Why Are You So Crabby?

Some fairly serious posts are tentatively scheduled for next week. In the meantime I’d like to dissect this strip from one of my favourite web comics, Mimi and Eunice.

It is one of the few items on my RSS feed that made me cringe-fully laugh out loud this week. When I was a kid I used to subtly irritate my brothers until they reacted. As far as I can recall it was never anything cruel or painful – just standard sibling teasing. When they retaliated mom and dad would often blame them for instigating the entire thing.

I don’t remember why I did those things. Maybe they had teased me earlier,  maybe I thought it was funny or it might have just been a bizarre developmental phase. When my youngest brother finished high school I apologized to them for being sneaky and annoying. Despite the decade or so that had passed since we’d stopped interacting in those ways I still felt a touch of guilt for my part in it.

Why do adults act like this? We (typically) don’t physically jab one another with our fingers but I’ve seen more than one person a few decades removed from elementary school draw out the same reactions in others with a sharp word or aggressive body language. Every time it happens I wish I could temporarily re-write the rules of polite behaviour so I could ask what was happening in his or her life that made it seem ok to agitate someone else like this.

Is someone else poking their buttons? Have they had a horrible day, month, year and are running dangerously low on compassion? Do they enjoy introducing more pain into the lives of others? Why play innocent when the other person finally reacts? Have they missed social cues and don’t realize what they did?

I also wonder why more of the Eunices of the world don’t climb out of their comic strips. Sometimes this isn’t possible, of course, but if I was in her cartoon feet I would have disappeared halfway through the first panel. When Mimi was ready to apologize and stop poking me I’d come back and forgive her…but not before then.



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7 Responses to Why Are You So Crabby?

  1. Excellent comic strip! When I read it, it immediately spoke to me. I have a sister who is totally rude, bossy, and controlling. When once in a while, I yell back the way she yells at me, she cries and says she’s afraid of me (she’s 43). Right now, we’re not talking. I’ve decided to remove her from my life. I’m just sick and tired.

    More than anything, I’ve decided that taking her bullshit isn’t helpful to her. So no, if she’s going to be a bitch, she can’t be my friend, or my sister, or whatever. She is my worst enemy, that’s what she is.

    Sorry for the rant.

  2. thats whats so great about comics, they remind us of our ridiculousness. This brought a memory of a time in the mid 60’s, my dad made a large plywood box we would mount on the roof of our car to store our camping gear in for family vacation. It was newly finished and some how I tricked my little brother into getting inside and then I locked him inside and left. I don’t remember how long he was in there but when i finally let him out I felt even worse because he didn’t get mad or complain. Ah the fun childhood memories.

  3. My exhusband used to do that kind of stuff. He’d poke or pinch or thump my nose(god I hate that) or whatever to aggravate me. I’d ignore it thinking that was the answer, but alas, he’d always do it til it irritated me to the point of…well…irritability. Then he’d get mad at me because I was irritated. I’d always ask him what in the world he wanted. You set out to aggravate me, mission accomplished! As I was reading the comic strip I wondered if the author had been peeking in my windows. 🙂

    Some irritations are just really hard to ignore.

  4. Why do I people act this way? It’s called being passive-aggressive.

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