The “You Shmooze, You Lose” Edition

In Advice, Funny, Life, People, Social Commentary on December 4, 2007 at 1:40 am

The Incredibly Intelligent Irene from Iowa inquires:

To the fantastically amazing Ms. Ally,

How would one deal with an overconfident classmate in graduate school where egos are part of the game? This same classmate shmoozes with the best of them and profs love him. Plus he’s actually incredibly smart. I’m just as smart but not a kiss-ass!

Intelligent Irene

*   *   *   *   *

My dearest and most highly esteemed Irene,

Ahhhh dear, the perils of the post-graduate pretender! I am, luckily, far untouched from this phenomenon, however rumours have reached me that such fools do exist.

I must admit that I find it difficult to comprehend such behaviour myself. I mean, there is always going to be a certain degree of nerdly excitement involved in academic discussions. The brown noser, on the other hand – also known as kiss-ass, suck-up, apple-polisher, or butt-monkey – displays a constant flow of tongue-in-ass behaviour which annoys fellow students while managing to stay entirely off the radar of most professors.

First off, in order to ensure mass appeal to all members of my audience, I’d like to emphasize that this kind of person is not limited to the graduate school sphere. In all levels of educational and professional life there are pompous, self-entitled odd-balls who seem completely incapable of relying on their ability to do the task at hand and feel the need to supplement with over-the-top shmooze.
And for some reason, it will often feel like even when you are the one who has worked hardest for a position or significant grant, they often sneak past you with their endless supply of name-dropping, flattery, favours, double-whipped-cream-gingerbread-mocha-lattes (with extra chocolate sprinkles), and a generally pretentious attitude.

Some examples (for identification purposes):

“I came across your article and it completely changed my perspective on Cuban-Canadian relations! I’d love to sit down with you and discuss it while I salivate into a Dixie cup!”
(Pretentiousness, flattery, excessive drool)

“Well, when I was studying under Dr. Awesome – perhaps you’re familiar with her definitive analysis of the Lindenberg kidnapping – she praised my essay on absolute bullshit as the most convincing load of crap she’d ever had the pleasure to grade.”
(Pretentiousness, name dropping, fecal matter)

Or best yet: “Sure, I’ll drop off your laundry for you! Nothing would make me happier than a chance to sniff your knickers!”
(Favours, odd sexual preferences, British slang)

Now, any regular “Agony Aunt” might say something resembling the following:

“It can be tough not to let these people get you down. But remember – your hard work will one day pay off, and your professors will see the difference in your work. Rely on your own intelligence and keep in mind that the more time and energy they put in to sucking up to their professors is time and energy that you’ve spent making sure that your work is top-notch. No matter what, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you are worth the grade you received. Keep at it, and good luck!”

However, I’ve never taken my cue from Ann Landers and I certainly don’t intend to begin now! It starts with truly helpful understanding advice and ends with blue-rinse and poly-dent.
No sir, that’s not what Ask Ally is all about.

What Ask Ally is all about is exacting comical revenge on people who are infinitely inferior to yourself (in my case being approximately 84.26% of the population). And so, never fear Irene, I am here to offer a soothing balm to remedy your sorrows!

Secret Ninja Revenge Sneak Attack #1: Pantie Patrol

Replace several pairs of the victims underpants with doctored underpants of your own design; if they be female, vibrating panties (with a remote control held by you of course) are a good choice; if they be male, go for the old itching powder or exploding boxers gag.

Secret Ninja Revenge Sneak Attack #2: Reciprocity Rules

Some pompous ninnies think that gifts and favours will get them into good graces with an authority figure – wanton acts of coffee, apples, laundry pick-ups, photocopying, full-body sensual massages, and so forth. Sabotage their gifts and you sabotage their shmooze – and everyone wins!
Except the prof.

Slip extra starch into Dr. So-and-so’s unmentionables. Switch that big, shiny Red Delicious apple with a little, tart Mackintosh. Or – horror of horrors! – tip the Starbucks lady an extra dollar to make that Non-Fat Mochaccino Latte with full fat milk!! Oh, the unspeakable evil!

Secret Ninja Revenge Sneak Attack #3: Nah Nah Nah Boo-Boo!

Walk one foot behind them as they go about their daily business, and every time they speak make comically exaggerated faces and mocking noises.

It doesn’t do much, but it really used to piss me off when my brother did it. In other words, it will give you the self satisfaction of a five year old.

Secret Ninja Revenge Sneak Attack #4: Public Humiliation is it’s Own Reward

Often the pretentious academic hopeful is the most insecure (like bullies on the playground, only with feeble bird-like muscles and a history of cosplay). Arrange a gathering with wine and big-wigs.

Pompous pricks – with enough wine and prodding – are more likely to a) get nervous and make a silly mistake in front of alla those big names, b) let the wine affect their control until their pompous behaviour becomes obnoxious even to the most oblivious professor, c) strip naked and dance with various pieces of furniture or very shocked heads-of-department.

Secret Ninja Revenge Sneak Attack #5: Actual Ninjas

Hire ninjas.


Unfortunately, Irene, something about this vocation calls the pompous, the suck ups, and the generally annoying to it in droves, and then places them within a situation that glorifies that within their nature that should be stomped on with ugg boots… and stilettos. Ugg stilettos.
But you and I, we will survive. As long as we know how to love, that is. And we do, Irene.

We do!


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