Friday, 22 October 2021 17:16

COLUMN: Nothing to brag about

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Mac Davis famously sang that it was hard to be humble, when you are perfect in every way. I know for a fact that I am not perfect in every way and I would more than freely admit that I am imperfect in most every way. 

Most of us are. 

Take a look at yourself in the mirror and I am pretty sure you will find something imperfect about yourself. 

These days, we are told to be positive about ourselves and I get that, but I am realizing that some people are taking it a little too far.

I was talking to a guy a day or so ago and every time I mentioned something, he would quickly interject that he had something better and his was the best there ever was. This went on for a few minutes before I got visibly annoyed. 

I'm pretty sure if I told this guy I had some terminal disease, he would say he had something more terminal. 

I didn't really want to play verbal ping pong with this guy so I finally just asked him why everything he had was better than anything anyone else had. I was more curious than anything. I had written the guy off as a blowhard long before. He answered that he was just lucky, he guessed. Luckier than anybody he knew. 

A guy I know likes to tell me what a big deal he is in town. He tells me how he knows everybody and how everybody thinks he is great and how the people he works with admire him and this and that and that and this and blah blah blah. 

The truth is, he's painfully average. 

He has painted a picture of himself in his own head that transcends greatness. He's a legend in his own mind. He used to tell me how I could quit my job and work somewhere else and make more money and have more things and go more places and be just like him. 

The big problem with that, I told him, was I like my life just as it is. I have a lot more than a lot of people. I've already been places and done things. I'm older now and I like what he calls boredom. I don't have to go to a different restaurant every night. We live in a small town and there aren't a lot of choices anyway. 

I stopped trying to impress people a long time ago. These days, I just want to muddle through each day and if I accidentally impress someone, that's okay. I'm not going to go out of my way to brag about something that probably doesn't matter to anyone anyway.  

I have won two awards for this column. That's something to be very proud of and I am very proud of my accomplishment. For me, the best thing was to simply say thanks and keep writing. I talk about the awards rarely. I'm still uncomfortable with the whole public figure thing. I like the writing. The other stuff I will do, but only with a little prodding. 

When I spoke in Wilson a few weeks back, a lovely young woman waited patiently to talk to me as I wrapped up speaking with some gentlemen after my presentation. She only had a second or two, but shook my hand and said how much she liked the column and so on. 

I was mortified that she had waited patiently to talk to me and I had but a few seconds with her. I felt like a jackass. For a few minutes after and in the car on the way home, I felt pompous and obnoxious. We e-mailed later when I realized who she was and we are good now, but shortly after the moment, I felt like a jerk. 

I don't think I am a big deal in my own or any other town. Sure, I get to be in the newspaper, but so do the folks in the police blotter and the obituaries. Those are probably the best places to brag, anyway. 

I guess if you were in a car chase with the cops, they could mention how you were going 140 miles per hour. That would be something you could brag about. A few years ago, you could have said Burt Reynolds could play you in the movie about the chase. 

The obits are a prime place for bragging. It's kinda like the greatest resume ever if you think about it. I wonder what mine will say. I'm not in a big hurry to see, though. I'm sure the two journalism awards will be mentioned, along with that one time I won a coffee mug that said “Bookworm” in the shape of a caterpillar on it from the public library. 

I think I am going to keep it humble. Now, that's something to brag about. 

Award-winning columnist Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.