I am a big movie guy. One of my favorite trilogies is The Chronicles of Riddick starring Vin Diesel. In one of these films, Vin says of one of the antagonists "I bet the big jamoke knows." I cracked up. I had to look it up. Urban Dictionary defines it as:
A clumsy loser who is incapable of doing normal human tasks. A local dim-wit or shiftless lay-about, primarily from the urban Boston Area. Dullard." Webster's defines it as "Dullard as (
a stupid and uninteresting person; slow)."
I had a unique experience recently. A famous local fish-and-chips place opened in my hometown. I went there one Saturday after a morning of basketball. I was tired, sore, and hungry. That's never a good combination for me in public. The door was locked. The sign read: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. It was 11:05, so I tried the door. It was locked. I saw employees milling around. I waited. At 11:10, I tried the door again. The 45-year-old manager gave me a dirty look as he unlocked the door. His disdain was as obvious as a hurricane. He pretended to care by asking how I was. His body language told me the whole story. Too tired to respond, I forced a silent smile. "What, you don't respond to questions?" he intoned. I smiled again, broader this time. As he walked in the other direction to open the other locked door, I mumbled, "You are pretty full of yourself." It was intended for just me. "What did you say?" he yelled across the store, loud enough for his 16-year-old employees to hear. Sneering as he walked up to me, I couldn't take it any longer. "Did you not get enough breast milk as a baby?" He lost it. I forget what he said after that. Finally, he said, "Are you going to order OR NOT!" Smiling again, I said, "NOT!" As I left, I replied, "I think I'll go to Ivar's Fish-and-Chips. They are really nice people."
As I got in my car, I thought, "I was a jamoke just now! I could have handled that with dignity and grace. I let him get inside my head. I let him rent space in my brain. I overreacted. I need to remember H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?) If I am experiencing 2/4, I need to be extra-gracious or stay home.
Stupid is as stupid does.
A lot of critics are lazy. They don't want to look closely and analyze something for what it is. They take a quick first impression and then rush to compare it to something they've seen before. -Willem Dafoe
There are all kinds of stupid people that annoy me, but what annoys me most is a lazy argument.
So how do we spot "jamoke-ness" in ourselves and others? I came up with a list of 12 negative behaviors and attitudes that I am working to change. You can take the high road and walk away, like my son Evan does, or you can do what I did, which almost never ends well. Here is my "Terrible Twelve" in no particular order:
They walk slow or not all. They don't care and aren't shy about it. There is no commitment to going the extra mile or even the first mile for that matter.
We make 55 separate impressions to others in the first 5 seconds with others: 55 percent is non-verbal, 38 percent extra-verbal, and 7 percent are the words. This one creates a fast negative impression.
It's a brooding, self-pitying position and attitude. It's a sad or resentful attitude. It's what I grew up with; there were a lot of sullen people in my neighborhood.
Critical/Sarcastic (in a mean way)
Criticism is never well-received. It's "should-ing" on others. Sarcasm can be fun or funny. It's best to make fun of myself, never others.
A function of guilt or low self-esteem, these people are always looking for a fight. They deflect and attack with little provocation.
It's the opposite of humility. The unteachable or arrogant are know-it-alls who show contempt prior to investigation. They are painful to be around.
Pulling wings off of flies as kids. Bullies. Verbal assassins. They hate themselves and others. They were usually mistreated as children.
Spoiled. Self-absorbed. A kissing cousin of arrogance. Narcissists. They feel the world owes them a living.
This one is a choice. They combine lazy with a low self-esteem.
Two-faced. They lie to themselves. There is a war going on inside. A part of them knows they are wrong, but use manipulation as a weapon to recover. They are smart, but conflicted.
These folks are smart on a number of levels, but way too arrogant and judgmental. Self-esteem is their stumbling block. They rarely think before they speak. They are quick to condemn others, thinking that will make them look good.
Arrogant, mean, jealous, and entitled, they combine some of the worst of these into one ball of dysfunction. Verbal attacks and character assassination.
The bad news is, I have been any or all of these at any given time. Most of us have. The good news is, I am aware. I need to be the opposite of any of these every day. I need to:
Work hard and smart with a service-first attitude.
Praise others' strengths.
Like myself and others.
Be teachable and humble.
Be kind and caring.
Understand the world does not owe me a living. I must earn my place in the world.
I must study, read, learn, and keep growing every day.
Be sincere, authentic, real, and honest.
Be silent. Let others have the spotlight.
Be forgiving and accepting.
Moreover, I need to stay away from jamokes, "Anchors," people who demonstrate two or three of these qualities. When I see these behaviors in myself, I give myself a break, identify, accept, and go to work on changing my response. To react is one thing, to respond is quite another.
Perhaps I should go back and apologize, and give that guy another chance. Everyone deserves a second chance. Lord knows, I do. One mentor of mine said one day, "The person who needs love the most appears to deserve it the least."
Doesn't Vin Diesel have a new movie out? Maybe I'll get some fish-and-chips to go, with extra tartar sauce, and swing by Redbox...