Brought to you by the letter M

I saw this bumper sticker on the way into work one morning this week that said, "Quit Your Meanness".  It was paired with a few others similar in tone - random acts of kindness, etc.

But it kind of spoke to me.  I've realized recently, in the name of humor, in the name of ingratiating myself to people, I may have gone a little mean.  Catty.  Bitchy, even.  No, really- it's true.

And yes, it was kind of funny to call that new blonde 40-something employee Long In The Tooth Barbie, but she's nice.  She wants to succeed.  Why did I feel compelled to put her down?  I mean, obviously, I didn't say it to her face - I said it to three people who will never repeat it to her (we hope).  But that doesn't make it ok.

Now, you may wonder why I'm suddenly concerned.  Well, it's part of my genetic predisposition.  My great grandmother, who I'll simply identify as MFP was a known bitch.  Her husband left her because she was such a cold and unkind woman.  I believe it's documented in the Library of Congress.

Her daughter, my grandmother MPB, was a bitch.  I loved her, yes, but she was mean.  She was mean as hell to my father.  I have first hand accounts.  She was mean to me.  She was mean to my mother and my sister.  She was mean to strangers and friends.  When she died, one of her friends came to my parents house to bring a pie, and dissolved into tears sobbing, "She was such a bitch!"

Her daughter, MBA, is my aunt.  She has a little meanness to her.  She did something once at a Christmas party to set my father off, and he spent the night calling her, somewhat jokingly, "Mmmmeeeeean Bitch". Believe it or not, it was one of the better parties we've had.

There are a few things in my favor.  The gene seems to weaken as it moves down the lineage.  I am not a direct female descendant - in that I am not MBA's daughter - I am her niece.  Is my father a carrier?  He has some mean tendencies, but in his case, it doesn't seem calculated, merely absent-minded or maybe a little socially awkward.

Also, there's the apparent saving grace that my name doesn't start with an M.  In fact, there are no Ms in any of my names or aliases.  Score!

But the point is, I need to be aware.  I need to be mindful of what I say, and work to get my laughs and my warm fuzzies more honestly.

And apparently, once I have my meanness under control, I need to work on this: