Your Mom Thinks I’m Great

May 21st, 2012 | By | Category: Columns

Many of us like to believe that we’re simply better at some aspects of life than other people. Perhaps you’re a chess whiz, can easily spot the difference between real and fake hair (I minored in it), or know how to dispose of a dead body. All of us are a little better at some things than others. It’s only natural.

Then there are those who are heads and shoulders above the rest: actors, athletes, reality show contestants, and to a lesser extent: firefighters, police officers and EMTs. All of these people exceed the capabilities of us mere mortals. Naturally, they didn’t emerge from the womb hitting 600ft dingers or composing elaborate concertos, but they had a desire to do so from an early age. And what these people certainly never needed was some sweatpants-wearing putz telling them they should be a musician/ball-player/Samuel L. Jackson.

But that’s not the case for us simple folk. Naturally, being the conceited, self-absorbed half-wits that we are, we crave the adoration of the huddled masses. Unfortunately, just because a person throws a few props in your general direction doesn’t mean you should accept his/her opinion as fact. Does the person think that Pauly Shore films are the epitome of cinema? Does their idea of a fantastic meal mean opting for Toaster Strudels instead of cold Pop Tarts? While we’d like to believe that the person showering us with praise at least has a slight grasp on whatever it is they’re complementing us on, it’s never that simple.

As you may not be comfortable in your more than mediocre talent(s), you first start out by only sharing your new found abilities with people whom you could go to when in need of an organ. Your Great Aunt Gertrude, for example, will love anything and everything you do simply because you’re taking the time to share something with her, literally. The simple fact that you’re wasting a portion of your life essence in her presence is more than enough. She’ll tell you that you have the voice of an angel, or those cookies you made from scratch were delicious (ignoring the fact she finds mashed taters too chewy), simply because she loves you and you’re one of the few not scared of her wrinkled face nor bothered by the faint smell of death that lingers in the air.

Parents are no better. Yes, their entire point in life was to ensure you had a good head on your shoulders, and, barring that, at least to keep you from wearing the neighbor’s skin as a shawl. They won’t tell you that the last time you stunk that bad was when you were still shitting yourself, but they won’t agree that you’re anything amazing either. Parents will try to lessen the impact by encouraging you to work harder and pursue whatever it is you want to do, but they don’t have it in their hearts to bring you completely back down to reality as they don’t need to give you any additional tidbits that you’re going to be sharing with your shrink (Pops getting the morning paper in an open bathrobe with nothing underneath is more than enough). More times than not, people complement you on your supposed talents as they’d rather lie than deal with the awkward silence of informing you on how terrible you really are.

Ask yourself, are you really that good? Granted, you probably have an inflated ego at this point as you shrug off that very reasonable question. You’ve probably already convinced yourself you’re amazing, that everyone you know concurs, and when compared to you, Luther Vandross was a second rate bum best suited to performing at Vegas drive-thru wedding ceremonies. As a result, you start to believe the hype, with your overinflated ego having you believe everything you do is a gift to all of mankind.

“But Chris, I sing at Church every Sunday, and all the parishioners say I have a wonderful voice.” Perhaps. Let’s acknowledge the first point: those giving you the compliment. The sing along moments that happen in church aren’t exactly inspiring, and many of those good folks are tone deaf. Second: take a look at the material; you’re singing a hymn. The reason you didn’t get booed off stage was that nobody wants to take the risk of booing the Big Man, and thus, being struck lighting in the parking lot (the act of which is God’s personal way of telling you to eff off). But none of this logic matters, does it? You still carry on, probably ignoring some rather sage advice from people very much like myself. You have dozens upon dozens of people telling you you’re great, what does one nay-sayer know?

Fine, you want to strut about with your dangly bits just a flopping about in the wind to the cheers of those around you, praising your style instead of listening to that one voice telling you to put on some pants? Be my guest. While you’re out getting started, I’ll sit here and wait for the American Idol recap which shows you running out of the room, tears streaming down your face, proclaiming that the judges can’t see your talent because of Hollywood biases and yadda yadda.

I know that the overall tone of this piece appears to tell you not to try, to not dream big and all that touchy feeling nonsense that Mr. Rogers said you were capable of, but it’s not–at least not entirely. There’s just a distinct difference between striving for a lifelong goal from a talent you have honed and cultivated from years of hard work and deciding on taking stand up classes because you killed it at the water cooler after retelling a Letterman joke.


 Chris hates anyone or anything which goes against how he feels a sentient being with more than three brain cells should act. He hopes to use his “Encyclopedia Douchebag…ica” as a springboard into becoming a full-fledged, tax exempt religion complete with holidays and greeting cards, mainly so he can steal from its coffers. His hopes are…not that high, knowing that those who needs his guidance most, are unable to read his words… what with the extra flesh from their sloped, ape-like foreheads blinding their eyes from the truth.

When not acting like a complete bastard (which is not very often), Chris writes about all things video game related on his blog iNOOBriated, and his Twitter. He also offers his services as a freelancer for Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer. Yep, he’s a neeeeeerd.

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