I possess a multitude of shortcomings: I’m vertically challenged, I have a bit too much girth stemming from my weekend appreciation of adult beverages and carnivorous delicacies, my emotional attachment to my dog prevents my wife and I from leaving her for extended periods of time, and I have the capability of holding a grudge for more years than Joan Rivers has been on the receiving end of a plastic surgeons’ knife. But above all else, when I believe very strongly in a point of view, I have the need to be right.
At face value, this isn’t out of the ordinary; anyone involved in verbal disagreement seeks to be victorious in proving their point of view. My need is different – a Michael Jordanesque compulsion. It’s not enough to just win an argument; I must have my opponent curled up in a fetal position crying “Mommy”, and even then I have to kick the opponent like they’re Sonny Corleone after being shot 742 times. When engaged in oratory debate, I take in EVERYTHING: What a person says, how they say it, what words make their eyes drift off or their posture fall. Then I proceed to engage in spoken rat-a-tat-tat Snoop Dog would state never hesitates to put a person on their back. The tone is destructive, the words piercing. A General Patton level of intensity overtakes me and I do not let up until victory is mine.
It’s not pleasant and I have tried for years to just calm the eff down, but I can’t. It’s an uncontrollable beast inside me that stems from a multitude of places ranging from years of not being heard while growing up to the current challenges of my job and trying to prove my worth to people I’ve recently met who are established in industries I aspire to be in. It always starts the same—an observation or a disagreement over how something should work. I am summarily dismissed, which sets the demon within into motion. There are times where the slight is over something of major importance; more times than not its root takes shape over something ridiculously pointless. Yet it is in those inane moments that my compulsion unleashes its wrath the most. I almost step aside my body to watch this angry, anguished filibuster play out. I don’t even see the person I’m engaged in elevated discourse with half the time; I see every single person who told me I’m not smart, I’m not right.
And that’s the thing: I AM RIGHT (Most of the time).
I’m right because if I I’m not certain, I’m not getting involved. If I am certain, I’m not stopping. I’m right because the majority of issues I get into have to do with stupid behavior. Not ignorant, stupid. Ignorant is not having an answer because you don’t know the subject: I am ignorant with regards to the inner workings of brain surgery because I don’t know the first thing about it. Stupid is in knowing something is wrong but replicating the action in hopes of a different result: A person who continuously has bad results from a particular action but continues to engage in said action is stupid.
Know what that means? I’M STUPID!
And therein lay the true conundrum: What do you do when your actions fall into the classification of stupidity but the rationale of why you do it defines your very being? I’m honest to a fault; sometimes one the size of San Andreas. It’s a source of immense pride for me that there’s nothing I say behind a person’s back if I’m not prepared to say it to their face. Thing is, for all the yearning people have for honesty in their lives, they generally react to such sentiment as if walking around a condom factory when they’re allergic to latex. Telling someone the truth is delicate business and once the disagreement begins, I become as delicate as Rain Man having a conniption fit in the middle of an airport. That lack of diplomacy has cost me some in life – a lot in certain cases. But there is this core fiber to my being; something as clear and vivid as a warm sunrise after a cold spell, and all it says to me is that it may not be right how I do things but I’m also not wrong in what I do.
And that my friends, is a curse.
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