Road to Joy: On why I’m Squidward/the Grinch

To avoid turning green or growing tentacles, we should be careful in dealing with daily frustrations.

By Jenny Lee

It’s three o’ clock in the morning on a Saturday night, and I can hear first-years outside of my window drunkenly yelling about how drunkenly drunk they are. This has been going on for hours. This has been going on since the day I moved in. A few weeks ago, I yelled at them from my open window to please keep it down. I believe the exact words I used were “shut the fuck up.”

I showed this same gentle spirit at Bartlett the other day. I got to the front door when I realized that a horde of students was making its way out of the building. Because I’m not the anti-Christ, I followed the let-people-out-before-you-go-in rule. I held the door open for at least 10 people, and none of them even looked my way. To let them know that I was slightly miffed, I called after the group with a happy-go-lucky “you’re fucking welcome!”

In my final example, I get hit by a bike. The time: 8:20 a.m. The location: a sidewalk. I am traipsing along East 57th Street, making my way to the quads, walking fast, and I’m class-bound. I’m even in a good mood. Suddenly, a bicycle crashes straight into my back. I fall. As I lie there, slowly dying, I see the culprit bike away without a word. I wonder to myself, could this have been prevented? What if…what if they had biked on the road…. With my last breath, I croak out my final words: “Bike on the fucking road.”

Apart from me saying the f-word a lot, what do these three occurrences have in common? Me being unnecessarily butthurt.

Yes, being obnoxious and screaming about how drunk you are in the middle of the night is pretty uncool—for both the people who are trying to sleep and the people with you who have to pretend they’re not hoping you don’t go out with them again. Saying “please” and “thank you” is basic etiquette that should have been hammered into everyone’s brains in elementary school. And people who unnecessarily bike on sidewalks have a special area reserved in hell for putting all pedestrians involved in a more dangerous and inconvenient situation.

But as someone who has done her fair share of annoying things without having angry second-years yell at her, I feel like I’m turning into someone who hates Krabby patties and Christmas.

I see other fully developed Grinches and Squidwards all the time. They comment on UChicago Facebook groups and rant about things that probably happen to everyone. They share a common bond over how they feel: that no one around them is allowed to have a bad day or make a mistake.

Perhaps it’s because I’m only a Grinch-in-training, but I see the hypocrisy of these people—myself included—quite clearly. What exactly does shouting out a sarcastic “you’re welcome” accomplish? Was it worth it to take the time to write a hateful anonymous submission to a UChicago Secrets page? Is it better to be the person who’s an asshole to the assholes?

There is an unsolicited abundance of annoying things on this campus, and while it’s easy to take them personally, the bigger and better thing to do is to just roll with the punches and avoid turning into a bitter animated character. As someone who loves Christmas and those cute Krabby patty candy gummy things, I’ll do my best to keep the profanities and eye rolls to a minimum. Can we keep the bikes off the sidewalks, though?

Jenny Lee is the blogger behind Road to Joy. She is a second-year in the College majoring in political science.