This is something I am particularly good at: a skill I’ve been sharpening my entire life. Because nobody gets remembered like the assholes. Starting with my third-grade history teacher, right up to my company’s newest account executive I met yesterday, they come in all shapes and sizes. Early on, I found their bully-like behavior to be confusing and hurtful. I was yet too young to understand or identify the many subtle nuances of the asshole. They usually came on employing various amounts of arrogance, anger, and a healthy dose of bat-shit crazy. Which achieved the desired effect on a kid: they scared the hell out of me.
Rumination: Ever wonder why I’m so good at identifying asshole-like behavior?
I hate most what I fear I’ve become, simple as that. The asshole I see in others is the asshole I see in myself: the short-tempered know-it-all constantly running out of patience with the world. Eye rolls and exhausted exhalations, the kind that come from dealing with stupid people all day long. I’m so tired of having to tell you how to do everything. This is the person that I most don’t want to be, so it should insanely follow that I’m hyper-vigilant in spotting it in others. I know how much I hate it when I’m talked down to by an asshole. So my solution is to become an asshole hunter?
See, I’ve always been a bit of an asshole. It’s in my blood. Alcohol just brought it to the forefront and turned a character defect into a lifestyle. I’d go searching for others like myself, those with less experience and a lower volume of fear and anger. I’d rub their noses in it until their faces turned scarlet. Nothing worse than an amateur asshole.
What happened next was pure textbook. I’d fallen for the biggest trick in alcoholism: I’m now championing my defects. I’m taking pride in my assholic behavior. I’m isolating and justifying. I’m complaining out loud to no one about things I’m making up. And, of course, the further off the tracks I go mentally, the greater the chance of my wanting to fix it medicinally. In short, I drank to overlook everyone’s shortcomings. You’re welcome.
For today, remember my motto: Neither an asshole nor an asshole hunter be. If I recognize the behavior in myself, I must turn it over and let it go. If I recognize it in others, understand it for the pain and craziness it is, and empathize with my fellow human, and for everyone’s sake, don’t react
I don’t have to offer them a hug, but I don’t need to engage, either. I can’t afford to play anymore asshole games.
And for that, I’m grateful.