That's what we say when we really don't care about what's going on or really have no other words of consolation.
"I got a flat in the middle of the night!"
"I got retrenched"
"I got jacked"
You can say it to pretty much anything that doesn't require a high five or a slap on the back. Bad break ups, retrenchments, car trouble in the middle of nowhere.....all attributed to sh*t!You have to wonder what kind of burden we are giving this sh*t for things we could more or less have prevented or worse, could not have imagined.
I started using this phrase when I gave up trying to like everyone and trying to get everyone to like me. I looked back and said "Shit happens!" but I added "to the best of us!" so that it doesn't sound too cold. I thought it was a nice way of brushing people off so that they think I care without having to you know....actually care. I actually used to feel quite proud after saying it. My call of duty as a friend had been fulfilled and now I could go on with my life.
But a few moments ago, I saw a man pour his heart out about the sudden death of his grandmother and how heartbreaking it was for the family.How his uncle broke down. How viewing the body made him feel. His friend's response....
"Sh*t happens dude!"
I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to shout and tell him that there are some things we cant attribute to "shit". I wanted to run over and give him a good slap across the face. When someone goes through a heart wrenching experience, your first response should never ever ever be "sh*t happens, dude!". Pat him on the back, say sorry, bump him on the shoulder, even say nothing at all and just nod convincingly but "shit happens, dude"? Really? Was that the best he could come up with? Of all the sympathetic phrases in the world..........
But it wasn't my conversation. I didn't even know this two dudes. Maybe that's how they communicated. I highly doubt the guy with the deceased grandma will ever tell his pal anything that personal again but then again, I couldn't quite turn and smack his friend on the face, could I? I was also guilty of telling people the same thing when I didn't even know how it affected them. In a world of cynical and selfish people (myself included), this unemotional, totally tasteless statement is what we have finally come up with so that we don't have to show emotion for people other than ourselves.
Sometimes it's not sh*t happening. Sometimes it's actual real stuff that is causing some real hurt. Your pal comes over and out of 6 billion people chooses to tell you about the most devastating event they have gone through in the last 24 hours
(which depending on the person ranges from breaking nails to gun point experiences), just nod your head like a wise sage and pray to God that your "pal" only needed a shoulder to cry on because if you open your mouth and the words that come out are a variation of "sh*t happens!", I don't think you should ever go around asking for sympathy when you have devastating moments.
Of course some things deserve a "shit happens" moment. They are so hilarious and ridiculous that even fiction couldn't have caught up with that. But not everything can be wiped away like that. And you are not allowed to sit smugly looking like you have done your call of duty and should be awarded some prize for your great words of encouragement. You should slap yourself on the face before your miserable friend shoots you in the leg or worse.
As I stood there staring blankly in shock, I realised I can't judge this poor, misguided soul who thought that it was best to console his friend like that. I am just as misguided. I should have gone up to him and told him that we should probably start an anonymous self-help group in some church basement and discuss the best way to approach consolation. Because "unsympathetic statements" it is a real problem we don't seem to address enough. Maybe then we would be better people and we can stop blaming everything on sh*t.