© Edvard Munch, used for giggles

Love me or hate me

56. I don’t believe in towels. I mean, I believe they exist, but I can’t get myself in the habit of using them. What’s the need? All of my clothes are made of cotton, not Rubidium!

Time: Saturday, between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. the next morning.
Place: Some silly bar.
Characters: Pixel and a friend he's known for two years.
Comment that got him all self-conscious for three days:

“No offense, but when I first met you, I hated you.”

Now, I shouldn’t have taken offense, because she explicitly said the phrase “no offense.” So maybe I’m not justified in feeling a little concerned,,, but I am!

See, I’ve long known that I have too much character for most people to handle. 1 But I always felt, in my heart of hearts,2 that the people I’m truly compatible with will like me right away.

I imagine an experiment like this:

  • 12 people are in a room. Each of these people is of varying degrees of coolness and lameness, interestingness and boringness, niceness and assness. Statistically, two will be people I would rather not speak to, eight will be ambiguous, and two will be either interesting or really awesome. Probabilities change, of course, when the ages/professions of the 12 people are limited.
  • I come in and speak with each of them for five minutes about a randomly assigned topic.
  • I leave the room.
  • The 12 people in the room write down their opinion of me.

I always imagined that, if I couldn’t succeed in identifying the cool people, I would at least pick out the ones that ‘might’ be cool. But I also thought that maybe THEY would pick ME out right away.

But my friend’s comment made me doubt my conclusion. What if… what if they couldn’t realize my inner awesomeness?

Suppose, for instance, that I were to go on a prospective student visit to a major private university. While there, I would meet dozens of people, many of which will form tentative appraisals of my awesomeness… WHAT IF THE COOL KIDS COULDN’T SPOT ME? What if my entire way of life were based on the faulty assumption that I would attract people that I meshed well with?

What then?

That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll reply anyway: Well… that would make me incredibly self-conscious and not help me at all.

  1. Others might have less charitable explanations. []
  2. as opposed to my spleen of spleens []


  1. You are so much more generous than I am; statistically speaking, I wouldn’t like on spot about 6 of the 12. Three would think I am their best friend, usually three of the above mentioned six. There would be five of the 12 that I wouldn’t care one way or another. The remaining one would be someone I would automatically think would be THE most wonderful, interesting person I could ever know, and would also be the one to hate me on sight. And not give me a second chance. Did I do the math right? Am I missing anyone?

  2. It’s so weird that you wrote this when you did because all day today the running dialogue in my mind has been, “I’m the friend that nobody likes!”

  3. Kori,
    The irony gods strike again! Actually, I’m beginning to fear that this is the norm for me too. They just don’t tell me until much, much later.

    Ricky Gervais used to say that if you didn’t know who the friend that nobody liked was, you were the the friend nobody liked.

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