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What Does Your Inner Mean Girl Think? A Discussion On The Imp of the Perverse.

Recently, my BFF introduced me to a morose poem by Edgar Allan Poe, The Imp of the Perverse, and the concept surrounding it.

Have ya'll heard of it? It's a heavy read, a short story that dates back to the early 19th century. The premise is intense, chock full of words I had to look up to make it through some sentences. But it shines a light on something that we all possess, but still aren't real keen on sharing with others,

so they don't think we're nutty nuts.

Except we all pretty much are.

See, it talks about what I envision to be this guy:

He's weird. Basically, he likes to throw really weird shit into our brains at really uncool moments.
He's the Imp of the Perverse.

As Poe put it:

"We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss—we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink away from the danger. Unaccountably we remain... it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height... for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it."

It's that weird feeling when you're doing something and just have some horrifying thought pop into your head. For instance, last summer we took my in-laws to visit the Grand Canyon. We're standing on the rim peering out into one of the great Wonders of the World, people are gasping at the majesty of the canyon, absorbing it's beauty, feeling small in it's grandiosity.


I'm standing there thinking--"What if I just went like..." :

And then I proceeded to envision my massively badass but life-ending fall into the abyss of the mighty canyon. My brain clanged as loudly as I thought, "Just one little step and....." 

And that's all that holds us back. That great restrainer inside that keeps us from being complete morons (though some didn't quite inherit that part). 

What the hell is that about?

Supposedly, it's something we all possess.

I mean, are you ever sitting in a meeting and suddenly you want to just jump on the table and scream,  "I hate donkeys!" and then sit back down, satisfied that you'd just disrupted everyone's afternoon?

Ok, maybe not exactly your intense hatred of donkeys (if you want to know why I hate them, listen to my podcast), but something similar. "Kumquats are tasty!" just to watch the perplexed and uncomfortable faces who are staring you down wondering when you contracted Tourette syndrome.

The Imp of the Perverse is THAT THING. Explained another way, it's  "the urge to do exactly the wrong thing in a given situation for the sole reason that it is possible for wrong to be done. The impulse is compared to an imp which leads an otherwise decent person into mischief". (from the always accurate files of Wikipedia).

Mischief. Now that's a word I enjoy. I love myself some mischief.

So, my friends, exactly how perverse is YOUR imp?

Mine's a jerk.

Mine makes me want to walk into a Victoria's Secret, to their biggest, most perfectly laid out panty display, and begin flinging and flipping them everywhere until there's a gigantic mess and someone has to clean it up.
I have not done that thing.

Mine makes me wonder what would happen if I drove with my eyes closed.
I also do not do that thing. 

Mine makes me wonder how bad the injury would REALLY be if I got over my terror over the garbage disposal and let it take a little whir on my fingers?
I have all appendages currently. 

Mine makes me meet someone who I instantly don't like all that much, and then throws in the urge to say, "I think you need botox" or "It's unfortunate your parents didn't use a condom", which I force myself to NOT SAY.
I've said some regrettable things. But hopefully they all hit the target or were at least amusing. To me.

All the things that are not so nice to think or say or do, that's your imp/jerk.

Have you ever been in close proximity to someone, maybe someone you don't even know and have no reason to dislike, and for NO reason at all, just thought:

Like, just haul off and pop them in the nose, just for the sound it makes or to see their "What the HELL?!" face? Or sometimes it's someone who grates on you. That preacher that leans in too close with their coffee breath. That coworker who is the bane of your existence. Just POP! One little right jab, making your entire day and not so much theirs. 

You just totally pictured someone, and I love it. Own that jerkface voice and the sheer restraint it takes to NOT say or do every stupid, stupid thought that pops into your head! You're winning at life! This, my friend, is what separates you from being one of Bobby Berosini's famed orangutans or a pygmy goat!

I seriously have to bite my tongue until it almost comes off sometimes. Until I'm tasting blood in my mouth and shivering with the anticipation of blurting out something inappropriate or dastardly. Especially if it's someone who has committed any wrongs against me. Because I don't like you.

I mean, do you have ANY idea how difficult it is to be around the person who I dislike The Most and not shout at them every single time:

Who recommended those to you?

Are Krusty or Bozo or Pennywise your personal shoppers? FIRE THEM." 

For real, though. They're a menace to society all on their own. 

So then.  What are the things/thoughts that that little jerk running laps around your cranium throws at you?

Whatever they are, Don't Do Them. (Unless you're willing to confront the clown pants and save us all). 

And if you'd like a brain cramp, you can read The Imp of the Perverse HERE.

Hey, learn something new every day, right? 

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