Insubstantial words

“Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays.” I haven’t been able to find the original source of this quote, and anyway some version probably goes back to around the invention of language.

It is certainly true sometimes. Other times the nicest people you meet go to church on Sundays and the most judgmental people you meet sit in the coffee shop in tattoo sleeves writing about the wicked intolerance of those judgmental psalm-singing hypocrites.

Still other times, the nicest people you meet are both covered in tattoos and go to church on Sundays. A few weeks ago there was a heavily tattooed guy in church. He came over to say hello, he being the regular there and I the visitor. He was amiable enough, if not absolutely the nicest guy in the building – I didn’t have time to meet everyone and judge them on how nice they were. So really being nice, having tattoos, being judgmental, and being in church on Sunday are all pretty much unrelated.

Moreover, being nice isn’t worth much by itself, and “Judgmental” is mostly a socially acceptable word to condemn someone as wrong and bad.

So the quote we started with is largely meaningless, and a bit clueless. Often it’s just a thoughtless remark, like we all make from time to time. If it’s more than that, it’s a faux-nice way to declare one’s superiority to people who go to church, and lacks a basis in reality. It’s as if the prodigal son, before he had run through all his money, were to have sat drinking and explaining to his “date” how his father had always liked his older brother best, and was probably even now giving him a tender roasted goat so he could party with his stuck-up friends.


3 Replies to “Insubstantial words”

  1. I like my mom’s version better:
    “Always pick the check out with the person that has the most tattoos or piercings. If they can look like that and keep the job, they’ll probably be really good at their job and good conversationalists to boot.”

    You’re right, the original is a passive aggressive accusation of hypocrisy…that isn’t very nice and is quite judgemental, for some irony points.”

    1. “Always pick the check out with the person that has the most tattoos or piercings.”

      That’s an idea I’ll have to try.

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