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Be nice to those you meet on the way up. They're the same folks you'll meet on the way down.
Walter Winchell (probably), advising people to avoid this trope
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So you're never going to see those assholes again? Sweet.

Time to let them know what you really think of them! Tell the ex-girlfriend off, insult the constant jerk, rob the old neighbor, leave a surprise on the boss's desk, jack their last ice cream sandwich, whatever fits! They deserve it, and you're never going to have to live through the repercussions anyway.

Wait, what's that? You have a class with that ex? The jerk is your mentor's kid? You aren't moving or transferring after-all? You left your wallet in their freezer when you were stealing the ice cream sandwich?

Oh, hell.

This is when a character issues a So Long, Suckers!, expecting never to have to see the people they offend ever again, only to be forced to continue their acquaintance. Or even worse, seek their help. So now, they have to be on their best behavior, put up with all the same crap, and/or face the music of what they did, deserved or not.

Compare We Meet Again, We Will Meet Again, Where It All Began, My God, What Have I Done?, The Exit Is That Way, and Take This Job and Shove It.

Examples:



Film

  • The premise of Max Keeble's Big Move. Max, a student believing he is about to move, issues several So Long, Suckers!, then doesn't move afterall.
  • Flatliners was pretty much all about this, when the characters fry their brain-cells in a medical experiment, only to be faced with their own consciences. To overcome their dilemmas, they all have to make amends somehow.
  • A good chunk of the end of Iron Man 2 is spent with Tony trying to repent for his assholish behavior from when he was dying.


Literature

  • In the first Galaxy Games book, the whole world thought they were about to be wiped out by an incoming asteroid. So all the adults went crazy doing whatever - the teachers didn't teach, many of the main character's friends' parents quit their jobs and so on. After the asteroid was revealed to just be an alien spaceship they all had to try and get their jobs back and return all the stuff they bought on an impulse. This was easy for some, but others, it was noted, had quit their jobs by telling their bosses what they REALLY thought....


Live Action TV

  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will and Carlton trick Geoffrey into thinking he's won the lottery, causing him to cheerfully dance around and call everyone out before the truth is revealed. In a variation, while everyone forgives him (the boys take most of the blame) he's too embarrassed to return, and is the one that needs to be coaxed back.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm is basically this trope as the concept for a TV show. Plots are as follows: Larry David horribly offends a minor character, then realizes he needs their help. Larry tries to make amends, typically fails on an epic scale.
  • In the Doctor Who serial Inferno, the Doctor thinks he's got his TARDIS operational, and he's about to leave. So he says (about the Brigadier, in front of him): "I've had about all I can stand of this pompous self-opinionated idiot here!" But when he dematerializes, he only gets as far as the rubbish tip, and walks back, covered in dust.
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 DOCTOR: Erm, Brigadier, my dear fellah, I wonder whether I could borrow a couple of your stalwart chaps to give me a hand in bringing the TARDIS back? It's landed in rather an inaccessible position.

BRIGADIER LETHBRIDGE STEWART: "Pompous, self-opinionated idiot" I believe you said, Doctor?

DOCTOR: Yes, well we...we don't want to bear a grudge for a few hasty words, do we?

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Still, he gets off really easy for this trope: just a moment of embarrassment and slight crow-eating.


Real Life

  • Subverted big time in a former slave's letter of reply to his former master who had tried to entice the former slave and his family to return to the Tennessee plantation where they had been enslaved for decades.


Web Comics

  • Subverted in Homestuck. Karkat thinks he's going to have to apologize to Vriska in order to get her to join the Red Team. When he finds out that Vriska's been kicked off the Blue Team, he instantly rescinds his apology, and apologizes to himself for even making it in the first place.
  • Played for Laughs in Gunnerkrigg Court when Parley with full sunset blush slams the door... then re-emerges to take the flower Smitty tried to give her in the first place.
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  Parley: ...and ...give ...me ...that! (SLAM again)

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Western Animation

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