Humble Pie

I always sound like I know what I’m talking about. That’s my biggest flaw. I lack humility. My point of view is absolute. I don’t allow for the possibility of being incorrect. This kind of arrogance plays out beautifully in my imagination. I make a profound statement. My audience gasps in awe at my genius. A lone detractor raises his voice to challenge me — yes, it’s always a guy I’m arguing with, probably my father. I muster the perfectly phrased retort, my challenger drops to his knees in abject submission, and I do a victory lap around my desk. In my mind I always win. 

It’s more of a challenge to be right all the time in real life. On social media I type a flip remark into a comment box with great self-satisfaction, not realizing how cringe worthy it reads until days later when I’m very thankful for the Delete function. But there is no Delete function to protect me from myself at a dinner party or when I’m walking my dog. Times like that are risky for me because I often hold points of view like race horses waiting at the gate to gallop forth from my mouth.  

So as I’m walking my dog, Moon, on Sunday morning, a handsome young man in a navy blue double-breasted coat and Gucci slippers is bending over to scoop up his dog’s pile when his tiny fur ball charges Moon, who weighs 80 lbs. “My dog could kill your dog,” I snapped. “Your dog should be on a leash. A dog isn’t a worm, you know. It needs discipline.”

Points of view revealed: little dogs bark too much, people treat little dogs like infants, people don’t train their dogs properly. It was a lot to unpack before his first Mimosa. His face turned red, his eyes watered, and he sniffed. I thought he might cry as he picked up his itty-bitty canine, mumbled an apology, and walked away.

I’m at least 30 years older than he is, maybe 40, but I don’t see myself that way. I don’t see myself as an old crank. On the inside I’m the same smart aleck I’ve been since high school. I don’t think about how my age gives character to my words. He could have told me to go F myself, but he was embarrassed and respectful. It was his humility that made me feel awful. But it was too late to take it back. So I’m saying my apology here now as I choke down this humble pie. 

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