Don't Get Scrooged

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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The holidays can bring out the worst in people. But this year you can win the battle against bad behavior and make your season merry again. Don't Get Scrooged offers fifty practical and entertaining solutions to the problems of Scrooges in whatever form they take. Book jacket.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
It's Not Daytona - You're Not Jeff Gordonp. 1
Take a Vacation, Not a Guilt-Tripp. 3
Guest Room Grinchesp. 6
Dodge the Oddballsp. 10
Do as Columbo Doesp. 13
Have Dessert, but Skip the Poisonp. 16
Handling Cruella the Salesclerkp. 19
Be a Hum-Bugp. 23
Take Back the Wheelp. 26
Agree and Be Freep. 29
Hades or Homecoming?p. 32
Tune 'Em Outp. 35
Picture the Perfect Encounterp. 38
Go to Your Room!p. 41
Don't Dancep. 44
Call a Lawyerp. 47
Love the Players, If Not the Playp. 50
Let Go, Let Godp. 54
Remember to Breathep. 57
Expect Less, Enjoy Morep. 60
Get Mad, but Not That Madp. 63
Be Mad About What You're Mad Aboutp. 67
Let 'Em Steamp. 70
The Benefits of Selective Intolerancep. 73
Keeping Your Identity - And Your Walletp. 78
Quit Being Your Motherp. 83
Give the Gift of a Second Chancep. 86
The Punk Band Next Doorp. 89
Retail Therapyp. 93
Let Jerks Be Jerksp. 96
Professional Victims and Need Monstersp. 98
Turn Hissing Cats into Purring Kittiesp. 102
Taking On Teams of Turkeysp. 106
If You Were Dr. Phil, You'd Be on TVp. 109
Open-Heart Policyp. 112
Watch and Learn from Mr. or Mrs. Ballisticp. 115
Hunt Hard for Something to Likep. 118
Scheduling Your First Interventionp. 121
Go Toe-to-Toe, and Heart-to-Heartp. 124
Size Up Your Opponentp. 128
Acceptancep. 132
Terrible Teens and Suggestions on How to Tame Themp. 135
When the Boss Ain't So Bossp. 140
Spin That Turkeyp. 144
Check Your Mood at the Doorp. 149
How NOT to Ruin Relationships with E-mailp. 152
Enough About You, Let's Talk About Mep. 155
Your Life Is Your Messagep. 158
Red Light Means "Relax"p. 161
Discovering Your Inner Turkeyp. 163
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Don't Get Scrooged
How to Thrive in a World Full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant, and Downright Mean-Spirited People

Chapter One

It's Not Daytona—You're Not Jeff Gordon
Don't Try to Cook Tailgating Turkeys

Here they are—another set of holidays, another set of packed roads and parking lots, long drives to family gatherings in bad weather, and impromptu trips to the market when your cocktail party runs out of cocktail weenies. Holidays mean hitting the highways, and highways and roads can be unbearably jammed from Thanksgiving to whenever the last New Year's Day partier straggles home. There is a stocking-full of reasons the Most Wonderful Time of the Year can put us on the road—and in a rage. The holidays should probably come with a "Don't drive or operate heavy machinery" warning label.

Anyone who's ever had an unfortunate encounter with an automobile knows they can do a lot of damage, especially when the people driving them just had a few drinks at their office party, or recently went to four toy stores looking for the only item their seven-year-old has asked Santa for, or have blocked their rearview mirror's view with a big fat box. Sharing the road with these drivers (I know you'd never actually be one of them) can be scary and challenging in normal circumstances, let alone when you're feeling hurried and harried, overbooked and overwhelmed.

Our highest priority when strapped into metal and glass boxes traveling at high speeds is safety—not being right, not getting there first, and not teaching other people how to drive. So when someone's tailgating you, or you're navigating a four-way stop, or another driver near you is having trouble staying between the white lines, the safest thing to do is yield.

Too many people play games with tailgaters—slamming on the brakes, letting them pass, and then showing them how it feels by riding their bumper. But this is no game—it is life or death.

So yield, change lanes, pull over, and call the police, if you're really that heated. I mean this advice literally and figuratively. In case my symbolism isn't crystal clear, the preceding rules apply to the road of life as well as the road of . . . well, you know, the road. Giving turkeys a wide berth is often the fastest and safest way to arrive safely at your destination. You may feel momentarily scrooged, but at least you won't have scars and stitches in this year's holiday photo.

So here are your keys. Enjoy the holidays.

Take a Vacation, Not a Guilt-Trip
Don't Get "Should Upon"

They are so sneaky.

I'm talking about those insidious scrooges who present themselves as quiet, soft, concerned, and, on the surface, kind. They are the guilt-trippers, the people who, with a simple "Have you visited Joan?" or a quiet "I can't because I'm volunteering that day," make you feel guilty, persuade you to do what you don't want to do, and let you know that you should be doing something else, or something more. Ugh.

I just said that these people can "make you feel . . . ," even though I tend to avoid that phrase because I think it's important that we take responsibility for our own feelings and do as much as we can to avoid victim-think. But gosh darn it, guilt-trippers are so good at what they do that it's hard not to feel jerked around by them.

One reason they can so easily push our buttons is that often some tiny, deep-down part of us does wonder if we should be visiting Joan or volunteering at the soup kitchen (especially if we're playing tennis or going to a matinee instead). We all know that self-doubts are a part of everyday life.

So let's say you are up against a fully conscious, stone-cold, semiprofessional manipulator. When I'm in this position, I sometimes think of a bumper sticker I once saw: "I will not should on myself today." You might even try saying it out loud, with a smile on your face, to the person making you feel like crap.

Last year my family vacationed with two other families. I quickly realized that there was a guilt-tripper on this getaway. Everyone in his family seemed to easily agree on what they'd do when, except for Bill. I repeatedly overheard him pressuring his wife, sister, and kids to do the things he wanted to do by making it seem that they were things they should all want to do.

Now, this was Bill's vacation too, so he had every right to want to enjoy himself. But it was the approach he used to try to get his way. He didn't just say, "Gosh, I'm really interested in taking this tour. Any takers?" He whined, "I know you've all been there, but wouldn't it be great to be there together? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Okay, I guess I'll just never see it."

Bill tried to make others feel sorry for him and guilty for depriving him. He did this to the point where they might not have been able to enjoy themselves unless they gave in.

Then I heard a beautiful thing. Bill's sister Judy said:

"Bill, you're acting obnoxious. We're all tired of being pushed around. We're going to do our own thing. You're welcome to join us if you can go with the flow and stop bugging us. If not, please just go and do your own thing. We all love you, but none of us want you around if you're going to continue to act like a three-year-old who isn't getting his way."

Consider the alternative: the family could have caved, had a lousy day, and resented old Bill. This way they didn't get their vacation scrooged, and Bill had the opportunity to meet his own needs and learn a little something about his behavior.

"Shoulds" happen, but you can send guilt-trippers packing.

Don't Get Scrooged
How to Thrive in a World Full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant, and Downright Mean-Spirited People
. Copyright © by Richard Carlson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Don't Get Scrooged: How to Thrive in a World Full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant, and Downright Mean-Spirited People by Richard Carlson, Richard Carlson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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