I’m smarter than you | Mark’s Remarks

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As I grow older, I become less tolerant of the idiosyncrasies of people. That’s really not a good way to be, is it? I mean, if I feel this way, I certainly hope people in turn aren’t saying

“Boy, that Tullis guy really bugs me.”

But they probably are.

The people I really can’t seem to stomach lately are those who are a slave to perfection.  Not only are they perfectionists, they are also smug about it.  Furthermore, they must make sure everyone knows how perfect and smart they are.

My inability to tolerate such people totally points out my own problems. I am, by nature, too sensitive and probably suffer from “perfectionistic” qualities myself. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Once, I wrote a note or paper or something and sent it out to others. A person nearby thought it necessary to seek me out, going far out of the way and travelling a significant distance to make sure I knew I had made a mistake. There was no other reason. After the mistake was pointed out to me, I could only sit there and think “Why?” The mistake was not an earth-shattering mistake. The person delivering the news just wanted to make sure I knew I had made an error. Or make sure I felt foolish. Or maybe they didn’t even know there was anything wrong with what they were doing.

A former colleague used to sit in on conversations (many times eavesdropping would be a better word) and seemed to be on hand for any grammatical error or mispronunciation of a word. If a mistake was made, she’d loudly repeat the error with a huge, glaring question mark at the end. Good manners, huh? I’m sure she’s still doing it. I haven’t seen her for years.

Have you noticed good manners and couth seem to elude this type of person? Rarely are these folks the most well-mannered of the bunch.

Often times, you’ll find this mindset runs in the family.  Like many hang-ups and unattractive qualities, this type of behavior can be passed down.  The children of perfectionists are messed up, and uptight also.  The mother is obsessed with every aspect of her appearance, so the daughters are too (and many times, the sons). The father thinks he’s smarter than everyone and so does the son.  The parents are snarky and rude about people they deem less intelligent than themselves.  The kids get it honestly.

Do you ever wonder how people turn out this way? Is it learned behavior? Wouldn’t it be easier if we just had a bunch of analysts and therapists running around?  They could be on hand to give us a pep talk. They could, perhaps, help us tolerate such people. “It’s OK. They learned this behavior from their perfectionist parents. Don’t forget that they’ve been a good friend to you.” Oh, OK.

The hard part is we sometimes can’t get away from these people. We try, yet we are thrust into work environments and even families with such people.  Then we are stuck. Do we dislike these people? Not always.  But they sure do bug the tar out of us.

Sometimes it is very hard to deal with people like this, simply because we care so much about them. Somehow, we became friends anyway and they have enough good in them to have endeared themselves to us or gained our loyalty. Indeed, how many good friends have you met who seem to fight like cats and dogs? I certainly don’t want to be the type of person who closes myself off from most people in society because their behavior bothers me.

Sometimes we are tempted, aren’t we?

I still would like to know what happens in the childhood of such people. I mean, why do they wind up thinking and acting as though they are smarter than everyone else? How does one become someone who thinks they can boss everyone else around? When people grow up and become the type of person who thinks their way of doing things is the best; well, how do they arrive at this place?  Won’t someone tell me?

What can we do? Well, we really have to put up with it, I guess. We can take these people in small doses. We can choose not to be around them as much.  Being away from such people helps us to appreciate them more. If these types of people are friends or family members, it’s almost necessary to distance ourselves. In this way, we can stay friends with them or at least visit once in awhile without too much hassle.

Someday this huge lightning storm will hit right over my house. Thus will end my column writing.

I’ll be less harsh next week. I promise.

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