What I know about mean people

original-1Sometime back someone had a really bad day. Maybe it was a bank teller who had the unfortunate experience of getting a string of unhappy customers. Perhaps a sales associate at Macy’s worked on Black Friday. Someone had one of the worst days of their lives, went home and designed a simple three word slogan: “MEAN PEOPLE SUCK”. The person who had the bad day made decals and then made a little money selling them to other people who had bad days.

After a time, someone – maybe it was the same person after rethinking the original sentiment – designed a response that read “MEAN PEOPLE NEED TO BE LOVED”. This is true. Everyone deserves to be loved. But that doesn’t make the original statement any less true.

When we consider that mean people suck, we usually think of what the word has come to mean colloquially, that is in the intransitive sense of the word:

suck [suhk] – to be repellant or disgusting as in “Poverty sucks.”

That is true. Mean people are repellant and make me want to leave the room. But, I would argue that mean people suck in the transitive sense of the word as well:

to draw by or as if by suction as in “Plants suck moisture from the earth. The pump sucked water from the basement.”

With each churlish act and insensitive word, mean people suck joy, trust and good will…they suck life.

The tragedy in all of this is not nearly as pronounced for the object of meanness as it is for the purveyor of it.

The mature person will walk away from a toxic situation. While they may have had their life dampened for a moment, distance and time will heal the wound.

The mean person has to live with themselves. Even if they are severely self-deluded they must not only carry the burden of the wounds they inflict upon others, which they will often cover up with arrogance and self-righteousness, but also the scars and pain inflicted upon them that is most often the root of their own anger.

The person who will not deal with the past that causes them to be toxic will continue to take the life out of their environment. They remain content and enjoy living in their own garbage, like Oscar and his trash can. What an awful and sad place to exist.

So, yes, mean people do need to be loved…but they still suck.

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