Saturday, January 20, 2007

You Conceited Arrogant Bastard-Jerk of a Pootfah, You Braggart, You...

I know you've cut yourself before,
swallowed countless pills and more
but look inside these bloodstained doors
to see my life is worse than yours.

Why do humans brag?

I was wondering why we, as supposedly the most advanced specie on this planet, have this deep-seated urge to brag to each other the exciting and interesting (sic) facets of our life. These stories, much as they are entertaining, can become quite boring once the novelty wears off.

In book sales, book clubs and even the most hallowed libraries, we could hear people muttering about the latest books they've bought: books written by this so-and-so author. Asked what they understood from the book, they'd blush in embarrassment and just simply say the book was so deep for their understanding, which, to them, makes it all the more valuable. I mean, what is the use of a book if you cannot understand it at all? That is, of course, aside from self-defense, miscellaneous paperweight, surface, part of a costume, props or an impressive collection of smart clean (and unused) hardbound tomes.

These days, it seems that it does not matter what you know but who you know. A lot of people have resorted to name dropping, claiming to have had rubbed elbows, sexual contact or a small plate of peanuts with this best friend of the cousin of a sexy star. In all their nonsense talk, it would appear that the name of the sexy star, who happens to be a complete stranger to them, has a greater effect than that of their best friend or cousin, who practically know them for years or so.

I, too, would not claim immunity to this. I do regret to say that I have probably made one of the biggest mistakes in my life.

Allow me to elaborate. I was waiting for an interview at a certain building in a certain commercial district when I happened to nod my head and doze lightly. I could have hardly afforded such sleepiness during a job interview so I descended to the ground floor to search for coffee. Just coffee. Just something with caffeine that would wake me up enough.

I found two coffee shops, which, to my utter shock and horror, sold coffee at prices more than a hundred bucks each. In my defense, it is quite different just hearing of these things and actually experiencing an equivalent of a highway robbery right in front of the counter. Worse, the "coffee" I bought did almost nothing to wake me up. For comparison, my instant coffee, which costs less than twenty bucks a pack, keeps me awake for at least four hours while this... "special" coffee gave me under two hours before my eyelids involuntarily dropped down. Oh yeah, it did taste just a little better than my regular coffee and left an interesting raspberry aftertaste I could smell on my breath up to half an hour later: an experience as enjoyable as paying for it is not.

If this coffee they sell in "chic" shops really just taste like coffee and doesn't actually have caffeine, then I suppose I should no longer be wondering how people can spend their entire day inside one and still get enough sleep at night.

Interestingly, though, a lot of people do loiter around these shops for hours on end, purchasing nothing more than a really, really small cup of coffee barely enough to drown a hamster in. I am more than aware that these people aren't really there for the coffee or the other stuff the shop offers, like blueberry cheesecake or strawberry shortcake, no. They're there simply because they want to be seen there. How pathetic is that? In my ardent desire not to be associated with these people, I hurriedly left the shop, drank my coffee bottoms-up and headed for the elevator.

The job interview lasted for an hour, giving me enough free time to get the hell out of the commercial district and catch a bus home before finally dozing off into a shallow slumber. I would be first to confess that I had inadvertently volunteered too much information partly, to impress the interviewer, but mostly to bag the job. Let's not go into that, though; I am never too keen to discuss to other people my shortcomings, at least, those that I already am aware of.

Lastly, though, I have noticed another form of bragging, which, at first glance, does not seem to be bragging at all. How many times have we heard of people "bemoaning" to each other how tormented their life is? It usually begins with one person saying, "My life sucks. I just blah-blah, so-and-so."

Not to be outdone, the other will respond, "You think your life sucks? See, I'm this-and-that. Such-and-such happened."

A third person could very well pipe in, "That's nothing. See here, I used to be dum-dee-dum but then tra-la-la and so you see, I live a pathetic life."

Do these kind of people amuse you? Do they enjoy showing the world how pitiful their circumstances are? Are they competing for sympathy? (I do think the supplies of sympathy worldwide has become alarmingly limited) I don't think so.

What I do think is that, viewed from another angle, they are bragging. They're not having a contest just to see whose life sucks the most. They're also trying to outdo to each other that, not only did they experience those stuff but they also survived it. It's like swapping war stories and determining who survived the worst war.

I believe, though, that I have already observed a bit too much, so I'm gonna stop here. 'coz you see, I've already had to put up with a lot in my life. It's really pathetic, dealing with all those people; my life sucks, right? Eh what? You had a bad day? That's nothing; see here...

Alright, alright. I'm stopping here. Really.


vanie said...

hmm. una sa lahat.. since ito ang una kong post sa blog mo. gusto ko lang sabihin na isa ka sa tatlong lalaki sa UP Diliman na pinahanga ako sa kanilang pagsusulat. hehe.

okay comment about the post. actually i feel the same way about people in coffee shop. ang term ko nga lagi dyan "gusto ko sila gilitan ng leeg". and i mean people who stay there just for the sake of being there. :)

anyway, i admire the way you express your thoughts jean ( muntik ko na matype yung real name mo. hahaha. ) keep it up!

Corsarius said...

Arrogance is, unfortunately, part and parcel of being human. Even the most humble person experiences a tinge of arrogance within him -- it's in how it's controlled that's admirable. Or are those words from an arrogant man himself? Yargh! *rips hair off*

How was the interview? :) Hope the results was/will be A-OK.

ia said...

Hmm, that "my life is suckier than yours" is one of the highlights of a Grey's Anatomy episode. [Forgive me but I like all the stories of the patients, not necessarly Dr. McDreamy...]

Anyway. Coffee shops are overrated, especially the non-artsy ones, because their purpose is commercial and meaningless. About those who hang out there, do the math. Of course, in other societies those places are a lot geekier and casual especially with WiFi availability.

More importantly, coffee is overrated. So is Coke. Nothing works on me. When I'm sleepy, I'm sleepy. When I can't sleep, I can't sleep. :)

Good luck with your interview! Choose wisely!

m. bacarra said...

you wanna know why the coffee at those coffee shops cost so high? the secret is in the cup.

disposable cup + expensive paint + logo that shows the dignity of the store probably costs more that each employees' souls sold to the devil + instant coffee = super expensive coffee.

starbucks employee: "what size? large or small?"
ms. swan: "uh yeah large or small okaaay"


m. bacarra said...

oh and i forgot to mention that the coffee has dissolved sleeping pills on it so in a sense you'd have a temporary waking effect then completely doze off a little bit later. :D

or maybe it's just tolerance to caffeine :P