Jo Ann Jaacks: Don't get mad . . . Get even . . . or even better

For a long time (my entire life?), I’ve had this mantra: Don’t get mad . . . Get even. As may be expected, it doesn’t always serve me well, but percentage-wise, I think I’m ahead of the game. In fact, it probably began as a youngster when I lost at games - cards, touch football, Monopoly and my all-time “I Gotta Win This” favorite - Scrabble. I took the eight-hour proctored test to get into Mensa because #1, I wanted to meet cute boys (men), and #2, I wanted to beat them at the Scrabble tournaments.

My nephews, nieces and grandchildren can attest to my show-no-mercy tactics over a game of Monopoly, although I’m now a little regretful because nobody wants to make an 8-year-old cry. If they happened to make a lucky strike and get ahold of the coveted Boardwalk or Park Place, I immediately put hotels on all my properties and sent them to the poor house, ignoring entreaties to borrow money from the bank so they wouldn’t be kicked out of the game. At the time, I thought I was teaching them an important life lesson, and who knows, at some future point it may shake out that way. I also tried to inculcate my grandchildren to always stand up for themselves.

I’ve had several epic successes with this mantra: I got my abusive boss fired; forced a snarky hotel clerk who told me “Sorry, we don’t seem to have your reservation” into giving us the bridal suite AND free tickets to the musical show AND a free motor scooter to buzz around the island; and many other instances, but I’m not telling all those stories because I might not come off looking too good in some of them.

Over the years, I have occasionally suffered an indignity of Brobdingnagian proportions. If you don’t believe that’s an actual word, I recommend reading Gulliver’s Travels, a satirical novel by Jonathan Swift. It’s a classic even after 300 years, named #3 of the 100 best novels by The Guardian. But I digress. If someone disses your credentials and expertise, steps on what you are doing well, or your opportunity to do something new and important, I think the ‘Get Even’ mantra would be vindicated to come into play.

When these ignominies pop up, I begin plotting how best to achieve justice in that particular situation. I hatch a diabolical plan that seems rock-solid, and trust that even Jonathan Swift would approve. It hinges on the person being a bad sport, and being caught in the act of doing that. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that the rock I was depending on falls victim to disintegration.

My new mantra is going to be: Karma’s tough. Wait, just wait.