nice.
So, er..
Look over there, behind you, where I'm pointing.

She looked over her shoulder, but saw nothing.
She turned back around. I was physically running across the room.
(, Sun 6 Nov 2011, 0:11, 8 replies)
Just asked an American friend
if she'll be having a minute's silence today for the victims of 9/11. She wasn't impressed.
(, Wed 9 Nov 2011, 10:29, 8 replies)
My "friend" on Facebook put:
"The guy that killed Michael Jackson just got a guilty verdict .... However you cannot replace what has been taken... R.I.P MJ forever"

My response?

"There's always Gary Glitter"
(, Mon 7 Nov 2011, 23:10, 2 replies)
At my brother's wedding, greeting line after the ceremony...
Mother of former running buddy (said buddy had since become quite a bit of a cunt): "My, but you've put on a lot of weight!"

Me (smiling): "Why, thank you for noticing! And might I say how very old you're looking nowadays."

Her, stunned silence. Her husband, gazing at floor. My Aunt and Uncle, laughing uproariously.

Damn, it felt good.
(, Tue 8 Nov 2011, 14:54, 2 replies)
Several years ago a friend attempted suicide after a messy and violent relationship breakup by downing a cocktail of various painkillers washed down with bacardi.
Then had a change of heart, dialled 999 and was rescued in nick of time.
Cue many months of shock, sympathy and diplomatic responses from her friends and family.
Time passes, counselling sessions come to an end and a year or so later no-one feels the need to tiptoe around the subject anymore, life resumes its normal pace, she is now happy in a new relationship ( who incidentally she met in a group counselling session)
Last summer a group of us got together for a BBQ
A hour or so in she mentioned she was suffering a bit of a headache and asked the host if they had any aspirin or anything.
Richard ( for that was his name) came back with a handful of blister packs and uttered the immortal line.
'Ive got aspirin, codeine, ibuprofen and paracetamol, knock yourself out'
Several seconds of stunned silence which was then broken by her crying with laughter while Richard blustered and apologised profusely.

she and her new fella are getting married next year and Richard is to be the best man :)
I'm looking forward to his speech ;)
(, Tue 8 Nov 2011, 1:05, 3 replies)
Pregnant Sister in Law
A couple of years ago my sister in law was very pregnant, and very overdue. It was Christmas and the whole family was around watching each other open their presents. My family are a bit posh and her family are even more silver spooned:

I nicely boxed it up, but my present to her was this:


Thought it would help :)
(, Mon 7 Nov 2011, 14:13, 3 replies)
Oops :(
I made a pic for b3ta one early morning in the office ages ago and emailed it to the team for a laugh.

I got a reply from one guy on the team who wasn't best amused...."Can you not send me that please, my brother has Downs"
"Bet you got crayons everywhere" was not the reply I should have sent.
Just as well he knew my sense of humour, oh how I'd laugh in the Dole queue...
(, Sun 6 Nov 2011, 14:51, 8 replies)
a couple of days after i moved jobs, my mother died. she was v young and it was v unexpected.
everyone at my new firm was amazing, so kind and supportive. after a few months, things had settled back down at home, and i was spending weekends back in london. i got on particularly well with one of my new colleagues, caroline. now she was (and is!) a really lovely girl, but like most people who have not been through anything of the sort, she firmly believes that you should "talk about it" and "try to deal with it" - best of intentions, but utter failure to realise that both these things are the last things you want to do.

so one very drunken evening, we've fallen out of the taxi and made it up to the sofa. we are stuffing pizzas down our throats and she is trying to get me to talk about it. eventually she put her hand on my knee, her eyes shimmering with sympathetic drunken tears, and said:

"you can tell me all about it. i do know how you feel, you know. i mean, i was absolutely devastated when i lost my cat."

for a moment i was too stunned to say anything. then i fell off the sofa laughing. the thought was so genuine, but the execution so bloody crass. she was mortified when i reminded her the next day. she hates it when i tell that story, and now i've just told you lot. ah well.
(, Sat 5 Nov 2011, 18:02, 1 reply)

i was eating a holiday meal with my extended family, and my cousin told me i had some pudding on my chin. i wiped under my lips, and she said, "no, your other chin".
(, Sat 5 Nov 2011, 20:42, Reply)

When I was about 7, the headmaster called us all to assembly and gently told us that one of our schoolmates had been run over and killed. Then he lectured us on the dangers of roads and to always use a crossing and follow the Green Cross Code. At the end he asked if there were any questions. A voice piped up from the back:

"Can I have his bike then?"

(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 3:45, 19 replies)
School reunion
Not an official one, but a 20 year meeting in a pub for an all day session. Partners were welcome (never a good idea).

So old mate Steve and his wife were there as was the girl who, in the 6th form was already the 'fittest bird in the school' and the years had been more than kind. She was a stunner.

Anyway, Steve always had a thing for her and as the night went on was being louder and louder with his comments 'do you remember when she wore that skirt to the disco??' etc.

Finally his wife turned round and shouted ' if you fancy her that much, why don't you just fuck off and have her instead?'

To which Steve: 'Don't worry love, you are perfectly safe.... she was always out of my league'

Debate remains to this day if he was taking the piss but it remains the quote of the year.
(, Thu 10 Nov 2011, 8:45, 2 replies)
The epitome of tactlessness...
...would be attributed to the friend who bought me a DVD copy of Logan's Run for my thirtieth birthday a while back.

(, Wed 9 Nov 2011, 11:26, 18 replies)
All you /talk regulars are complete cunts

(, Sun 6 Nov 2011, 8:33, 80 replies)
Deliberate Tactlessnessness
So. Some people have a 'mad' mate. As in "Oooh, you should meet my mate. He's MAD, he is! Totally random!" Ok, yes, well done.
My friend Rob, however, is properly certifiably mental, properly unhinged, as well as being a true eccentric (with all the trimming's, including being a border-line alcoholic.

So, he's out one night - fairly blattered on whatever he's been drinking (cider) and whatever massive drugs he was on that night (acid) and he stumbles across this woman rolling around, off her face, in the gutter.
(She's probably in her late 30s / early 40s. I met her once, she tried chatting me up in a nightclub, but that was years before this happened.)

That aside, this quite large woman is thrashing around in a quagmire of her own debaucherous lack of motor control, clearly not having a very good time of her inebriated predicament.
'Poor little sausage,' Rob thinks, 'best she come home with me where I can look after her', and, after asking if she's OK, helps her (not inconsiderable bulk) up, and along to his flat.

So, after a fair struggle along the road with a fairly hefty dead weight, they eventually get back to his flat, where, once she's sat down, starts getting very animated.

"Bleurgh," says Rob, "well, you seem to have woken up, and I'm knackered after dragging you back - fancy a drink?"
"Oooh yes," says this woman - and gets stuck in to the black absinthe like there's no tomorrow, drinking it like water.
Downing it to such an extent, that Rob has to take the bottle away from her, as she's chugging it down like it's the last day of her life.

After several glugs, all that lovely absinthe takes it's toll, and gets her feeling sleepy. She passes out on the sofa, and Rob, happy in the knowledge that this woman isn't going to pass out in the streets open to the elements and 'late night' humanity, goes to bed after a few more ciders . . .

. . .and wakes up in the morning with an obvious hangover, unlike the woman in question, who is lying dead on his sofa.

As you can probably imagine, Rob is slightly upset by this turn of events.

He's pretty hungover and on a mild acid comedown.
All things considered, not really the best way to start the day, when all he wanted was a croissant on the veranda.

Well, he goes through the standard panic / denial / bargaining / realisation chain of consciousness, and calls the police, who arrest him - and take away his clothes (including his only pair of shoes).
Rob calls me and some other friends up the next day - gets us all round to the pub and tells us all what's happened. As you can guess, we're all slightly amazed and shocked.
As you would be.
But not as shocked and obviously upset as Rob is.
As you would be.
And as I said, Rob's quite unhinged anyway, and he was taking this very badly.
So we did the only think we could to get him out of it and cheer him up.

We took the piss.

Totally and relentlessly.

We ripped the shit out of the situation so much, he had no choice but to see the funny side.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

Rob: "Fancy another pint?"
Me: "Yeah sure. But then again I didn't wake up to a corpse on my sofa"

Me: "You ok mate? You look like you feel a little stiff. But hopefully not a great big fat one, you dirty necrophillic cunt!"

Getting back to his flat later in the afternoon, I made a cocktail using orange juice, and the black absinthe in question.
As it was poured in after the ice had been added, the absinthe stayed on top of the orange, making a black layered 'lid' on the orange body.
Rob: "This drink looks great! It needs to be christened!"
Me: "Lets call it: The Floating Sofa Corpse!"

Going into the living room, round his: "I'm not going to sit in any corpse juice, am I?"

And my personal favourite:
Dave (walking through town with us, shouting at passersby, pointing at Rob): "Whatever happens, don't ever accept an invite back to this guy's house! He'll fucking kill ya!"

Thing is, it worked.

All this piss taking snapped him out of it.

I may not be a psychologist, but I'm damn good at taking the piss and being a sarcastic wanker though. And isn't that what mates are for?
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 18:06, 8 replies)
My boss is pretty laid back.
She's one of those who has a laugh and a joke and a round of FIFA 12 if the chance presents itself. She's even been known to rock out with her cockerel out on Guitar Hero.
Because she's so... well, normal... I decided to tell her a joke.
"What did the Scottish epileptic get for Christmas?"
She doesn't look up from her monitor. "My dad's epileptic."
Shit thinks I. How can I save this?
"Is he? I didn't know that."
"Yeah, it's quite serious. He's nearly died a couple of times. I found him once, he'd stopped breathing. Had to call an ambulance."
"Really? I'm sorry, that sounds horrible."
"Yeah, he's getting worse too. The meds don't seem to be as effective as they used to be."
I look at the floor. I frown. I look up. I stop frowning and raise my eyebrows. I frown and look at the floor again.
"My mum's dealing with it as best she can but she's convinced she'll come home one day and find him dead on the floor. We don't really talk about it."
I stop looking at the floor and try to arrange my face into an expression of absent-minded innocence.


"It was a Wii Fit, by the way."
(, Wed 9 Nov 2011, 17:18, 4 replies)
squawk squawk squawk SQUAWK.
squawk squawk squawk, squawk squawk squawk.
squawk SQUAWK SQUAWK squawk squawk.
squawk Honda Accord Honda Accord squawk.
squawk karake kick karate kick squawk.
squawk SQUAWK!
squawk shagged a supermodel shagged a supermodel squawk.

(, Tue 8 Nov 2011, 16:48, 16 replies)
Hahahaha, I have no tact whatsoever.
My best friend and his girlfriend recently had a baby. It was the first time we'd seen her and he'd brought her over to my mum's place so much cooing and making faces at the little one was taking place. I don't really like babies much, so I'm sitting in the corner being grumpy. Mate's girlfriend turns to me and asks me if I want to hold her, and before I can really stop it the first thing to come out of my mouth - in front of the doting parents, my mum, sister and girlfriend - is "Can't I wait until she's 18 and then hold her?"
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 10:06, 8 replies)
Medical genius.
When I was a fresher, and for a time during my second year, one of the people with whom I lived had a remarkable knack for saying phenomenally stupid things. I'll call her J here.

The grandmother of another of my co-habitees was about to be admitted into hospital to have some extremity removed: a heavy smoker, her circulation had given up the ghost, and various bits had become necrotic. This was apparently not the first time it had happened; the grandmother had already lost a couple of toes to gangrene. This time it was - oh, for the sake of the story, let's say that it was to be the remainder of a foot that was to be removed. And yet grandmama kept on smoking; and the prospect was that the doctors would have to keep lopping bits away.

J digested this information for a moment, and had a brainwave.
"They should cut her hands off next time instead. That'll stop her."
(, Thu 3 Nov 2011, 22:49, 1 reply)
OK, I'm crowbarring this one in, cos I just bashed it out as a reply on /links at gone 1am and it was too much work to just see vanish...
Besides, I like making ProfKM chuckle. And there are two or three examples of tactlessness in this tale...

I was living in the shittiest room of a six-"person" house as a student.

We got an early-morning visit from the telly licensing cunt.
My bedroom door was locked, and the fucker woke me by banging on it at about 8am. I ignored it.
I could tell what was going on, cos a housemate (helpful!) shouted who it was, thereby giving the tosser the conviction that I was indeed in the room.
So he carried on banging the door. For several hours. Astonishingly persistent.
Eventually, some time after 11am, I realised this might be a day-long war of attrition, and it was a horrible room I hated spending any time in. And this was at a time when I liked stepping out and having things to do.
I gazed at the knackered, 12-inch black and white portable telly that only picked up two channels, with its screen covered with red wax dribbles from ill-positioned candles, and thought: "Sod this".
I got dressed, picked up the small hammer from my crappy tool bag, and unlocked the door.
"You're very rude," I said to the weaselly prick who was standing there. "What do you want?" I probably looked as pissed-off as I was feeling.
"Have you got a license for that television?"
I turned and put the hammer through the screen. Been wanting to do it for years, and finally had the excuse. Disappointing lack of spectacular sparks, but hey ho.
I turned back to him, hammer in hand, glaring. "What television?"

He left. Swiftly.
(, Tue 8 Nov 2011, 1:41, 8 replies)
Whilst talking about how badly I coped with the idea of being a father....
....with my friend Kay, I came out with the line of "Well what was I going to do, kill someone because I thought I wasn't ready to become a dad?", totally forgetting I'd driven her to the clinic 5 years ago to have an abortion. Not the best moment.
(, Sat 5 Nov 2011, 17:44, 2 replies)
Bottom of the 9th
For all the fluffeh kitteh lovers... bear with me.

After her only-child son had 'flown the nest' my mums friend obtained a cat to lavish her attention and immense affections upon. A couple of years after that I called to mums one day and found her friend obviously brokenhearted with makeup streaked down her cheeks.

Through a filter of sobs and tears I was told that her beloved companion had (amazingly) somehow managed to get its collar caught on a hanging-basket bracket (which it apparently liked to use as a perch of sorts) and she'd found it hanging, lifeless when she'd gone out to the garden.

With caring sympathy, I gently enquired;
Awww. Do you think he was depressed?

That kind and caring woman who's known me since I was about 5 still looks at me with a deserved hint of "You cunt".
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 13:30, 1 reply)
Jailbird who will hunt me down...
When I was a young trainee solicitor I was sent up to the High Court in Edinburgh to look after a young guy. He was appealing against the length of the sentence given to him : 5 years for breaking into an old lady's house and holding her hostage (of sort) with an airgun before nicking some cash and doing a bunk. Now if someone did that to my gran I'd happily kill him but when I met this guy he was a miserable shambles. He was 19, had had an incredibly shitty life to date and was clearly not quite intellectually all there. Frankly it was clear that what the guy needed was not The Jail but someone to give him a job and a bit of guidance in life.

Anyway, the Scottish Judiciary upheld his sentence and I had to accompany him down to the cells. His mum and aunties were all down there and the place was a river of tears. The court officers huckled them away and their hands were outstretched and they were crying "son, son...". He was sobbing, gutterally, in an extremely undignified way. It was quite moving and upsetting.

Anyway that was that - the guy was in tears and he was being taken back down to the court cells pending transport to Saughton Prison so I offered all the counsel and advice that my weeks of experience in the criminal court system had given me. Which was

"I'll see you in about 5 years then."
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 9:55, 4 replies)
My ex's cousin had surgery to remove part of her bowel
An insane surgeon persuaded her that the best way to combat an very bad eating disorder was to staple her stomach, fucking butcher. It went wrong and part of her intestine/stomach was starved of blood and basically died inside her and it had to be removed before it killed her. I went to see her at hospital post op. I got back from the hospital and my ex said, pale with worry, "How is she? how's she feeling?"

"Gutted" I said.

There was silence as my body heaved with suppressed mirth
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 8:16, 1 reply)
I was taking International Relations at university
because I had to have at least one political science elective. The class met on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9am, which meant that I had to bring my coffee into the class with me and finish waking up during the lecture. As a rule I sat in the center of the front row- it was easier to get a seat, and I never had a problem reading the notes he put up on the board.

One day he started teaching us the theories of Karl Marx. It was a rather broad overview, of course, but he explained Marx's theory that if society worked together cooperatively, everyone would only need to work a few hours a week, leaving most of their time for higher pursuits such as music, literature and art.

I listened to this for about five minutes, coffee in hand, blearily glaring at the board, and growled, "What a crock of bullshit."

There was a collective gasp from the auditorium as the professor stopped in his tracks and turned to me. "Why do you say it's bullshit?"

I took a hit of coffee and said, "Marx apparently didn't understand human nature. Humans are basically lazy and greedy. Communism won't work for the long term."

The professor looked astonished. "Why do you say that?"

"Look, if humans weren't inherently lazy we would still be hunter gatherers. Why did agriculture come to be? Because Thog got tired of chasing antelopes and bashing them on the head with a stick for food. He didn't want to wander around the woods looking for berries, he wanted them right outside his house. Why do we have technology? Because we don't like having to spend our efforts in basic sustenance. You drive a car to work because it's easier than riding a horse or walking. We have grocery stores because we don't want to kill animals and skin them every morning.

"Humans are also greedy. We want the most we can get for the least amount of effort. That's part of why we have police, to keep the stronger guys from beating the shit out of the smaller guys and taking their stuff, right?

"So if the government is feeding you, clothing you and giving you a place to live, what motivation do you have for not just staying drunk and sitting around your house wanking? Altruism, that if you don't work the society will collapse? Not likely. Some will work harder to keep the system going, but others will slack off. The way the Russians countered that was with secret police and brutality, but even that didn't work very well.

"Marx is full of shit."

The professor listened to me all the way through, looking increasingly amused, while the rest of the class was frozen in terror. We then spent about ten minutes or so arguing it back and forth before we agreed to continue the discussion after class, and he finished the lecture.

I got an A in the course, and we were pretty good friends for the rest of the year. Tactless though I was, at least I contributed to his class...
(, Fri 4 Nov 2011, 2:12, 15 replies)

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