I am not the most confident guy in the world, but at the same time I have to admit to being a little full of myself at times. How does this happen? Relative to the general population, what is there about me that makes me think I’m any better? Well, that’s easy: I realize that most people are idiots, and as we all bob along on the ocean of life, I shine as a brilliant rescue beacon amidst a sea of flickering night lights. But for that select segment of humanity that is at least competent, and perhaps even spectacular, is there anything that affords me a kind comparison? By what definition can I claim to be exceptional? That would depend on the measuring stick: clearly, by height, weight and especially girth, I would easily exceed most of them. My ability to both consume alcohol and maintain composure whilst under its influence would seem to doom almost all of the rest, but by either gauge alone I am unlikely to be allowed entry into the club in the first place (snobs). And yet, somehow I still feel I belong; how strangely askew our perceptions of self tend to be. There are people I know who often brag about themselves and their accomplishments and, frankly, I’m astounded. Are their perceptions of themselves really that warped? Do they actually think they’re that amazing, when it’s clear to the rest of us that as players in this game of life, they’re struggling mightily and unlikely to make even the freshman team? I actually think that most braggarts suffer from low self-esteem and when they boast of their “accomplishments”, they are merely seeking validation. Our failure as friends or associates to shoot them down, laugh in their faces and make light of their obvious shortcomings* are the very things that embolden them and make them think they belong in the “club.” I can assure you that we are doing them no favors by merely sitting idly by and expressing feigned amazement at their ridiculous assertions..
I have given this particular issue what I consider an appropriate amount of thought (literally minutes), and I’m struck with several obvious reasons why it’s fair to consider me one of society’s elite; strangely enough, there seem to be an equal number of arguments to perhaps suggest why I should not be. Amazingly, the total number of arguments, both for and against, add up to…you guessed it: ten. And so, I present you with Ten Reasons I may or May Not Belong Among Society’s Elite:
1) I Can Tell I’m Really Smart. Almost without exception, when I tell friends and associates of my considerable intellect and accomplishments, they seem suitably impressed and often express amazement at my assertions.
2) My Friends and Associates Failed to Shoot Me Down, Laugh in My Face and Make Light of My Obvious Shortcomings (see * above).
3) I Have a Degree From an Accredited University. After six hard years of
partying studying, I earned a B.S. (um, hello! – Bachelor of Science) in Finance.
4) I Obtained My Degree From the University of Arizona. At least it wasn’t from ASU, and thankfully I am now capable of explaining my poverty in technologically- complicated terminology and with graphs if necessary.
5) I Own My Own Business. I started, along with a partner, my own business creating and servicing outdoor water features in Arizona in 1994.
6) I Do Not Work Well Under the Direction of Others. As I considered myself in every instance to be either a friend or associate, I felt it was my duty to shoot down my employers, laugh in their faces and make light of their obvious shortcomings (see* above again); I found it hard to maintain employment before starting my own business.
7) My Business is Successful. We have reported a profit in each of our eighteen years in business; given the recent economic climate, this is no small feat.
8) I am Poor. As I understand it, society’s elite tend to to do well financially. As is the American way, my company has remained profitable by screwing its workers, namely my partner and me. A recent labor strike very nearly brought down the company, but did nothing to improve our plight as workers. Management is very tough.
9) My Wife and I Have Raised Three Productive, Engaging and Intelligent Children to Adulthood. My daughter graduated with highest honors and a degree in Nutritional Science; she is to be married in June and will embark on her career later this summer. My son is attending college and has already begun a possible career job with a company that makes solar mirrors. My youngest daughter is beginning college this fall and is an excellent scholar/athlete. All will be productive, useful citizens who will provide a net benefit to their respective communities; the role of parent can not be overstated as a reason or explanation for this.
10) I Have Deferred Virtually All Important Decisions with Respect to Raising Our Children to My Wife. I allowed my son, at age five, to see the scene in Aliens when the monster pops out of the guy’s chest. In addition, he may have seen Bram Stoker’s Dracula before it was wise to have allowed it. I also ran over his foot with our station wagon when he was six or seven. I admit these things now because, at age twenty-one, Child Protective Services is unlikely to intercede on his behalf.
I suppose the jury is still out, for the time being, as to whether or not I belong in the exclusive club of Society’s Elite. I do feel that intellectually, at the very least, I should be
inclooded enkludid included. Having said this, to those of you who have attempted to engage me in meaningful conversation over the years, I apologize for appearing somewhat elusive and perhaps overtly topical and vapid with respect to subject. I also regret using the word “cornucopia” so frequently and seemingly inappropriately (there may have been a very subtle, yet decidedly intellectual reason for having done so).