Have You Heard of Not Being an A-Hole?

Internet Archive Book Image / Saint Nicholas serial, 1873

Is it just me, or does the world seem to be producing more assholes exponentially?

Has my personal perception shifted, and I’ve just become more in-tune to the hateful and obnoxious things humans do because as a society we tend to focus on that? Or does the collective conscience of the world continually adopt an even greater and real negative attitude toward kindness and consideration? I struggle to wonder why.

As someone who worked in the news media business for several years, I encountered many “bad news” zealots raising inky torches and eager to live by the creed: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Roughly translated as: When bad things happen, it’s good for business. I was never comfortable with that, but I had to make a living.

Now, in all fairness, I must confess that I have my moments of not being the nicest person in the world. I have my moments of anger, frustration, and unkind words. Just ask my wife. I know I have worn her down, but she has the patience of a saint and a forgiving heart and if it were anyone else, I’d probably be single for the rest of my life. She is the essence of true love and for that I truly love her.

But when the dust settles, and I’ve come to terms with what I’ve done or how I acted toward someone — I feel bad about it. I feel guilty. I feel remorse. I feel the need to apologize and make amends. I feel the need to be kind again.

But I get the feeling that’s not true for a lot of people — and I think that is what perplexes me the most. The fact that some folks are perfectly content with being A-Holes and actively seek to be that way. It’s their chosen lifestyle. They revel in it. And like I said, that’s the part I just don’t get.

How do these people sit down and enjoy dinner at a restaurant with any sense of contentment? How do these people sleep at night? How do they find any comfort or peace in how they live their lives? Are they just utterly blind to the errors of their ways? How do their brains process and maintain the acceptance of actively wanting to be an A-Hole? When did being an A-Hole become a desirable trait?

I’m shaking my head as I often do.

I won’t go into the origin story of how or why people evolved into A-Holes — I’ll leave that task to greater minds than mine. The point of this article is the fact that A-Holes exist. They are real. They are plentiful. And they haunt our world.

Now, there are varying levels of A-Hole. They run the gamut from the person who lets a door slam in your face on your way into a building or rides your ass in traffic to the unfathomable A-Hole who decides they will walk into a grocery store and let loose gunfire on innocent and unsuspecting people because of the color of their skin — like it recently happened in Buffalo, NY. Like the devil’s godfather himself, a hate-riddled A-Hole to the highest degree.

Although innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, I hope in the end this A-Hole gets what he so rightfully deserves.

When I go out into the world these days, I must unfortunately accept the fact that I will be swimming in a giant sea of A-Holes. I can easily pick them out. I must have A-Hole radar. There’s a look to an A-Hole. There’s that determination in the eyes to cause unrest. There’s that smirk of entitlement. There’s that obnoxious swagger up to the convenience store counter, the throwdown of snacks, and the blaming of the innocent clerk for everything that’s wrong in the world. To live by the A-Hole code is to live as an obnoxious jerk set on dismantling any inkling of human kindness, love, and joy.

But in fairness once again, not everyone I think is an A-Hole may actually be an A-Hole. I’m sure of it. I get that people have bad days. I get that people are frustrated (probably with A-Holes). And I get that we never truly know the struggles of others. But even so, there are those out there that seem to delight in making life uncomfortable for the rest of us. And I don’t like that.  

Am I an A-Hole for writing this?

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