Are you Uncle Peaches?
You can’t stand that new song on the radio. They clearly ripped off a classic jam and no one seems to care. What the hell is the hype around Snapchat? Who wants a disappearing message? Can’t people just use the phone in their hand and make a call? Also, what’s with all these new haircuts people are wearing to work? Can you say unprofessional? They just don’t get it. But you do. You’ve got years of life experience. You know the processes inside and out. What can anyone tell you about how to do things you’ve been doing forever?
Hate to break it to you, but you’re Uncle Peaches. And you are annoying as shit.
As a kid, I wasn’t a bully. I was a hybrid of several “types”: a class-clown, an athlete, a nerd, an honor roll student, an artsy-type, the list goes on. But there were a few kids that brought something strange out of me. They would talk, and I would feel an unbearable urge to push them to the ground. & by unbearable, I mean that it actually happened in one way or another more than once. I remember their names to this day. Why? What did they all have in common? They were know-it-alls. They were convinced, as early as the 3rd grade, that in their time on this earth, they had accumulated enough knowledge to turn down all advice. Naturally, as I matured, I learned that you can’t push people down because they’re annoying. Oddly though, as know-it-alls mature, they become more confident in their ridiculousness. It’s as if with every passing year, they evolve into a newer, stronger, iteration of know-it-all, until somewhere in their 40’s-50’s they reach their most annoying/powerful form — Uncle Peaches.
Uncle Peaches is the name I came up with for your old family member who you can’t tell anything about anything because you’re too young to know what you're talking about and you haven’t walked in their shoes. They are vehemently opposed to change, extremely attached to tradition, and don’t need the instructions because they know what they’re doing. Uncle Peaches is always ready to tell you how your favorite actor, athlete, musician, etc. would’ve never made it in their day. You have to let them take over when you’re cooking your signature dish because you’re apparently doing it all wrong. Uncle Peaches thinks your pants are too tight and you don’t look respectable. Uncle Peaches has volunteered his/her standards to be everyone’s standards for every aspect of life…even though no one asked.
Just as is the case with small children, pushing down a 50-something year old know-it-all is probably inadvisable. So, barring a rapture of all annoying people, what does the world do with its supply of Peaches? Well, if you’re almost every company I ever worked for, apparently you hire them and make my life miserable. For those of us who have to deal with the irritation of having an Uncle Peaches coworker or relative, there are a few tips and tricks I have to keep you out of the back of a squad car.
- Pick your battles. Due to the blind confidence they exude, most of the debates they want to start are tempting, but irrelevant in the long run. It just doesn’t make sense for you to argue. If they say “LeBron James is ok, but he’s no Meadowlark Lemon”, you say “oh really” and nod like you understand. If they insist that your generation is messed up because things like autism were never a problem back in their day, don’t tell them that back in their day they just weren’t smart enough to diagnose it. Say “oh really” and nod like you understand. Basically if the argument won’t affect your life either way, let them do their thing. The only thing a know-it-all wants more than knowing it all is for people to acknowledge that they know it all. Throw them a bone to keep them from barking.
- Lie. Uncle Peaches is a “my way is the only way” type of person. They don’t care what innovations have supplanted the methods they are used to. They want you to do it the way they know how. You know that there is a much better way to do it. Sometimes you have to tell them you’ll do it the old inefficient way, then do it the new way anyway. This only works if you know for a fact that you can achieve the desired outcome or something better. If you are required to report it, or you’re just feeling petty, you can let them know, after they praise the results, that you actually did not employ their method.
- Find common ground. Figure out a few things that actually were better “back in the day”. Let them know you appreciate their knowledge/experience in certain areas. A little conversation can go a long way to disarm them and let them know it isn’t a challenge or competition. (Even it is)
Most important thing: NEVER become Uncle Peaches. Don’t go your whole life not being a know-it-all and then have a Michael Jackson Thriller moment in adulthood. Keep an open mind and listen to people younger than you, as well as those who have traveled a different path than yours. There is so much to learn and by pretending you know everything, you will only succeed in stunting your growth while looking like a complete ass. So don’t be Uncle Peaches. Don’t be annoying as shit. I will push you down.