Sunday, February 19, 2017

     One of our visitors used the term, “PIP, a couple of weeks ago. I asked, “What’s that?” He responded, “Previously Important Person.” He said his golf group doesn’t allow any “PIPs.” What does this mean? It means that some people, even in retirement, have to remind us of how important they were. I assume because they are no longer important. Moving to a new state and meeting new people on a regular basis, I have found many “PIPs.” They are not pleasant, and they remind me of the newest trend in narcissism:  “I’m much more important than you, and I always have been.” 

     If you have to tell me how many boards you were on, how much money you made, how much your house in the Hamptons cost, then you don’t belong in my personal space. You are pathetic, self-consumed and out for yourself. You are obviously so immersed in your own accomplishments and lost in your ego, you couldn’t possibly have room for friendship. Good-bye.

     I empathize with people who leave their identities behind when they retire, move, or change careers. I left my classroom of over 40 years kicking and screaming. But when I refer to my past, and that is rare, I always say things like “I really miss the kids,” or “When I was teaching, we used to laugh about teacher tummy or August teacher jitters.” I didn’t list my credentials, my degrees or the positions I held over the span of 40 years. Who effen cares? I don’t care about that part of your career, so why would you care about mine? 

      Retirees sometimes like to replace their number of board positions by how many countries they’ve explored or how many cruises they’ve taken. Do you really care where I’ve traveled or how many times I’ve climbed the Eiffel Tour or descended into the Grand Canyon. I doubt it, so why would I want to know that about you? If you’re curious when I tell you about an upcoming trip, you might ask, but if I run on to you with my hour by hour itinerary, I guarantee you will glaze over. So please don’t bore me with the details of yours. Give me a highlight or two that doesn’t make you look like a rock star. Tell me funny things that happened or scary close calls you’ve had with a grizzly in Yellowstone, but don’t try to impress me by telling me you paid $773 a night at the Jenny Lake Lodge. 

     What is it about us that we feel we need to one-up others? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that one. We’re insecure. We’re without a title, without a strong sense of self, so we have to create a fake one so people will like us or think we are special. Am I insecure? You betcha. Do I brag? Rarely, but sometimes I  flaunt when I shouldn’t. Our new President has raised the Lovemelovemelovemeworshipme bar. He has made bragging a national sport. No matter how much you flaunt your talents or riches, fake or imagined, you will never be as wonderful as him. 

     Are you a “PIP?” Do not come near me. Turn on a tape recorder, and listen to yourself. I guarantee, you will be amazed at how pathetic you sound.