Dear Nurse Dave,
Is it ever okay to be a jerk? Are there situations where being a jerk is not only called for but important?
Ed, Sims, AL
I was actually recently pondering this due to a situation where a local grocery store tried to charge me more for hotdogs than I should have been charged. When the clerk would not believe that I'd been overcharged I switched into jerk mode. I think this befuddled the man and he ended up giving some of the hotdogs to me for free. I felt a satisfaction but also a guilt. Should I have been mean to this poorly educated man and should I really have been buying 5 packages of hot dogs?
I think there are situations where being a jerk can be an advantage to you. Cutting in line. Complaining at a restaurant thereby getting a free meal or at least a free desert. Badgering the poor uneducated guy at the grocery store regarding hotdogs. Moving in on the girl that your roommate was interested in. Ignoring the phone call from someone that is going to want you to do something. These are all areas where being a jerk can be an advantage but I'd argue that none of them are really okay. Is a piece of pie really worth demeaning a waiter? I guess it depends on the pie.
Really I don't think you're going to find a situation where its okay. In the end after you act like a jerk you're just going to wish you'd handled the situation in a more mature manner. I mean the girl was pretty and she wasn't even interested in my roommate but I probably could have talked to him first.