Playing well with others


Playing well with others is not something that I have ever done well.  I mean, I do get along with most people, usually.   And I try to fit into the usual social norms that are expected of me, and will be polite to people… most of the time.

But I have learned, mostly through the sometime gentle, sometimes not so much (ask Nick), chiding of others, that I tend to be abrasive, condescending and sometimes rude in my interaction with others.  But I just do not see it, myself.  I really, honestly, do not.  But I think I understand the WHY behind the reason that I do not notice it.

If you ever read any of Carl Sagan’s work, I would like to think that I have developed somewhat of a BDK… The polite name for this acronym is “Baloney Detection Kit”, but I like to use the less polite name of “BullS**T Detection Kit”.   This is something that I have constructed in myself over the years, and learned that if you listen to enough people, read enough books and meet a large enough cross-section of humanity, you begin to see patterns in human nature and in the way people talk, interact and spin yarns.

Through this, I have gotten to a point where when someone is telling a story of that is supposed to have been something that they personally experienced, yet I have heard the same story at least ten times before, it becomes increasingly hard to stand there and act like you are riveted to the tale.

For example… I used to work with a person, years ago, that one day told me this story of how they were in Las Vegas with their girlfriend and the girlfriend had to go back up to their room.  When she got on the elevator there was a black man with a dog…  blah… blah… blah… if you are over the age of ten and have an email account, then you know the rest of the story.  He yelled “Get down lady”, she hit the floor, it was Lionel Richie, yada yada, yada.

It could have been a very believable story, had I not already heard it two or three times before and read about it on the internet and on Snopes.  The story does vary some from time to time, mostly because people realize, at some point, that they are idiots perpetuating a mostly racial anecdote for the sake of humor.  Not that I am against racial humor, face it, some of it is pretty darned funny.  But unless Lionel Richie made it a habit to frequent Las Vegas elevators with his dog, for lack of any better entertainment, or unless there happened to be a whole heck of a lot of people in the elevator with him and they all “Hit the floor” at the same time, the story is rubbish.

As I stated earlier in the post, there is something in me that, with age, as prevented me from being able to just let people talk about things that really make them look or sound silly, and not say something about it or point out their faux pas.

OK… So that you, the reader, do not think that I am not the victim of my own social arrogance, I will be the first to tell you that there have been times that I have failed my own tests.   I have had several times where I will be talking to a person and suddenly I will stop, think about what I just said and then say something like, “That was a pretty dumb comment, wasn’t it?”

People who know and are comfortable with me are more than willing to agree with me if I am right and they know that I had a momentary episode of verbal or mental diarrhea.  But there have been a few that try to save face themselves by telling me that they agree with what I have said.

In any case, I think that we should all learn to develop our BSDK (Bulls**t Detection Kit) and keep it handy and ready to use.   There is a lot of BS going around out there and the quicker we are to understand where to see is and how to respond to it, the better life is going to be for all of us.

Think about this too.  If one quarter of the population of the United States would start using a little BSDK on a regular basis, then we would not end up with so many idiots in politics.  I present that comment with no political bias… I direct it at BOTH sides equally.  The BS quotient for the current elected body is astronomical.

As always… thanks for reading…  all five of you.

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