Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Miserable People

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright,

The best way to annoy people that hate the world and everything around them is to be nice to them. They usually go out of their way to wipe the smug smile off a face, especially when that smile is directed towards them. Case in point: when I was about seven years old I was on a New York City sidewalk, playing with my invisible friend, when a slender, old, fellow stopped a few feet away from me. At first I thought he was going to quiz me about my conversation with someone he couldn’t see, but I soon discovered that he stopped because he spotted a kitty under a parked car.

The half bald man with beady eyes that didn’t seem to match the hardened face began to coax the kitty out of from under the car. He exuded a warm smile, revealing missing teeth. I wouldn’t have expected anything amiss if it weren’t for my invisible friend. He said, “Don’t take your eyes off this guy. Watch him.”

At first I was puzzled at why my invisible friend was interested in the nice old man. The pale individual with the large sacks under his eyes squatted and continued to call the kitty with a sweet, warm voice. The little feline inched closer to him, glancing at my invisible friend and me. Nevertheless, it began to trust the old guy as it got closer.

“Aw, Kitty, Kitty, come here baby.” I thought I was witnessing the nicest man alive. Someone who cared for animals, someone I could take after.

My invisible friend said, “Keep watching.”

The kitten gently banged his head against the man’s shins, begging for affection. Affection it obviously missed since it was a stray. I thought how wonderful that the kind senior citizen took time out of his busy life to show a stray some much needed love.

The old guy rose to his feet, continuing to coo the kitty, but without warning, he lifted his right leg and kicked the kitty to the other side of the street amid high pitched squeals. “Damn, rotten cats! I hate them all!"

I didn’t blink. I didn’t move, shocked at what I had just witnessed. The old brute glanced at me and said, “Cats are evil.” He stormed off and left me listening to the kitten’s cries and my invisible friend’s laughter.

Now that I’m an adult, I reflect on the past and realize, I don’t like miserable people. At first I’d fight fire with fire but now I know that all though it could be extremely challenging, it’s best to fight a miserable person with a smoldering smile.

I guess that in a sense, I do get pleasure from other people’s misery only; I particularly enjoy annoying miserable, sour pusses. I recall thinking, the old man needed to learn a lesson and I remember distinctly wishing that I was bigger so I could kick him to the other side of the street. When my invisible friend stopped laughing, his mood changed. He became worried about me and mentioned a word I wouldn’t understand for a few years to come. He said, “Don’t worry about the old man, he’ll get his soon enough. Karma’s a bitch.”

“What’s that?”

“What you do in this world, will get done to you, sooner or later.”


“Come on! Let’s go check on the kitty. Maybe it’s dead and you can open it up and see its body parts.”

“Yuck” I said, “why would I want to do that?”

“Don’t tell me you’re squeamish like a girl?”

As luck would have it, the kitty was fine and hid under another vehicle. I decided to go to the roof of my grandmother’s building with a carton of eggs and hunt for miserable people who obsessed over cleaning their new cars. I waited for hours hoping to get a shot at the old man. I never saw him again but I hoped Karma bitched slapped him to another neighborhood.

Nomar Knight

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