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What Would People Think?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ego Brain

[Warning: It's long, rambling, introspective post time. If you're looking for anything interesting and insightful, look elsewhere.]

Y'know the System Of A Down song that makes the title of this blog post could be an accurate description of me. I'm a relatively smart guy (a "Brain") who constantly battles with an oversize ego. I've even written an entire song about it.

Now, my egotism takes a different form than, say, an athlete who brags about his skills all the time. No, my egotism takes the form of playing the "nice guy", getting people to like me, and basking in their praise. I mean, I suppose I'm a nice guy. But I'm not - as Jonathan O'Toole once called me - the "model of what a Christian should be like." I'm not the crusading Democratic leader that some of the 1Ls in the Duke Law Democrats seem to think I am (mostly because they kept seeing my name in e-mails I sent out to the listserv when I was the Dems' President).

It's not that I think it's bad to get compliments or recognition. It's just that (i) I think there's One who deserves praise a LOT more than I do, (ii) I begin to take an unseemly pleasure from the smallest recognition (I even swelled with pride when Mike quoted me in a comment during a debate over on Zhubin's blog) and to actually believe this praise about myself, (iii) as I mention in the paragraph above, some of this praise is undeserved, but I still eat it up, and (iv) it leads me to say and do things I think are wrong - or not say and do things I think are right - in order to maintain that approval.

Why do I bring all this up? I'm sure reading weird confessions like this isn't your cup of tea. If people who weren't my close friends read this, they would probably be a little freaked out.

Part of it was that I promised to explain what "The Perfect Scam" was about - just in case it wasn't blindingly obvious from the lyrics.

The other part is that I've been nominated to be class speaker at graduation. Now, there's probably a large slate of candidates and I only have an outside chance of winning. But I had to think a while before I accepted the nomination. Part of my concern was that my pride would run away with me if I won. (Of course, the other concern was that, if I won, I would fall flat on my face. It would almost be a relief not to win.) (But, then again, it would also be quite an honor to win.)

I ultimately accepted the nomination because I think I might have something useful to say to the graduating class of 2006. Or at least, I'm perfectly capable of delivering an entertaining little speech that will make people laugh for 8-to-10 minutes. (Probably stealing shamelessly from my old Slant article about law school.)

So I guess I wrote this mostly for myself. To remind myself that, if I somehow manage to win, I have a higher calling than making myself look good. So now that I've figured that out.....should I even publish this? Should I really waste other people's time with my ramblings?

Aw, heck. That's never stopped me before!

My friends - if you ever catch me acting egotistical, I ask you to call me out on it!

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