A friend once said to me that everyone we meet in life teaches us a lesson, and whether it’s painless or painful, it’s important. They stole that from someone else, I’m sure, but it does seem to hold water. You can learn a lot, good and bad, from those you choose to spend your time with. Unfortunately, there are certain types of people you can never seem to escape from, and the lessons they offer are generally in patience or the silent planning of murder. I won’t tell you to avoid these people, because you can’t. I will say prepare. Prepare for them, for they are legion.
#4. The Indignant Liar
I think nearly everyone lies. Someone could say they don’t, but they may be lying. How would we ever know? Suffice it to say that most people tend to lie. Not big, crazy, “I’m the president and I invented fellatio” lies, but smaller, “Sorry, I can’t help you move this weekend because I already have plans” lies. And I think, as a people, most of us are cool with those little lies. They’re bits of deceptive grace. Allow me to spare you the truth of the fact I can’t stand moving and don’t want to touch your yellowed and decayed mattress by simply claiming I am otherwise engaged.
Look, you “spilled something.” I get it.
Lying works on a scale, of course. The small lies we tell to spare feelings and to expedite situations are mostly harmless and mundane. Somewhere further down the line are lies like “Of course I paid the electricity bill” as you sit in the dark and try to ponder what could have gone wrong. And it’s in this neighborhood, this singles mixer of the untruthful and untrustworthy, that you’ll find the worst liar in the world: the Indignant Liar. For even a liar who claims to have traveled to Mars and impregnated vast numbers of supermodels and pop stars while he was there is not quite as hard to deal with as the liar who says, “I didn’t eat the last cookie,” with a fearsome, defensive rage and accusing glare that translates to “How dare you accuse me of such devilry,” even as chocolaty crumbs tumble from his lying fucking lips.
“Go ahead, call me a liar to my face.”
Yes, the Indignant Liar is the liar who backs his lies up with attitude designed to make you feel like shit for calling out the lie. You’re the fuckstick here, not him. You’re the asshole who dares cast such aspersions, not him. And if he’s really good, he’ll actually make you second-guess yourself. And if he’s really bad, he’ll enrage you because you will have caught him red-handed and still — still! — he’ll indignantly deny the entire debacle and offer the alternate suggestion that maybe you’re stupid.
The Indignant Liar is literally the worst human on Earth. Donald Trump has proven himself to be one of these over and over again, a man caught in lies who never admits wrong, merely offering stupid alternate theories. I never pretended to be my own PR guy! I never accepted support from racists! I don’ t suck souls from the asses of the elderly!
#3. The Skilled Ignoramus
One of the best feelings in the world is when you need a lawyer and your best friend from high school is, in fact, a highly regarded lawyer working at a massive, big-money firm. Fuck yeah, you just scored free legal advice. Or maybe your toilet exploded and your cousin is a plumber. Free shit removal! It’s pretty badass to realize you know a skilled individual when you need one. But this comes with a terrible caveat, a metaphysical golden statue that your inner Indiana Jones must deftly maneuver off of the platform before giant balls hit you in the face. Your skilled friend may, in fact, be a Skilled Ignoramus.
The Skilled Ignoramus knows one thing and only one thing. That’s why you need them or may find yourself dealing with them. You will soon learn that they have traded all the excess real estate in their brain for knowledge of whatever their one area of expertise is. This is dangerous for any number of reasons. First and foremost, they have nothing to share of any interest beyond their one area of expertise, and you can only listen to a roofer talk about roofing for so long before you want to throw him off one. The other issues is that, nine times out of 10, they don’t realize they’re dipshits in pretty much very other arena of life, and that makes them highly dangerous.
File your own taxes. It’s not worth the second-degree burns.
I had an art teacher in high school, and in retrospect she clearly had issues with alcohol abuse, but at the time she was just the drunken idiot art teacher. And she was as dense as fog. She’d try to teach art history but get dates vastly wrong, and names, and even art styles and influences. She tried explaining art in Ancient Egypt once to the class by insisting it had been very much influenced by the Italian Renaissance, which struck me as so abominably stupid I may have audibly snorted and said something along the lines of, “Are you shitting me?” She could freehand draw a circle like some kind of robot circle-drawer, mind you, but dammit if she had no clue about anything else in life.
It did explain our final exam, however. I failed.
The Skilled Ignoramus hates being wrong, and your derisive snorts and claims of being shitted will go over poorly. Remember this. Remember it and, when hunting for a skilled individual, try to find someone who knows at least two things to minimize the chances you’ll end up with someone who passed only this one class in college because they were too drunk to do any others.