08 November 2007

Spite: An Essay

Spite is a funny thing to me. The dictionary defines it as "a malicious, usually petty, desire to harm, annoy, frustrate, or humiliate another person; bitter ill will; malice" or "malicious ill will prompting an urge to hurt or humiliate."

I think spite has been around a long time but my first real experience with it was in college. My roommates and I spent long hours playing the classic Nintendo games Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash. I guess these games were so addictive because they let our competitive spirits reign free. I'm sure we logged thousands of miles on the roads of the Mushroom Kingdom. And I remember having my go-kart attacked by a turtle shell and knocked out of commission many a time. The thing is, sometimes I would be in 4th place, not even remotely in contention to win that particular race, when I would be hit by a turtle shell fired backwards by the 3rd place player. Who could explain such a thing? It used to make me really mad. Then I realized: it was for spite. It had to be. This kind of behavior fits in perfectly with the definition of spite: it was malicious, humiliating, frustrating, petty, annoying, and done with the intent to harm me. I decided I was okay with that. I'd much rather be attacked out of spite than out of dumb luck or banal indifference. So, then I started asking my friends if they attacked my go-kart with a turtle shell out of spite. As long as they said yes, I was okay with it. Maybe even pleased.

Then I realized so much of the bad luck in life could be explained so much better if it involved a little spite. Example: a bird poops on your head as it flies by. You might look at this and say to yourself, "Man, I can't believe my lousy luck. What are the odds that stupid bird would poop on my head?" That might be one person's perspective but personally I would look at this situation and say to myself, "Wow, if that bird intentionally and maliciously decided in its pea-sized brain to fly over me, time its release just right, and hit me with its own excrement, my hat is off to him. You gotta love spite. Way to go little guy." Isn't that a lot better? I think so.

I think I would have enjoyed being a spiteful bird.

Note: This post is dedicated to my old roommate, Reed. May spite find him wherever he goes in life.


Reed F said...

As long as you wrote this article for spite I'm OK with it.

And yes, I'm glad you made reference to you being in 4th place because that's where I remember you finishing too.

PS. Bring the Game Cube to the SuperBowl party so spite can find you there.


Ben said...