Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bragging rites

My friend at work said she doesn't go on Facebook too much because "it's all these people bragging about what they did and where they've been."

I happen not to agree with that.  I love Facebook because it's a conversation, and people share things in a conversation.  It is possible to say, "I'm just back from spending three days in Halifax" without being a braggart about it.  Now, a braggart would say, "I just came back from being in Halifax and you'll probably never get to go there in your whole entire mundane life!" and then you can slug him a good one.

I had a buddy named Dave back in the 911 days - still a friend, although we each work elsewhere now - and there was another guy there who bragged just for the sake of bragging.  First he lost a lot of weight, and bragged about losing weight ("You guys need to get rid of those Hostess Ho-Hos and switch to celery!").  Then he quit smoking, and bragged about quitting smoking ("I smoked five packs a day for 20 years and if I can do it, so can you!") but, as Dave pointed out, we could never get him to quit bragging.  Or drinking, because he was sent home from work one night for showing up with a snootful, and then got popped for DWI on the way home.  We never heard from him after that, not that I'm bragging about it.

Bragging is usually the sign of insecurity.  Think about the times you have seen masters of their crafts at work.  I don't care what the task is: playing a violin, rewiring a lamp, hitting a baseball.  The ones who know they can do the job just get up there and do it.  No one needs to hear about how well you can play the violin, if you'll just pick the thing up and play it.  

All the bragging in the world isn't going to light up a room.  A rewired lamp will, however.

And if you can hit a baseball and then run 90 feet, please contact Mr Buck Showalter, c/o Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 

So, I don't know that bragging is the same as just talking about something.  There's a fine line 'twixt the two. 

 Now, if you're talking about doing something that others don't get to do, and you get to because you're a BFD, well, that's bragging.  Take Newt Gingrich.  

Neither can I, but here's his tweet about having a dinosaur noggin in his office. 

America's Most Beloved Adulterer was just subtly pointing out that he was able to get a Dino skull to display, but it's all right, because I listen to T Rex on my speakers in my office (or use headphones to feed it right into my skull.)  And he stole a line from Casey Stengel, who said the parks are full of statues of guys that everyone used to say were indispensable.

We all have our vices, our strengths and weaknesses.  It's good to see someone give up a pernicious habit, like that guy at work.  He gave up junk food and cigarettes and picked up an addiction to bragging.

Maybe that became his new habit, to replace eating and smoking.  Gotta have something!

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