CLEVELAND—During an unexpected moment of clarity Tuesday, open-minded man Blake Richman was suddenly struck by the grim realization that he's squandered a significant portion of his life listening to everyone's bullshit, the 38-year-old told reporters.
A visibly stunned and solemn Richman, who until this point regarded his willingness to hear out the opinions of others as a worthwhile quality, estimated that he's wasted nearly three and a half years of his existence being open to people's half-formed thoughts, asinine suggestions, and pointless, dumbfuck stories.
"Jesus Christ," said Richman, taking in the overwhelming volume of useless crap he's actively listened to over the years. "My whole life I've made a concerted effort to give people a fair shake and understand different points of view because I felt that everyone had something valuable to offer, but it turns out most of what they had to offer was complete bullshit."
"Seriously," Richman added, "what have I gained from treating everyone's opinion with respect? Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
According to Richman, it was just now hitting him how many hours of his life he's pissed away listening intently to nonsense about celebrity couples, how good or bad certain pens are, and why a particular sports team might have a chance this year. The husband and father of two said that every time he's felt at all put out or bored by a bullshit conversation—especially a speculative one about how bad allergy season was going to be—he should have just turned around, walked away, and gone rafting or rappelling or done any of the millions of other things he's always wanted to do but never thought he had time for.
At various points throughout the day, Richman could be heard muttering to himself that he couldn't believe he was almost 40 years old.
"Twenty minutes here, 10 minutes there. It all starts to add up," said Richman, who sat down and figured out that between stupid discussions about favorite baby names and reviews of restaurants in cities he'll never visit, he'd wasted 390 hours of his life. "And you know what the worst part is? It's my fault. Here I thought being considerate to others by always listening patiently to what they had to say was the right thing to do. Well, fuck me, right?"
According to Richman, he started thinking about how much time he's flushed down the toilet being an approachable person after a work meeting in which he let a coworker, David Martin, ramble on and on with an idea everyone knew was "total shit" the moment the man opened his mouth. Richman said that a single glance at the clock made him realize he had just spent 14 minutes of his finite time on earth not playing with his kids or being with his wife, but listening to garbage.
"It was like I stepped out of my body and saw myself actually listening to this man's worthless drivel—but it wasn't him who looked like a moron, it was me," Richman said. "I was nodding my head like an asshole and saying ridiculous things like, 'Right,' and, 'I see your point, Dave,' when I should have just said, 'Dave, your idea isn't good and you are wasting our time and you need to shut up right now.'"
By his estimates, Richman's receptiveness has resulted in 160 irreplaceable hours of listening to grossly uninformed political opinions, 300 hours of carefully hearing out both sides of pointless arguments, and at least a month of listening to his parents' bullshit about how important it is to be open-minded.
Eighty days have been wasted on the inane blather of his college friend Brian alone.
"All those hours I could have been relaxing, or reading all these great books, or getting into shape, or working on side projects that I'm really excited about," Richman said. "But instead I've been listening to overrated albums recommended to me by my asshole friends."
"Did you know that in my life I've listened to five days' worth of people talking about their furniture?" he added. "It's true. That's a trip to Europe right there."
While Richman has vowed to cease being open-minded to absolute horseshit, acquaintances reflected on his approachability.
"I love Blake," coworker David Martin said. "He's such a good listener. A lot of people are closed-minded and self-absorbed, but Blake always makes an effort to hear where I'm coming from. The world could use more people like him."