If you don’t want mean-spirited sarcasm directed toward you, don’t be stupid and you’ll be fine.
6. We’re freaking smart.
People who use sarcasm are wicked smart. Really. There are studies. People who use and “get” sarcasm are adept at understanding linguistics — body language, tone, and social cues.
Our brains really have to work harder to interpret all the cues that make, “Good job!” actually mean, “You’re a moron and I don’t know how you manage to dress yourself every day.”
7. We display sarcasm at inappropriate times.
We can’t help it because we don’t have an on/off switch. Sometimes the snarkiness comes out at the wrong times. When I’m nervous, I develop “diarrhea of the mouth,” where the words just pour out in a steady stream with no end in sight. It’s like the filter between my brain and my mouth breaks and I end up blurting out crazy things.
This is especially wonderful on first dates and at crowded meetings while sitting around a table with dozens of scholarly individuals. The date who laughs is the guy who gets a second date. And the one person in the crowded meeting who laughs gets to sit next to me when we break for lunch. (Or, more accurately, is the only one willing to sit by me when we break for lunch.)
“What do you like to do for fun, Dawn.”
“I like to read, go to the beach, and eat people’s livers with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Dumbfounded stare because they’re not sure what to make of that.
8. If we’re really sarcastic with you, we like you.
We’re much more apt to use sarcasm on people we like. We’re like 6-year-old boys who kick sand on and pull the pigtails of, the girls we like. If we didn’t like you, we wouldn’t waste our superior wit on you. It’s our way of showing affection. Just go with it.
9. It’s our automatic default.
“Think of all you could accomplish, Dawn, if you didn’t spend so much time thinking of sarcastic answers.” That’s the thing — we don’t search our brains and try to think of sarcastic comments; sarcasm is our default setting.
The sarcasm is automatically there on the tips of our tongues. We have to stop and think really hard to come up with a non-sarcastic comment. It’s hard to do.
When we manage to pull a sincere comment from our brains, appreciate it because it was not an easy task, and it will probably be a while before you ever hear another one.
10. Sarcasm helps us deal with stupid people.
My cop friend told me that throat-punching people is frowned upon and that most courts won’t allow a “but he was stupid” defense. Sarcasm keeps us out of jail.
A teacher (and I use the term loosely) at my school told me, “My whole class is failing. They just don’t learn.” I responded with, “There must be something wrong with them. Clearly, it isn’t your inability to teach since it’s the whole class that’s failing.”