It’s hard to be hopeful about things when you see so much go wrong in your life and those who have been jerks all their lives seem to get ahead. Sadly, it is true that being less-than-polite is the necessary formula to advance in this universe. As writer David DiSalvo stated in 2012 article in Forbes magazine, the overpowering ability of jerks to get their way at work and in life seems omnipresent:
Taken together with the results of the study on overconfidence, it would seem that jerks are inherently quite good at putting one over on us. In fact, they don’t even have to try. They just need to work their trade and earn the praise of their peers.
Having been subjected to the relentless stupidity, mean-spirited nature, and outright shark-like opportunism of these bottom-feeding ladder climbers over the years, I am to the point where the axiom of “you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” may be the last resort I have to turn to.
Sadly, I am genetically incapable of being an artist plying the jackassery trade to the point where I would be eligible for a fellowship to Asshole State University. The reality is, I have traveled down Nice Guy Avenue and, on a whim, took a joy ride down Jerk Freeway. The problem with Jerk Freeway is that, like all crowded roads which suffer from an influx of newcomers and not enough capacity, I got stuck on it for a while during the rush hour of life, and nearly totaling myself in the process. Well, that’s it for the highway descriptions. I’m sure you all get the drift.
What concerns me is that we seem to be suffering from a Jerk-Nado, if you want to go all science-fiction that way. Not a day goes by that you don’t see or hear some sort of idiotic advertisement extolling the jerk virtues of getting laid, getting women interested in you, or trying to brag about hot your girlfriend is, how much money you make, or how gifted your genome-spewing physical appendage is. Let’s face it: men have gone from being a group of well-intentioned, competing Alpha Males focusing on providing the best life has to offer a female mate, to being a bunch of narcissistic clods looking for mommy’s (read: any female willing to give us a sniff) attention.
Forget Polar Vortex; what we’ve got is a Jerk Vortex, and it doesn’t seem to understand what the hell to do with itself.
Being a jerk is considered near virtuous anymore, because to not be a jerk implies you are weak, wimpy and a flat out wuss. Rather than walk with quiet confidence and letting things roll off our backs, we have to trash talk each other and play verbal smackdown. The concept of being a “man” has devolved from the classical examples set by Theodore Roosevelt and General Sun Tzu to the stupidity of Glenn Quagmire, Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber. Rather than speaking softly, carrying a big stick, understanding your enemy and guaranteeing victory before engaging in combat, we rush headlong into a conflict, guns blazing, jaws flapping, and damn the torpedoes, full f—ing speed ahead!
The scary part is, the latter method is way more respected than the former, mostly because it gets the instant gratification of results.
So what if the guy doing it ends up with a bunch of sexually-transmitted diseases, or is indicted for fraud, or bankrupts a grandmother’s savings? After all, if Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and A-Rod can get away with cheating because they were “trying,” if an ex-NFL-player-turned-has-been shockjock in Miami can get away with running his trap, only to lose his job numerous times and get back on the air, why shouldn’t we “embrace the jerk?”
Because, deep down inside, those of us who want to consider ourselves gentlemen (including those of us recovering jerks) know that nobody gives an elf’s fart about the individual players who game, juice and still win. This is why I chose to stop being a jerk and will refuse to again be a jerk. Only a stats geek who remembers this stuff and wants to relive his glory days cares about home run records or profit and loss margins years after they happen. The rest of us care not about the win, but the great stories of manhood behind the win; Jack Youngblood playing on a broken leg, Bill Gates not having a college degree, Dave Thomas being a high school dropout. We remember the nice guys who give to charity, play ball with poor kids, and help a mom feed her family. Those are the real men; they are remembered long after that juiced-up, drugged-up, money-grubbing uber-ass drops dead because he out-assed his circulatory system.
I rest my case, jerks.