Sarcasm Sucks: a Satire

Aspen Cotton, Staff Writer

Art by Phoebe Vo.

I love my friends, at least, most of the time. As all of us know, friends can be the bright spot of light in our otherwise dreary school days. After what feels like four hours of learning about the An Lushan Rebellion and what a cation is, lunchtime—and the ensuing socialization—can provide a much-needed break. As we joke around and compare stress levels before finals, one staple of friendly conversation makes its daily rounds: sarcasm. 

In general, I love poking fun at friends; playful little jabs at friends can liven up an otherwise boring conversation. 

Things like making fun of your friend for having no clue what the band prominently displayed on their shirt is, or watching them trip and dying laughing, before helping them up, all are somewhat common and harmless jokes.

Sometimes though, sarcastic jokes can feel less like a jab, and more like someone stuck a javelin through your sternum. 

When trading insults with your friend, and they use the one last insult in their arsenal and say they hate you, how are you supposed to react? Are you supposed to say, “Haha me too, bestie!”

Sometimes it’s beneficial just to laugh it off and head to the next topic, but finding that subtle transition can be difficult.

“Yeah, I know that zit on my forehead is gigantic, but have you heard about that new thesis paper that we have in English?”

It’s important to find the balance between being funny and not blatantly offensive. We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t comment on anything that can be changed in five minutes.” Personally, I disagree with this as a blanket statement. What people are comfortable with in terms of jokes varies widely. 

One person might be completely comfortable with jokes about the bowl cut that they fashionably sport, but others might burst into tears at the first mention of them looking like Will from Stranger Things. 

It is difficult to find that line between being entertaining and conscious of those around you. I am writing this as a student who has almost exclusively written satire, and according to my editors, sometimes toe the line between what’s acceptable and what’s not. 

Not just in my writing, but in real life, just as (hopefully) everyone has, I have made some very clumsy blunders. 

I swear, I will never live down that time in seventh grade when I was at my friend’s house, giggling and basically roasting them on the basis of their mom’s strict parenting skills, and her usually bland and extremely organic non-GMO dinner menu that night, when the mom walked in. In her hands were a plate of whole-grain crackers and some perfectly harmless grapes. 

She stopped in her tracks, no doubt having heard me, set down the plate, and asked, “Are you having fun guys?” I, red-faced, mumbled “yes” and watched her leave, internally cringing at my lack of decorum, and my inability to hear the door open. Even now, I am terrified to go back to that friend’s house out of fear that the mother will remember what I now refer to as, “the whole-grain incident.”

Sometimes in retrospect, we all wish we could stuff words back into our mouths, myself included.  

All I ask is please try to be kind, and if all else fails, at least be creative!