The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Not Your Cup of Tea

Found at Happy Hour Art on pinterest.com  by Anita Vasquez-Centeno

Found at Happy Hour Art on pinterest.com by Anita Vasquez-Centeno

Earlier today I ran into an old flame. He is still a friend of mine on Facebook and, in theory at least, he is still a friend. I knew this blog would not necessarily be his literary “cup of tea” and that I risked criticism from him by posting in a place he could see but I was unprepared for my delayed anger over his response to my new venture.

Our overall exchange was pleasant enough. I don’t see him all that frequently any more. We don’t text or talk much and I have cut back on evenings spent at the local bar where we both hang out. I ran into him by chance and, as we were saying “hello”, another friend of ours drove by and called me Effie. My former flame was confused. I told him I had started a blog and was using a pseudonym. He still seemed confused. I was ready to dismiss it since he is not on Facebook frequently and could very easily have missed the promotional posts I made on my personal page. But then he “remembered” that he had seen the posts and had actually read some of my blog articles. There were no compliments about my writing or congratulations that I was finally doing something constructive but I really hadn’t expected any from him. Non-backhanded compliments are not his style. He did, however, say that he had noticed a very small spelling or grammatical error on one of the posts and had taken pleasure in that fact. At the time I just let the comment go.

There is a degree of intellectual competitiveness to our relationship that has always gotten under my skin even though I am equally responsible. I beat him at Words With Friends about 70% of the time–I know, I paid for the add-on that tells me this–and he will no longer play me in Scramble. He maintains that I may have some marginally greater ability with language but that he is superior in all other areas. It drives me bonkers. To be fair, he used to be a high school history teacher and his knowledge of history, both past and present, far exceeds mine. He also knows more about sports and maybe science (as long as it’s not human health and biology) but I could hardly care less about sports, and a man who doesn’t know what his own prostate is or does has a long way to go before I give him greater scientific props. His absurd and infuriating claims extend from telling me he has read more books than I have (how the heck could he possibly know that?) to informing me that he has more developed interpersonal skills. WTF? My opinion of the latter insult is that anyone running around telling one of their friends that they are the better friend has negated that statement simply by making it.

As you can tell, I am still quite riled up about our recent exchange and it has stirred up a lot of old peeves as well.

Given the fact that, at this point, it’s likely that at least a few of the people who know about and read my blog also know both me and the man I am speaking about (he may even read this as well, hunting for more evidence that I am less-than), I should probably feel some shame at airing this dirty laundry here. I don’t. What I feel ashamed about is the fact that I went home a few hours after our run-in and obsessively re-read all of my posts. I didn’t see any glaring mistakes. I didn’t even see any small mistakes. I could have missed something and I may well make spelling or grammatical mistakes now or in the future but I check what I write pretty thoroughly before I post because even the smallest error makes me cringe. I have always been like that but now I have his voice in my head, gloating over even my tiniest missteps. It makes me angry with him but mostly it makes me angry with myself for allowing him to sap a little joy out of my day, and inject a little more insecurity, for doing something that makes me feel like I won’t always be a failure. Shame on him and shame on me.

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