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How To Have Tourette’s Part 10 – You Can’t Please Everybody


If you can hear me, you are The Resistance!  Just click the player below and put your feet up.

Thanks as always.


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  • Tim Smith December 10, 2009, 7:40 am

    First, your blog inspires me. I don’t mean that to puff you up – I don’t think you would take it that way anyway – but to let you know that there are people out here listening, learning, and growing from your words. We may not respond often (I think it’s my 1st time to post anywhere online) but we do hear, we process, and we are better for it.

    Specifically in regards to this posting I would like to say that I believe a lot of things would be better if we were all more ‘civilized’ and used our manners. The book about what we learned in kindergarten will take us through life is cliche but – like most cliches – accurate. Using our manners and treating others with civility isn’t about being a wuss, about turning the other cheek, or about failing to stand up for what what is right. Taking the time to use civility will not make us a weak person to be trambled upon – and it will not make the world sugar sweet and distasteful because of it.

    The use of civility is about taking the TIME to treat others with respect. To treat as we want to be treated (another cliche) and to build up good karma in the world. All of that is the heavenly, feel-good, new age reason. The MAIN reason that we should use civility and manners is that it makes our own personal lives better. It means we don’t stress over the little things. It means we don’t get our blood pressures increased – never a good thing. It means we take a breath and focus on the important things and not get distracted over all the little things that really do NOT affect our lives unless we let them.

    To me, treating others with respect is about ‘doing the right thing’, and about being a ‘good person’ but it is mainly about preserving my own sanity and being in control of as much of my world as I can.

    Thanks again for your blog and for this reminder.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 10:26 am

      Tim, you’re welcome. I like what you say about cliches. They often get dismissed out of hand just because they’ve been bandied about so much. that doesn’t make something less true.

  • John Bardos - JetSetCitizen December 10, 2009, 7:52 am

    Hey Josh,

    Thanks again for another great post (recording). Your blog makes me a better person!

    I think rudeness often comes from ignorance or even impatience. In Japan, many healthy people park in handicapped parking spaces. My first instinct is to make some smart ass comment to them or get angry. (I knew someone that needed this spot at the gym and it was rarely available.)

    One time, I made my usual complaints out loud but then a man on crutches emerged from the car. I felt like an ass. Now I don’t say anything regardless of who parks in those spots. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

    Why was I rude? Maybe I thought I was doing good. I don’t know but sometimes good people just make mistakes and don’t know any better.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 10:25 am

      John, that surprises me. I’m not a world traveler yet. My impression of Japan has been one of almost hyper-politeness and respect. And yes, here’s to mistakes made by good people.

  • Eric | Eden Journal December 10, 2009, 8:04 am

    I am part of the resistance. I’m sitting here thinking of rudeness, and I can’t think of any time when it would be justified. It seems to me that rudeness is a lack of self control and certainly a lack of gratitude.

    I always make a point to say thank you to those that help me during my day. From the fast food worker, the waiter/waitress to the checkout person at the grocery store. When I say “Thank you,” I really mean it. I don’t know if those folks can tell the difference, but it’s important to me that I feel the gratitude and express it with a thank you.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 10:24 am

      Glad to hear it. I wish you patronized my floor at the library:)

  • Coach Rosie December 10, 2009, 8:34 am


    Rudeness comes from many places, upbringing, frustration, tiredness, being inarticulate or not very worldly or bright, anger. I don’t know if it is justified but it can be a useful tool sometimes! You can use it to vent when all else has failed and frankly where would some of us Brits be without our perceived rudeness e.g Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsey Winston Churchill, Basil Fawlty.
    I say ‘perceived’ because it’s all a matter of tolerance level.

    To answer your third question, whilst I think politeness should be used as the default in daily interactions, I still think that the world would be a duller place with 100% saccharine politeness as some forms of rudeness can be amusing, witty and clever. But like everything there are degrees of acceptability. Great post! You have a personal style that makes newbies when they arrive feel like they already know you and should just grab a seat and a cup of tea and pitch in.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 10:24 am

      I do admit to being an American Idol fan, and I certainly wouldn’t be as entertained if Simon wasn’t Simon.

  • Janette H December 10, 2009, 8:43 am

    I worked once with a woman who was trying to teach her young son to use good manners. When he asked her why they were important, after some thought, she said that manners showed that you respected the people around you. That they were important. I would go further to say that you can show a genuine love for humanity by simply being nice.

    We wouldn’t be sissies if everyone was nice. The world would be a much better place. Think about it. How do you feel when someone is nice to you? You feel inclined to spread the love.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 10:23 am

      This coming from the woman who told me I was a sissy last night because I was our bed was too cold…Sorry darling, your credibility is shot.

  • Larissa December 10, 2009, 12:17 pm

    Okay, so this is a bit of a “soap box” topic for me. 🙂 Rudeness and bad behavior in general is usually rooted in selfishness. I can look at all the times I was rude or unkind yesterday and realize that it all stemmed from some need of mine not being met the way that I wanted it to be met. When my children are arguing and fighting, it’s usually because of something each of them wants and are not getting. We through our hands up at people on the freeway because we can’t get in front of them when we want to. The list could go on for days.
    My husband and I are really trying to teach our kids, and practice for ourselves, a biblical reason and example of kindness. Our reason for being kind to people is not just to be a nice person, it’s because we are following the example of Christ. He is the ultimate example of kindness. He put others before himself, even to the point of death. There are tons of verses in the New Testement about putting other people’s needs before your own. And when you do that, and really value those around you in that way, it’s impossible to be rude or unkind. The problem is that it is very easy to forget this and slip into selfishness. I, unfortunately, do it everday. And it’s not to people outside of my home, it’s usually directed at my husband or children. :/ So this is a great reminder for me to continue to work on this for myself and the kids. 🙂 But I seriously hope that you don’t encounter anyone like that again!
    (And my husband said to tell you, you should have stood up and flexed for that guy, or pulled out a nail and bent it. Maybe he would have just run away. 😉 )

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 2:22 pm

      Oh, it won’t be the last time, and it certainly wasn’t the first. But there’s the love-hate relationship with people. You never know what craziness is going to come out of anyone’s mouth, so it’s always on-your-toes time.

  • Monique Rio December 10, 2009, 12:30 pm

    Hiya Josh,

    Really enjoyed this post… so much so that I answered your questions in a post on my blog. I put a link to the post in the website field.

    Here’s the short version of the post: I think people act discourteously as a defense mechanism. When you say something mean to someone else you temporarily get a self-esteem boost, let out your frustration, and make yourself less vulnerable. You also make people dislike you, but in the heat of the moment that’s not what’s going through the discourteous person’s mind.

    Are courteous people doormats? They can be. If you’re nice, but never confront someone when you’re being treated badly, then you’re a doormat. I think it is possible to confront someone with your misgivings while still being courteous, it just takes strength of character and a willingness to show your vulnerability.

    Again, great, thought-provoking post! 🙂

  • Casey Brazeal (North and Clark) December 10, 2009, 1:02 pm

    “I pity the fool be rude to Josh Hanagarne!”

    I am all about manners. I think we have every reason to be courteous to each other, especially customer service people. If you live in a neighborhood and you get your cigarettes at the same 7-11 everyday you better know the name of the guy that works at the 7-11. Whose to big that they can’t know that person’s name?

    But, I do think there is a place to for rudeness. To me rudeness is the last resort for the powerless. If you are in a situation and there is an imbalance of power your means of protest become less and less. So if there is nothing else you can do to assert yourself in a situation, sometimes rudeness can be a kind of civil disobedience. Let me cite an example:

    If someone in this demonstration is arrested by a police officer they do not have very much power in that situation. It is not within their legal writes to resist this arrest, and if they do not have a weapon, there is an asymmetry of force. It would be rude for this person to try and move as slowly as they could into the paddy wagon. It would not be considerate of the time of the officer of the peace, but in some situations where we are powerless to resist or even voice criticism in any more constructive way rudeness can be a last resort.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 2:22 pm

      Ha! I knew that was coming. A couple of months ago I saw Mr. T. on an infomercial for an oven that cooked steaks really fast. Sigh.

  • Heather December 10, 2009, 2:10 pm

    In response to your questions post-blog-post:

    I believe rudeness stems not only from a dark, brutal, id-driven portion of the human brain, but also from smaller frustrations and tensions that some folks have allowed to build round them for an extensive period of time. In light of this, I also believe that good manners, etiquette, and a smile will do more to combat rudeness than responding “in kind” (i. e. going out of your way to be just as rude and obnoxious as the guy who started the rudeness in the first place). Personally, as a rather cheerful and “sunny” person, I have found that, sometimes, simply smiling at someone pisses them off. Rather than let them try to agitate me, I tend to keep smiling and letting my “manners matter” until they either calm down or bugger off. It gets me apologies sometimes. Manners really do matter. Manners will get you better customer service, gain you friends, fun dates, and monetary donations to your charitable organization, and maybe even make somebody’s day. I try to teach my student assistants that manners matter, and that if they are calm and well-mannered to someone who is freaking out over a technical problem or a scheduling snafu, things will suddenly seem a lot less chaotic, hectic, or stressful, because it may be enough to calm somebody down.

    I don’t think the world would be a wimpier place if people were better-mannered. I think customer service would improve, people would have more pleasant interactions with one another, and I would finally be able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant or enjoy a trip to the grocery store a lot more if people were just plain nicer. I always try to be nice to customer service people, including and especially other librarians. Most especially those of the public variety such as yourself. I do this because I have noticed that the general public is filled with obnoxious people, and they are raising their children in the same manner. I think this may just turn out to be the downfall of civilization, and we’ll all be like the characters in that God-awful Mike Judge film, “Idiocracy.” But maybe that’s just me.

    I hope tomorrow goes better for you, man!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 2:21 pm

      I watched Idiocracy about a month ago, and I’m surprised to say I laughed through the whole thing, even though it was terrible. I loved the President.

      • Heather December 10, 2009, 6:15 pm

        The Prez was great! I also greatly enjoyed the headline, “UpGraydd Gets a Double Dose of Incarceration!” I thought “Idiocracy was somewhat funny, but I had also been dealing with freshmen in my lab all week. Not quite as funny when you’ve sort of—uh—“lived” it. Thank God for upperclassmen!

  • Frank Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 3:14 pm

    I remember a line in Lonesome Dove when Captain Call says to a rude fellow…”I cain’t stand rudeness in a man” just before smashing the rude mans face on the bar.
    This is how I usually handle situations like this, but your thoughts have made me feel that its time to change and be less rude to those around me. I will try.

    Thanks Dad

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 3:49 pm

      Dad, Call doesn’t smash the guy’s face into a bar, he smashes it into an anvil, after hitting it with a branding iron several times. One of the greatest scenes ever. You’re tough, but you’re no Captain Call.

      Don’t change. You get a pass for your unique charm and good looks.

  • Kevin December 10, 2009, 4:51 pm

    Hey Josh,

    It’s been a few day’s since I’ve been able to visit. I’m glad I made it here today. I’m thinking about the questions you posed and your reactions to this guy who was obviously rude but also obviously had his own issues too. I think your actions were examplary, I don’t think I could have managed as well. But the question you ask does rudness have a purpose? Yes, I’m not going to pontificate on what the world would be like without it but what an opportunity you had to examplify self control and teach all of us a lesson. So Yes, rudness has a purpose if you can find the opportunity it presents. You did! Thank you!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 4:54 pm

      Kevin, that’s a good take on it, thanks. As for my example being exemplary…maybe so, but it was a rare day of serious self-control. I haven’t always handled it so well, but hopefully I’ll get more consistent. Glad you’re back!

  • Annabel Candy December 10, 2009, 5:06 pm

    There are a few oddballs around. We all have to deal with them from time to time but I suppose because of your TS and your work in a public place that’s supposed to be quiet you come across them more often than most!

    I’m always polite to people who are rude to me and then afterwards fantasize about all the smart rejoinders I could/should have made. But really, it’s not worth buying in to is it?

    Polite request – Is it possible for you to let us know how long the podcast is so we know how much time we need to allocate to it?!

    Thanks partner:)

    • Josh Hanagarne December 10, 2009, 5:13 pm

      Annabel, that never even would have occurred to me. Of course I can, thanks for the suggestion.

  • Helen Hoefele December 10, 2009, 10:35 pm

    I think the world would be a better place if all people were nice to each other. I enjoy being nice to people, but maybe that’s just because I’m too afraid to be mean (mainly because you never know what might come back at you.) Anyway, I’d choose a world without anger and rudeness if I had the choice. Niceness can have quite a range, so I don’t think it would necessarily be a dull world. But that’s just me. (P.S. Hope the ducks learn to play nice soon, too.)

  • Todd December 10, 2009, 11:58 pm

    I think that it comes right down to selfishness. When all we do is think of ourselves, we tend to not think about others. I experience this every time that I’m on the freeway. I’ll be traveling in the left hand lane, doing about 5 mph over the posted limit. It never fails, there will be somebody in the lane doing the limit or under. Rather then moving over to let faster traffic by, they continue on, oblivious… or not, to the fact that they are just being an a**hole. On the golf course, it is proper etiquette to let a faster group play through. On the road, there is no etiquette.
    This is just one example that pops into my head. The bottom line is that if selfishness was not a factor, than perhaps this gentleman would have seen the situation for what it was, instead of acting the way that he did.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 11, 2009, 12:17 pm

      Todd, is that your arm? Not to get sidetracked, but that bicep is all I can see.

  • Dean Dwyer December 12, 2009, 6:51 pm

    Hey JH,

    So the quote was by Gandhi. I have two theories to float your way.

    I once heard a theory that racism was actually an innate response to fear; something that was part of some people’s fight or flight response.

    I wonder if rudeness of this nature would be similar.

    The other theory I have is something I learned when I was teaching. There are learning disabilities that exist that I never could have made up. For instance some people do not have the ability to form a mental picture in their head of something.

    So for example a child with this learning disability is in big trouble when a parent (who is unaware of the disability) asks them to go and clean their room. The child has no idea what the room should look like when it is clean because they are unable to generate the mental image of a clean room (I know this sounds weird but the disability does exist…blew me away when I learned it.)

    A parent might come up an hour later and see nothing has been done and think the child is defying them, when in fact the kid doesn’t know what to do.

    The solution in this case is to help the child clean the room and then take pictures of that clean room and post it where it is visible. The child can then use these pictures the next time their room needs to be cleaned.

    There are others who can’t read body language. So for example, they might be “rude” by continuing to talk even though you have looked at your watch 27 times.

    I think their are others who have no idea that they are rude or that their actions are completely inappropriate. This is not always the case with everyone, but maybe he was unable to read the visual/verbal cues of your situation and so he simply concluded you were intentionally doing something to be annoying.

    Just a thought.


    • Josh Hanagarne December 13, 2009, 10:08 am

      Dean, you could be on to something, who knows? Very interesting ideas there, thank you.

  • Elizabeth December 16, 2009, 12:44 pm


    This is my first posting here but I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and love it. It’s very inspiring to see people overcoming obstacles in their lives.

    I used to work customer service and it was amazing how absolutely rude people could be. There are two instances (though I had MANY more) that stand out to me. First, was a guy who got severely ticked over the fact that a light bulb was in the wrong bin and he wasn’t getting it for the price that was on that bin. He stormed out. My manager noticed a $100 bill on my register – it was his. I ran out after him yelling, “Sir! Sir!” and finally a rather pissed sounding “SIR!!” He whipped around with a “WHAT!” and I calmly held out his money and said, “You’re $100 bill?” He shrank considerably. The second was when I worked the returns desk. I had a customer who was belligerent over his return and nothing I did satisfied him. Finally, we get him taken care of and he leaves. The lady behind him came up, put her hands over mine on the counter and calmly said, “It’s okay. I’m not in any hurry.” I cried. And it’s because of that job that I now try to be more understanding with other customer service people and people in general – I’ve been there and know what it’s like. Am I always nice and courteous. No. But I try!

    Thanks for your stories.

  • Jennifer le Roux February 17, 2010, 11:09 pm

    I think maybe rudeness comes from not thinking about what you are saying, or not realizing the other person is not going to see things your way….I don’t know. I have worked retail, in a hat store of all places, for 9 years and you would think people would be happy and polite, but no…I think every one should have to work in some sort of customer service job for 2 years mandatory service and then the world would be a better place….most of the time I don’t mind rude, because people aren’t sugar coating their feelings, it’s when someone thinks they are better than me or above me because I am the lowley pion helping them and not a human…(maybe I’m a robot from the future.)..ha ha ha…. seriously though, you have such a spectacular perspective on things Josh, you really inspire me to be a better person…plus you love Kurt Vonnigut…..Have you ever noticed he looks a lot like Donald Sutherland? Just a thought. your friend, Jennifer

    • Josh Hanagarne February 17, 2010, 11:12 pm

      Awesome! What kind of hats? Were they the old gangster moll hats with the veil? Your avatar looks so stylish, I’m sure that it was all pretty glamorous. I never did connect Kurt and Donald, but you’re right on.

  • Jett March 17, 2010, 8:47 pm

    I believe rudeness stems from an acute lack of empathy and/or selfishness. I try to be a positive and considerate person, but admit I am bad to one-up a slap with a punch: “You don’t know who you’re messing with.” I don’t tend to pick fights, but I’m pretty adept at finishing them.

    In the last couple-three years, I have been trying really hard to walk in peace and it’s the most difficult endeavor I’ve ever undertaken. I am extremely compassionate toward/protective of those I see as underdogs. A few weeks ago I had the epiphany that people who are actively rude are likely emotional underdogs (lack of self-esteem or suffering insecurities, etc.) and that makes it somewhat easier to be patient.

    As an aside, your exchange with this man brings to mind conversations I had with my eldest son when he was younger. I spent a lot of time trying to help him find empowerment and peace where his TS was concerned, and one thing I told him on several occasions was, “Look, in the big scheme of things, you have it pretty great. Your tics have settled into a place where they no longer rule your life even though they are still sometimes pretty noticeable. You have an opportunity here: You can be an ambassador, because the person standing in front of you confused or asking questions or behaving ignorantly might one day run across someone whose TS is far more life-affecting than your own. If you take just a few minutes of your day to just educate them even a little bit, they might treat that next Touretter with more understanding and respect than they otherwise might have.” It took him a while to get that, but it was the one time in my life that I didn’t mind repeating something to one of my kids ad nauseum. >:o)

  • Hal June 20, 2011, 10:33 am

    I believe being rude is probably counterproductive to the human race and even done anonymously, tends to bite you back in the end.

    Thank you for the audio. I could relate