Saturday, September 24, 2011

Misanthrope's Guide to Life: Book Review

One of my favorite blogs is 2birds1blog.  It is co-written by Meghan Rowland and Chris Turner-Neal.  They recently published a book called The Misanthrope's Guide to Life.  I got the book yesterday and sat down and read it cover to cover and laughed my head off because if you didn't already know this about me, I'm what some  people might call an introvert, and what other people might call an asshole.  Tomato, tomahto.  Now I know it's not one or the other.  I'm a misanthrope.

The book is a humorous (or is it?) look at how people like myself (and everyone I share genes with) go through life and try to get along with other people who don't know that solitude and quiet equals paradise.  One of my favorite lines of the book is:  "Adam and Eve may have gotten along fine, but Cain beat Abel with a rock for being a show-off."  This quote is the introduction to a section called "Great moments in Misanthrope History," my favorite point being, "1347-1353 - The Black Death kills millions in Europe.  Survivors revel in free clothes and their own rooms."

Rowland and Turner-Neal also give quizzes so you can determine whether or not you are a misanthrope and if so, what kind.  I am an "avoidant misanthrope."  I am the "patron saint of the locked door and the turned-off phone."  The chapters include things like the misanthrope at work, among friends, in transit (Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and Sons of Bitches), at work, in love, as a parent, on vacation, at home and in death.

If you are an introvert you will laugh and laugh when you recognize yourself on every page, and if you are an extrovert this is a good guide to the inner workings of the introvert's mind.

Reading the book reminded me of holidays with my misanthrope-heavy family.   Last Christmas my dad and I were sitting in his cozy TV room, watching How It's Made and eating peanuts in the shell, and some mention was made of the local holiday parade that was about to happen just a few blocks away.  I said, with my voice dripping with sarcasm, "We should go," thinking the very thought would make my dad shudder in an amusing way, but no, he decided to see if he could one-up me and it turned in to a horrible game of social-chicken that had no winners.  Here is the dialogue that led to us standing out in the freezing cold trying to avoid eye-contact with jolly acquaintances chock-full of the holiday spirit (gag):

Me:  We should go to the holiday parade.
Dad:  We should.
Me:  I'm serious.
Dad:  Me too.
Me:  Okay, let's go.
Dad:  Put your jacket on.
Me:  Okay, come on.  Put yours on too.
Dad:  Okay.
(We both go up to the entryway and put on outerwear and then stand there and look at each other waiting for someone to give.)
Me:  Okay, let's go.
Dad:  I'll start the car.
Me:  I'll get in.
Dad:  Good.  Let's go.
Me:  Good. Let's.

Then we actually got in the car together and went.  I couldn't understand what was happening.  Why was this happening? When was he going to give in and go back home?  He didn't.  He parked.  Should I give? No!  I'm way more extroverted than he is!  He'll give!  We walked into the crowd and waited for the parade.  Actually, that's not true.  We stood off by ourselves by a wall where nobody else was because you couldn't see the parade from there.  Then he lured me up to the curb where we could see the parade better.  We spotted a gregarious person from high school that I never liked heading toward me with a big smile on her stupid face and we were both bracing for the inevitable "HIIIIIIII!!!! HOW ARE YOU????!!!!!" bullshit, or at least I thought we both were but when I looked to my side to see how he was going to handle it, he was gone.  Totally disappeared like magic and I was left to handle this obnoxious person all by myself.  After she moved on I panicked and looked for him, sure he went home, but he didn't.  He was standing by the wall by himself.  We endured the parade which made us both a little crabby, and then went home and went to separate rooms to try to regroup.  Misanthropes?  Oh yes.


  1. this is friggin hilarious. i'll put that book on my wish list. for sure.

    i truly admire you and your dad. although, i'd probably never hang out with either of you because i'm a misanthrope too. meeting new people is extremely uncomfortable and awkward, causing me to sweat profusely under my right arm pit.

    thanks for the reco!

  2. Delightful! I don't care for parades, so even though I'm a bit of an extrovert, we do have that in common!

  3. We should have a Misanthrope Convention. It would be like a room full of Scottie dog magnets.

  4. Your world frightens and confuses me.

  5. Oh my god! This made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off my chair. I thought that kind of thing only happened in my house!

  6. I've always wondered how to describe myself and that sounds like a good fit. Here I was going to stick with bossy know it all who goes out because she feels she is supposed to but really thinks most people are complete idiots.

    I am going over to check out the blog now!

  7. I laughed so hard reading this because I recall a time where the staff at BAS went to a 'social function' together. Your dad said "I have to go to the bathroom." He did. We think. He just never came back! :)
    So now it's the standing comment when someone wants to get out of a 'social scene'...."I'm going to do the "Chuck-Lindahl-get-a-way thing"!!


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