Never Mind the Bollocks of Peer Pressure

From Wikipedia:

“Bollocks” is a word of Middle English origin, meaning “testicles”. The word is often used figuratively in colloquial British English and Hiberno-English as a noun to mean “nonsense”, an expletive following a minor accident or misfortune, or an adjective to mean “poor quality” or “useless”.

Yesterday I muttered the word ‘bullocks!’ in the car while I as alone. And I have to say that word sounds like stale-shit in my American accent but I do like the way it feels when I say it. And I would like to add to the above definition that I think ‘bullocks’ can be substituted for ‘bullshit’ if you want to avoid profanity.

But this morning that word came to me and set off a chain reaction of thought that culminated in this:

Peer pressure is a load of bullocks.

The reason I say peer pressure is a load of bullocks is for me it’s never been about being pressured to do things like drink, smoke, or hang out and be somebody. No, peer pressure for me was being told to ‘fuck off’, or some variation of that. I used to think this made me a failure as a person despite the stiff upper-lip attitude I tried to project. Now that stiff upper-lip is a punk-rock sneer and here’s why:

Over the two decades I was in telephone customer service I was coached to, and coached others to always tell myself not to take a customer’s shit personally because it wasn’t personal. Honestly, those people on the other end of the line didn’t know me from a hole in the wall even if they claimed to. I had to tell myself I drew the short end of the spaghetti cord (spaghetti cord is a call-center slang term for phone cord) and had to deal with someone’s bullshit rantings several times a day. And it’s not that you develop a thick skin and a armor-plated attitude against this bullshit, but deep-down you realize that a raving asshole telling you you’re a pile of shit doesn’t mean you are one if you’re not doing anything wrong.

And this ‘don’t take it personally’ thing dovetails to peer pressure because if someone is trying to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do, or something that everyone else is doing just because everyone else is doing it, it’s not personal. Because to be a little cliched here, if someone cares about you as a person they’ll actually listen to you, care about you, and try not to make you feel like shit if you’re not doing anything wrong. So if you’re not doing anything wrong and someone gives you shit for it, bullocks to them.

But in a semi-screwball way now that I think about it, I’m glad I listened to the peer-pressure bullshit to ‘fuck off’. Because although I’ve been alone for a long, long time and spend most of my time inside my head these days, it’s not a bad place. I get human interaction as an Uber driver so I’m not a hermit. Instead, I want anyone reading this to know they don’t have to take bullshit inside themselves and drown in it. Or curl up into a ball feeling like a failure. Because if you woke up alive and kicking on the sunny-side of planet Earth, you’re doing just fine.

And if someone tries to use peer-pressure tactics to tell you to fuck off, do so. Go off and do your own thing and be good doing it. Because I believe if you do that, things will eventually fall into place sooner or later.

Besides, it’s better to be doing something than sitting on your ass feeling sad and sorry for yourself. Been there, done that, burned the fucking t-shirt.

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