Life

Nuala McCann: Please don't let 2018 be another year for the a**holes

This was the year of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un getting caught up in a playground row on twitter, of unsavoury tales of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, of bumbling politician Boris Johnson and, oh, the pain of it, Kevin Spacey falling from grace. But these are much more than your common-or-garden a**holes

It had better be a stunt scooter, Santa, or I will totally destroy you

HAVE we reached ‘peak a**hole', the Guardian asks this week. The paper reports on the man who is an authority on a**holes, Robert Sutton, professor of management science and engineering and professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford University in California.

It's 10 years since he penned his book, The No A**hole Rule and still these idiots are everywhere.

Roll your eyes and wonder at what passed for leadership and authority in 2017.

This was the year of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un getting caught up in a playground row on twitter;

“You're fat.”

“You're old!”

“You're fat and small.”

It might have been laughable, were it not that one of them was the president of America and the other a loose canon.

If that were not enough, in 2017 we were faced with unsavoury tales of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein; we had to put up with bumbling politician Boris Johnson and, oh, the pain of it, Kevin Spacey fell from grace.

If, like us, you love The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, then it was a bitter falling to hear about another side to the actor and director.

But these are much more than your ordinary, common-or-garden “a**holes”.

Professor Sutton's new book is called The A**hole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt.

There's clearly a hunger for this kind of thing. Such eejits are everywhere.

Really, just go find the Guardian story – then hit twitter and there are tales of nightmare aeroplane trips made worse by the person in the next seat pulling out nasal hair one at a time; or couples in the next seats popping each other's pimples.

In the case of a close friend of mine, a man slumped into the next seat, four sheets to the proverbial, and proceeded to fart the four hours to Tenerife... they could have saved on the airline fuel and got there on that single person's wind power alone.

My dear friend had settled comfortably into his airline seat, done his seatbelt and thought: “This is how my holiday begins.”

Agh, tis life.

Professor Sutton also tells tales of bosses like the one who bullied his employee with leukaemia, calling him a “wimp and a pussy” because he was tired after he had just undergone six months of chemotherapy.

There was the boss who flicked a lighted cigarette at one of the staff, there was the Chinese bank manager who reprimanded employees who, he believed, were not working hard enough by hitting them on the behind with a big stick in front of hundreds of co-workers.

And if so many a**holes have been unveiled in 2017, what does 2018 hold?

Good question.

New Year usually finds me under the duvet trying hard to snore.

Yes, when our boy was small, we'd stay up to midnight and raise a glass of lemonade. And in the good old student days when we lived in the Holylands and were at peace with our neighbours, New Year involved a dash out into the street to hear the shipyard horns blare and to dance merrily, but never ever on anyone's car bonnet.

Then we'd all crowd around the landline in the house and ring our parents, picturing them sitting at home with a small glass of sherry, toasting Andy Stewart in tartan wishing them all a guid new year. Ah the days of heather, haggis and hogmanay.

After that came the glory days of young love.

There were icy cold new years spent over a glorious pint in the old Rotterdam bar and winding up in a desperate search for a taxi, only to end up walking the four miles home. It's easier when you're warmed inside by a decent whiskey.

And there was the Millenium when we scooped up our toddler and our best friends scooped up their toddler and we went around to our other best friends' home where they had just had their first baby and we all ate, drank, ran after small children, nursed the baby and propped up our eyelids with matchsticks because parenthood is not all ha ha ha, hee hee.

Then the fireworks exploded and we raised a glass as we stood at the doorstep of a whole new century.

That was 18 years ago.

Where did the time go? I hardly recognise my face in the bathroom mirror.

What shall 2018 bring? Good things, I hope. But please oh please, Prof Sutton, just don't let it be another year of the you-know-whats.

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