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Am I The Only Jerk?


*Warning: This is an honest post, which have become rare for me. I’ve learned that friends and reviewers believe they “know me” after reading a post and try to provide insight. I’ve consciously avoided writing these posts (whether about my novels or about me) for the past two years due to sheer annoyance. But I could care less what people assume at the moment. Just being honest:


When I was in high school, I learned the benefit of keeping my mouth shut. Funny, I actually acquired more friends by speaking less. And the friends I already had drew closer to me. But they didn’t realize that I wasn’t “me.” They simply thought I’d become better. (This is all except one friend. We’re still decently close today, but she accepted me for the jerk inside.)

Eleven years later (from the change not from high school), many of those friends became sick of my retrogression–the return to being an honest jerk. They expressed their desire for my “silent” return. To avoid another false relationship, I bowed out of the fourteen year friendship.

Were they entirely wrong? Gosh no. I created the persona, not knowing the influence it had on them. You see, I became Silent Bob in order to avoid conflicts. My high school sweetheart, at the time, was often hurt by my comments. Others seemed more combative or explosive around me as well. And for the first time in probably twelve years, I noticed that twinkle in the eyes of a few.

Last night, my jokes were honest and raw. They pointed to the critical flaw of the human being, whether I spoke about myself or others. Of course, I noticed tight-eyed responses mostly when I spoke about others, but that’s somewhat irrelevant. Not to mention, my friends didn’t really care too much. Too much. But I did notice reactions to a few statements that would change our interactions if I continued to travel this road.

Methodology and Data

I’m well aware of my traits and habits. Though others may think my choices are subconscious, brutal, or attacking, they’re honestly just my way of dealing with problems. If I can make light of an issue, it no longer becomes a problem. But when I’m forced to keep it in, my eccentric personality dulls.

Don’t worry. I’m not trying to be ominous. Here’s an example:

When hanging out with friends, I made several jokes about my wife (uh-oh).

Yeah. I know.

Of course marriage gets frustrating, but listen closely. I’d just come from a trip where I provided the woman with several hundred compliments. Though my critique of marriage was still present, I also provided explanations of why marriage worked for me. However, with a new set of friends, I simply made jokes about marriage (uh-oh).

This isn’t the only example. I pointed out a few flaws in friends and mentioned why we make the decisions we make. All of these observations were fairly critical and sharp. But why?

Multiple reasons:

  1. I’ve been away from people for the past three years, and the critical nature I practice with myself is all I know.
  2. I lack a filter when I’m making jokes. Though one or two seem normal, an abundant amount can seem critical or like an attack.
  3. That’s me.


From previous experiences, I can acknowledge two solutions to this problem. First, I can speak less. This works, but people initially ask, “Are you okay?” or they try to point out the change in my personality. After a year or so, they adjust, but it’s an annoying process. Secondly, I can distance myself. This is also a nice solution, but without practice, my tongue slips. Thus, the first person to meet me is likely to hear me “slip” and may suffer the consequences of my brutal tongue.

I’m not writing this to hear advice. Believe me, I know anything cliche that you can think of. And don’t worry, you may think it’s creative, but it’s not. (Just wanted to show you an example of what friends and my poor wife may have endured last night.) Sure, I can work on my habit. I can stay true to myself. I can pray. There’s also the “find a happy medium.” But in reality, stereotypical plots don’t work for my characters. (By the way, I also know other solutions that I may or may not tinker with).


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