Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Naughty or Nice?

“He's making a list
And checking it twice.
He's going to find out who's naughty and nice.
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town.”

Looking at the ups and downs of 2011, I keep wondering if I am on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list this Christmas, as it really could go either way.  For example:

Didn’t tell sales associate she undercharged me for dress – naughty
Movie hopped at theater without paying for second film – naughty
Pretended to be wine club member at winery to drink free – naughty
Kept prop used in TV show as a souvenir - naughty
Told waiter it was my birthday to get free dessert - naughty
Volunteered at library – nice

So obviously based on the research, it is hard to tell.  Dang food & beverage temptations get me every time!  I guess later in the week I will find out whether I get coal in my stocking...again.  I kid I kid, Santa would never leave me coal.  I’ve been bribing him for years with my famous gingerbread cheesecake!  Naughty, again I suppose, but you've got to try the cheesecake.  You think Santa got jolly on cookies?  Yeah, right.  Anyway, it got me thinking about what it really means to be “nice,” especially since 2011 is the nicest I’ve been in years because I spent it mostly showing my love for libraries!  Yet here I am without a job and completely broke, while a ton of naughty folks get to keep working jobs they don't even do well (see above examples where I politely kept my mouth shut as not to embarrass them.  So nice of me!)

“Nice” is usually reserved for those people who are likeable.  Pleasant.  Helpful.   They are the people that never seem to say a bad thing about anyone or complain about anything.  They are the folks that smile a lot or tell random people on the street they should smile too.  Then again, maybe those last people are just weirdos.  Anyway, I think these so called "nice" people are also some of our best actors.

Just a few hours ago I was fast asleep, blanket pulled to chin, head resting comfortably on pillow, attending a private Coldplay concert in my dreams, but suddenly jolted awake due to a tap-tap-tap on my arm.  It wasn’t Gwyneth or Madonna but a fellow passenger on the plane asking me if I wanted crackers.  Sure, it was thoughtful of her to be my private stewardess, deeply concerned about my nutritional needs, but I doubt this woman would have been so “nice” had they been giving out diamond necklaces on Southwest Airlines.

Which is exactly my point.  Acting “nice” doesn’t make it true, nor does a "naughty" act make a person bad.  Nice just has a better reputation than naughty does.  A better publicist, perhaps.  

Being called “nice” should be taken like an insult, people!  It is a very non-creative, rather bland and lazy way to define a person, especially when we have such a vast vocabulary to pull from.  I’m nice but regardless of my generosity, love, and kindness, would hardly be described as “nice” because there are so many other colorful words that better describe me, and I don’t just mean the four-letter ones.

In reality, this passenger being “nice” was either a lack of intelligence in not realizing I was sleeping and uninterested in snacks, or a deliberate act with the means to wake me so I wouldn't miss viewing the endless clouds outside my window.  The reason didn't warrant an investigation as I wasn’t about to initiate further conversation out of fear in being trapped into a bored conversation about her love of breeding dogs or coin collecting.  So being the nice person I am, I just said “that’s okay” and pretended not be bothered.  Because the truth is, had I done anything else: told a joke, rolled my eyes, grabbed her crackers and threw them in her face; I would be labeled “naughty” according to the rules of our society, even though I was the one minding my own business!

And this is where us “naughty” people get a bad rap. “Naughty” is defined as being disobedient and mischieveous, however, sometimes we are simply nice people who point out the obvious, offer opinions, or ask questions that not everybody has the answer to.  We are the people that when “nice” people screw up, might point out a solution to correct the problem, or seize an opportunity as a result of the error, which in my opinion, doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us smart!  Sure, sometimes we write jokes or point and laugh at stupid people, but that’s probably only 50% of the time.  And to those “nice” people I’ve met who seem to be looking for approval, acceptance, or conversation on an airplane, read a book!  You might learn something naughty that might bring an even bigger smile to your face.

So the next time you come across a “naughty” person, you better think twice.  Some of us naughty folks are actually pretty nice too.  Unless of course, you wake them when they are sleeping...

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!