If I could only count how many times I’ve crossed the line…
I’ll just go out and say it. I can be a real asshole.
One of my favorite traits about myself—who else would say such a sentence but an asshole?—is that I’m usually very straightforward.
That can be a good thing, and I’d argue it often is, but it sometimes leads to overstepping boundaries when I ignore my filter and just unleash what’s in my head.
Here’s an example of me turning off that “just be a nice dude” filter and letting all hell break loose for, arguably, the right reasons.
The Curious Case of “Dude, You’re Kinda Being a Douche”
There once was a guy in my class during my third semester of college who I used to be friends with. Let’s call him Ashton.
Now, I wouldn’t say Ashton and I were the best of friends. We were, let’s say… Half a step up from acquaintances.
So he and I had a class together with two of my other friends who actually happen to be some of my best friends.
Ashton had the same problem I had. Asscoholism.
But this guy had a certain way of getting under people’s skin. He wasn’t straightforward for the sake of honesty and transparency. He’d never tell a girl she had a beautiful smile just because she did. Nope, he was seemingly on a mission to simply make people feel bad about themselves whenever he felt like it.
The biggest difference between us was that I was at least aware of when I was overstepping and I’d immediately apologize when I realized I was in the wrong. His flaw was that he never realized when he’s gone too far.
I always looked past it because he had some good traits and was overall an okay dude.
Until he did something simply unforgiveable… He wronged one of my best friends right in front of me.
This particular day landed us in a conversation about abortion. Our professor asked us to discuss with our groups whether we’re for or against it.
So my buddy (let’s call him Alex) says he’s against abortion and he gets into his reasoning.
Ashton hears Alex’s answer and immediately calls him “retarded” and just begins verbally abusing my buddy.
I don’t remember the exact verbal beatdown he gave Alex but all I know is it absolutely pissed. Me. Off.
I turned to him and started my tirade with something along the lines of:
“Ashton, you’re such a fucking asshole. Why the hell would you shit on his opinion like that and call him ‘retarded’? If anything, you’re socially retarded for even thinking that what you just said was appropriate.”
I don’t remember the rest of what I said but for a good three minutes or so, I tore into him and it just got more and more aggressive. Pretty sure I tore him a new asshole.
Keep in mind, this was DURING class with our professor not too far away from this Academy Award-worthy verbal whooping.
And of course, that was the last time Ashton ever talked to me or anyone else in our group or even gave us eye contact.
I knew I went a bit overboard and probably could’ve said something along the lines of, “Dude, that’s not very cool.” But hey, I knew I was being a jerk and was fighting douchey behavior with some of my own. I’d bet it never even occurred to Ashton that what he did wasn’t okay.
Although I did have a brief talk with him after to tell him I wasn’t sorry for what I said, emphasizing that I meant what I said in there, but was still hoping he’d understand why I said what I said. Nope. Never talked to me again after that.
The Time When I Should Have Walked Away
So that was me being an asshole to put another asshole in his place in a rather ambiguous situation. But what about when I’m completely in the wrong?
Easy. It happened just last month during Halloween.
I had some of my high school buddies from California visiting me in Arizona. They wanted to party and who was I to turn them down?
We joined up with some other friends of mine and got ready for a night of recklessness… until they couldn’t get into the block party that we each paid $25 for.
To provide some context, you have a vertical driver’s license when you’re under 21. On the ID itself, it literally says “UNDER 21” in large yellow text in the bottom corner.
Arizona has some pretty crazy laws when it comes to bars/clubs and ID’s and the law dictates that you must get a horizontal ID within 30 days after your 21st birthday otherwise you won’t be allowed to drink or to enter bars/clubs.
I’m one of the first ones in and I look back and see my buddies having a hard time getting past security. They’re talking and I could tell something’s wrong.
I walk over and see what’s the problem and get this: the whole vertical ID needing to be horizontal applies to out-of-state licenses as well, including California where no such law exists.
At first I try to reason with the security guards but they’re not having it. They explain that this is how it is in Arizona and it doesn’t matter if they’re from California, Nevada, or Mars, they’re not getting in with a vertical ID.
The whole ridiculousness of the situation got to me. I was with my Californian friends and we had some of my other buddies from Arizona with me. On top of that, more people were meeting with us later so I didn’t want to ruin the fun for everyone else too.
When one of the guards said “It’s the law and I’ve been doing this for over a year, I know for a fact that out-of-state ID’s have to be horizontal after 30 days of their 21st birthday,” I just lost it.
I began to raise my voice and accuse him of not knowing what he’s talking about. Started talking about how my friends drove for over six hours to come here and now they can’t even get into a block party we paid money to attend.
And then it hit me. I was the asshole here! This guy was doing his job and literally had no power to do anything about our situation unless he wanted to risk getting fired for a bunch of 21 year olds he didn’t even know.
Once this hit me I immediately apologized, acknowledged he was doing his job, shook his hand, and walked away.
As straightforward as I tend to be (whether in asshole mode or just regular mode), it takes a hit to the ego to admit I’m in the wrong.
It hurt me a bit to realize that I was taking it out on someone who didn’t deserve it. I said what was on my mind and what was on my mind was douche-material.
But when you’ve got a mouth as loud as mine, you need to be aware of when you’re the villain.
If you can’t admit that and you’re actually blind to the fact that you’re being an ass, you’re not just an ass, but a dick too.
My only advice: keep yourself in check.
Words are powerful.