I love sarcasm. Not only is it a straightforward way of communicating, but those who use it regularly are some of the kindest people in the world. Really.
I never get tired of using sarcasm, and people never get tired of hearing it. Never. Not in a million years. It’s always so fresh, and the people who use it as often as possible are so clever and just so damn pleasant. It’s such a wonderful device that never gets stale because it’s impossible to overuse.
One of the best things about sarcasm is that it rarely causes people to get upset. Rather, it enables one to be tactful. For instance, when I walk into my apartment and my roommate is playing some marshmallowy drivel on his stereo, I’m not so cruel as to tell him that even John Denver would probably retch from listening to such sentimental goo.
Instead, I say something like “Boy, Buzzy, that’s some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. Please crank it up so the whole neighborhood can share the heartwarming experience of hearing such loveliness.” He gives me this mock expression of being hurt, then grabs the record off the turntable and slams down the dust cover with great exaggeration. As I chuckle at his good-natured act, he pretends to scowl at me and stomps out the door. We get along great because we understand each other so well.
Sarcasm also enables people to say so much more than they normally could. For instance, if I’m eating dinner with Kevin and he tells a story that he incorrectly thinks is interesting, sarcasm enables me to communicate what I’m really feeling. I say, “Gee, Kev, that sure is scintillating stuff”–whereas without sarcasm I wouldn’t be able to tell him what a boring story it was. (That’s not to say that I’d be at all frustrated if I didn’t let him know how bored I was.) Kevin greatly appreciates my input. When I make one of my sarcastic, helpful comments, he invariably replies, “Thanks a lot.”
And in arguments sarcasm can’t be beat. One good line can win a debate much faster than any lengthy attempts at reasoning. Some college activist told me his group was constructing shanties on campus to protest the school’s investments in South Africa. I just said, “Oh, that sounds like a great idea. The oppressed people of South Africa will really appreciate the gesture.” Guess I told him.
And the other day I was having the most fascinating discussion about science with my friend Bartholomew, the best friend any human could have. He told me we’re nearing another ice age and that glaciers will cover the earth. Uh huh, I thought, that sounds mighty realistic. So I said, “Oh, of course. You’re right, man, you’re right. And sweat is going to become the country’s most popular beverage next year.” That shut him up.
The ease of interpreting sarcasm is another plus. Everyone knows when someone is being sarcastic; no one is ever confused. Just last week my girlfriend was saying that she didn’t think I loved her anymore. Although I just love to communicate my true feelings, I figured I’d cut the tension with my favorite literary device. So I told her, “Yeah, you’re right. I’m really sick of you. The spark is gone. I’d much rather be hanging out with my friends in bars.”
Playing along with the joke, she scrunched up her face in a tight red ball and managed to wipe some tears of joy from her eyes. I laughed; she kind of cackled. I’m sure the next time I talk to her we’ll have a really big laugh about the whole thing.
Of course some people say that sarcasm is just a way to complain without sounding like you’re complaining–or to take cheap shots instead of bothering to explain positions. In fact, I just had an incredibly insightful discussion with some guy who told me that. It was a great talk because I learned so much. We sat there chatting for hours and hours, and I didn’t get bored once. Some people sure are intelligent.