Thursday, June 21, 2012
I'm ( )ER Than You!
Why do we gotta be (________)ER than everybody else?
Pick something... anything... and some dude is likely to be better at it than you, or he will proclaim it so.
Loud? I'm louder. Fast? I'm faster. Cheesy? I'm cheesier. Smelly? I'm smellier? Bald? I'm way balder. Sexy? You guessed it, I'm way sexier. Dumb, I'm dumber. Dumber, I'm dumberer.
You were sick last week? I was sicker AND I went to work!
I recall when I was in college having the following conversation. To set the scene, I had entered the office of my favorite economics professor. He and I would often have conversations about sports or philosophy, occasionally we'd talk economics, but since he was better at that subject, it would never really be a conversation.
Anyway, I entered on this particular day and he was engaged in a "conversation" with a former female student of his. She was a former student, not the victim of a sex change. I add the quotes because this wasn't much of a dialog, rather a monologue with "uh-huh."
She: ... He is going to graduate next year summe cum laude.
Prof: that's difficult to do.
She: well he's super driven on account of his daddy owning (some company). The dad is a really nice guy and so is his son.
She: he's picking me up later in his Mercedes and we're heading to the family cabin in the mountains for the weekend. I should have him stop up and introduce himself, I know you'll like him.
Prof: I have classes all afternoon, so I might not be here.
She: I'll have him wave to you wherever you are and if you're at a stopping spot you can meet him.
It is at this point that my professor gave me "the look." I don't need to explain the look to most of my readers. It is part "sell crazy down the hall, because I'm all stocked up" and part "for the love of all that is good, save me now." He was brilliant subtle about it and she never caught on.
Me: So, what's his time in the hundred?
She: (head almost visibly whipping off like some alien life form who has realized there is another snack in the room) What?
Me: what's his time in the hundred?
She: what are you talking about? You mean like running?
She: I don't know, what difference does that make?
Me: Well, to Carl Lewis and the United States, that's very important.
She: I don't know that he cares. He did play high school tennis, so he's probably pretty fast.
Me: I'm not sure you can make that correlation. I'd say he knows if he's fast or not. I'm pretty fast. I've only lost (at the time) four foot races in my life, of course my high school didn't have a track team, so I'd be guessing a little. Maybe when he arrives he can track me down in class and I'll race him?
She: Why would it matter?
Me: Well, I have a theory that God created all men equal. I can tell you that one of the races I lost was to a guy who was astonishingly smart, but he was shy around women and I saw him mowing his parent's lawn in the rain. It all kind of evens out.
She: But he probably doesn't care about the hundred meter dash.
Me: and I drive a beater Honda and don't care about ever having a Mercedes.
Several minutes later after our schoolboy mirth had partially subsided, he chided me for my rough, albeit funny handling of the situation. I explained that people who think they're better than you in sum total really piss me off.
And then he said something that was wicked smart, of course he was a professor, so my expectation of his smart was high. That in combination with being my favorite teacher made him smart...natch. His question pointed more to the philosophical when he asked...
Prof: Was that conversation about her, the boyfriend, or your possibly fragile ego?
I entertained that thought for a while and for a while longer and for a while after that. I think what it boils down to for me is that we as men draw a very narrow line between being supportive of ourselves by believing the best about ourselves and being protective of ourselves (and our fragile egos) by tearing others down a little. Either way, it's all about me.
What really ended up on weighing on me was the irony of poking fun at the boasting girl who was, though obnoxious, really supporting her man. In doing so, I was being protective of my own ego at the same time.
I may need the counsel of peers to convene and in what will undoubtedly be another fit of irony, tell me that I was right. You were going to say that, right? You were because you're nicer than me.
Since Dude Write appears to be happening for another week, I highly recommend you click on the button here and visit. While you're there, read a few other dude's posts.
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