Thursday, April 5, 2012


What are your three worst personality traits?

It's an interesting exercise.  It forces you to face the worst of you.  Because, as they say, self-knowledge is the most important prerequisite to self-improvement.  Hey, if nobody's said that before, I should copyright that - that's friggin catchy.

I can tell you three of my worst right off the top of my head:  First and foremost, I'm intellectually arrogant.  I'm convinced I'm the smartest person in the room. I have to force myself to not correct people's grammar. I ridicule people who don't know words that I should think everyone should know - "quorum" comes immediately to mind, ha ha ha (inside joke). I make assumptions about people's intelligence based on their ability to manipulate the written word.  It really is my single worst trait.

For another, I'm a quitter.  I've never really finished anything big I've started, either because I'm too lazy to put in the work or I'm afraid that I might actually succeed at something, and THEN where would I be?

And the third thing, the reason for this post, is this: I cannot handle loss.  And that is a gigantic flaw, one that has dragged me down to dark places that I wish I'd never gone.  One that threatens ever to drag me down further still; down, down, down.

It eats at me. It gnaws at my free will. It destroys my desire to expand my life beyond these four walls.

Here's a couple of examples, one of which you know well:  a month from today it will have been four years since my dad's passing, this after an eight-year illness. I still cannot discuss my father for any length of time without choking up.  I pay lip-service to the concept of time healing wounds, but it hasn't, at least not yet, not for me.  I have learned the trick of forgetting, for a little while, a little while. But it's closer to the surface than it has any right to be four years after the fact. Because I just cannot handle loss.

Here's another example: I have this friend, who for many reasons I call "Other Dave."  Other Dave worked with me for years.  We were 2/3 of a running crew, along with the coolest chick I ever knew, Shmisty B.

Dave and I were tight. We were like Turk and J. D. from Scrubs. Like Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen in The 40 Year Old Virgin. I was his wingman for the girl that he'd eventually marry.  I woke up early to drive him to the airport, for fuck's sake.

I was having dinner with him when my mother called to tell me that Dad had died. The next day he had to drive to Portland, ME, for some company function.  When he found out when the funeral was, he arranged for someone to take his place, drove from Portland to Sharon, MA, no small drive, just to stand up next to me - then he drove all the way back.

But Dave and I don't see each other any more.  He's got a family now, two beautiful children one of which I've never even seen. Life progressed.  That should be ok, but it's not.  It bothers me.  It hurts me.  Not because I feel any horrendous sense of betrayal, but just because I can't stand loss.

I fucking hate it.  I know that rational, thinking human beings can overcome loss; eventually of course we lose everything we have or are. But somehow I was just made without that particular trait, and until the old man passed especially, I had no idea to what extent that would rule my life.

Right now, today, it's even bigger than it's been lately. Today it's a fucking Giant. And I swear to god it's just eating me up.

Not a good day for the Kid.


  1. I'll "quorum" you, biatch!

    I wish I could take all the bad things away and make you feel better. I hope time does that.

  2. Try to concentrate on the positive things in your life Gary. I know it's hard to put aside the discouraging events, but if you consider it you've probably got a lot to be grateful for.

    For one thing you seem to be a really great guy who loves to have fun and people seem to enjoy having your company. That's a good thing! You could be a big dull dud! But you're not!

    Life will fuck with you. Fuck it right back! Keep fighting, it's amazing how fast things can turn around. I am living proof.

  3. I'm going to say this to both of you: It's 3:00 in the god damned morning! Get some sleep!

  4. I'd say my worst traits are procrastination, little patience and being a control freak. Is it any wonder I'm prone to crankiness?

    It sounds like you can't weigh loss in the grand scale of life the way most of us do. I can see how that'd make you want to insulate yourself from the possibility of future loss. Well, basically, that's a sucky idea. I think you'll just have to put yourself out there and accept that you feel things more strongly than most of those around you. Maybe that means you need more time outs than most of us, but it needn't put you out of the game altogether.

    Oh, and why not give Other Dave a call?

    1. Jeez, Crankles, you make me sound like a wet noodle alcoholic poet like Dylan Thomas who couldn't bear the pain of living. And, er, I don't drink.

      And why don't I call Other Dave? I already know what his voice mail sounds like, I don't need to hear it again.

    2. Jeez, I don't think you put it to the extreme end of the continuum a la Dylan Thomas, but it did sound pretty painful. Normally, I don't give advice in responses to people's blogs, largely because it's easy for me to misunderstand the person's situation in all its complexities and because my response may be misunderstood.

      Bottom line - you're a good guy. I'll leave it at that.

      Oh, and sorry to hear about Other Dave. that sucks.

    3. You’re talking like you think I bear you some ill will for your comment – that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I should bear you ill will for thinking I bear you ill will – which, since it would then be true, would be an inappropriate response. A logic spiral thus formed, the entire universe then winks out of existence before anyone can bear me any ill will for the universe winking out of existence.

      The aspirin is in the bathroom cabinet, Cranky, if you want to knock that headache back.

      and re: me being a good guy, how YOU doin? ahh yeah...

  5. all my problems and the reason my lifes ruined and messed up is because i too cannot handle loss.

  6. Wh at are my three worst personality traits? I would say that the first one is getting really annoyed when someone askes me a question like that and then I forget the other two.

    1. Wow - Rob, you are one self-aware cat. As well as unnecessarily aggressive, angry, insulting, you think you're FUNNY and you're NOT, you put extra SPACES in the word "what," you let LITTLE THINGS ANNOY YOU, you're a jerk, you're a doody-head, and Rob is a STUPID NAME and YOU'RE STUPID, you big STUPID HEAD.

      We are officially fighting. You're dead after school. I'm gonna pull the fire alarm and tell Mrs. Sakellson that it was you.

  7. You have the ability within yourself to confront #2 and #3. Not doing so brings into question #1.

    I am not trying to be a dick (not that I have to try to be one!). Just being a friend who thinks that confrontation may eventually loosen the inertia that keeps you from being where you would like to be.

    btw -- I started thinking about my list. Pretty humbling ... and longer than I would want ...

  8. You're namechecking Connie Sakellson?
    Far out.

    1. Well sure, she was the orginal scary teacher in a wool suit right out of central casting...good catch btw