My Dad Made Me A Dick

I’m trying Wil, I’m trying!

It should come as little surprise to anyone who is reading this that I am, in fact, a Dick.

No, no, don’t try to sugar coat it. I am a dick. I have dickly behavior and severe dick tendencies.

Perhaps, if you are still for some reason not believing me, we need to put in some context. Then I can explain exactly why I am a dick in this regard and how my Father, the world’s most awesome dude, set me down the dreaded path to the dark side.

What is means to be a Dick

We all have a vague understanding of what it means to be a dick, or not be a dick.

It’s not necessarily something that we can pin down with a few set of rules, but I’m going to try my best to give you a check list, so that you can both be aware when others around you are being a dick, and when you, yourself, are starting to exemplify dicktitude.  I am of the firm belief that we can probably even turn Dick into an acronym.

D is for Definitive

It is incredibly easy to put the world into a perspective of black and white. This has a lot to do with how the brain works. We all create short cuts to make thinking easier and more efficient. We should be very, very clear though that our brains are assholes. They want to make those short cuts as simple and easy to use as possible. That means they distill the entire world down into very short, very clean-cut and often incredibly prejudiced statements.

These absolutes are the path of Dickery.

You can counter the path of dickery by being open and contemplative.

How my Dad Screwed me Up:

My father and I argue… a lot. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember.

My father is also much, much, much smarter than I am.

This has always but me on the defensive (being defensive often leads to being Definitive), and usually forced me to dig in my heels on an argument to try to side step his rebuffs. Over the years, this has given me an ability to shut out and hyper focus on bits of information, and as a result, twist and manipulate information for my benefit.

Admission: Sometimes I have wrong information in my head. It’s not like these verbal sparring matches are prepped with fact sheets handy. I tend to abandon one argument for another when I am proven wrong on a piece of information.

Give me internet access, though… and let me prep… woo…

What I should have Learned:

There is a positive lesson that my Father was trying to teach me. He was forcing me to learn critical thinking and an ability to see multiple sides of a position. I am proud to say that I have learned to do this extremely well, but, don’t necessarily use that ability the way Dad wanted.

I learned the ability to see all sides of an argument. The hopes were to make me a more open and understanding person, but, like a Sith, I perverted those teachings for evil.

Trying to Move Forward:

I am trying, believe it or not, to be more open towards other ideas. It is incredibly counter intuitive for me, but I that is the path of growth.

I need to accept that I am not  always right (even if I am usually).

I also need to accept that just because someone is challenging my ideas, doesn’t mean they are out to get me or deserve to be sent into a serious, near suicidal depression for daring to challenge my authority. More about this in a moment.

I is for Insensitive

I want to start by saying that I do not lack empathy, and I think most people, especially us dicks have a great deal of it. We are fully capable of recognizing when we are assaulting someone on an emotional level.

No, our behavior is much worse than just a lack of sensitivity, it’s a malicious lack of sensitivity.

Once I get into the dick-mode, I turn into some sort of brain eating monster. It isn’t that I don’t care that I’m assaulting your emotions, it’s that I depend on it. I expect you to get flustered and crumble.

This is actually a pretty common tactic for any one-on-one competition.  The “mental game” is especially important in sports like tennis and fencing, and it can be down right vital to debate, but there is a difference between being competitive in the mental game and being cruel.

When you’re a dick, you’re cruel.

I remember one time when I was debating in Cross-Ex (policy) debate, I was marked last ranking in speaking by a lay judge because I made my opponent cry.

I think it speaks to my point that I have to say this wasn’t the usual crying I saw in opponents, but a serious, near hysteric nervous breakdown. It probably says even more about me that I was surprised when my debate coach chastised me for it and almost angry when I found out we had lost the round because of it.

How my Dad screwed me up:

Like I said before, my dad is much, much smarter than I am. This pretty much means that sooner or later, I’m going to get frustrated and become an explosive child about something. This is usually a clear-cut sign that he has won the argument and I must retreat with my tail between my legs to ponder my existence in a depressed and morbid quandary.

Is it really any wonder that after a lifetime of that I have somehow managed to equate winning with forcing someone to have a serious emotional breakdown?

That’s right, I made a teenage girl cry giant, crocodile tears because doing so made me think I had won and it’s because I am an emotional train wreck.

What I should have Learned:

Dad never put me in an emotional state by pushing me there. He is always as cool as a cucumber, reflecting argument and attack with the rapier wit  of a skilled politician. He didn’t make me emotional, he refused to be emotional until I broke myself.

I should have learned to be calm and collected and let my brain do the work, not my ego.

Trying to Move Forward:

It isn’t always easy. I am trying to recognize when I am in that emotional zone, the one that drives me to feast upon the emotions of others as a tasty delicacy more delicious than even fried chicken.

I’m still not very good at this point, but at least now I can recognize afterwards that what I have done is wrong and feel guilt for it.

That’s progress, I think.

C is for Conceited

It takes a real ego monster to think it’s okay to treat other people like sub-human freaks. Actually, I’m not sure that’s the right way of expressing it. There is a complex mixture of arrogance and self-loathing that has to exist to mix properly into a fully formed asshole, but ego is definitely part of the formula.

You have to believe you deserve to do the things you do. You have to have some part of your mind telling you that what you’re doing is okay for you to do, even when the front of your mind is telling you that the same behavior would illicit anger and wrath if you saw someone else doing it.

This is the core of dickery, actually. You have to believe you stand apart from other people.

How my Dad Screwed me Up:

He didn’t.  I can’t actually blame my father for my conceit. He didn’t encourage ego in me at all. He has always been supportive, but he was never one of those parents that encouraged their kids to think they were better than anyone else.

This shortcoming, probably the most destructive one, is entirely my fault.

What I should have Learned:

I should have taken to heart the knowledge that though it is important that I am good in some things, I am also very, very bad at other things. Everyone is equal.

Trying to Move Forward:

I academically know that everyone is equal. I still have a bit of retraining to do with my brain.

I should probably also stop assuming that people don’t know things  I do because they are stupid and assume that they just don’t care about it in the first place. This doesn’t mean they’re stupid, it means they know about things I do not.

Probably relating to sports or cars… or, I don’t know, kayaking.

This is some sort of hardwired and ingrained behavior that I am ashamed of and am actively working to correct.

That said, it’s a long, difficult journey. I have a long way to go.

K is for Know-It-All

There is a certain level of knowledge that leads to dickdom. I believe that level is roughly the same level that is required to play Trivial Pursuit effectively. Actually, the two are linked. If anyone ever wants to play Trivial Pursuit with you, especially if they are serious about it, then they are a mega-dick.

I believe that dickosity is directly related to hording information that no one truly cares about, but you are able to allow yourself to feel superior because you know it and they do not.

This is not to be confused with true keepers of wisdom, who just know things because they love knowing them and share them for the sake of sharing them.

How my Dad Screwed me Up:

Books. Books, books and more books.

Also, Trivial Pursuit.

And Jeopardy.

Have I mentioned that my dad is pretty much infinitely smarter than I am?  He seems to know just about everything.

Knowledge and information have a high premium when you might have to defend a position against intelligent, calculated arguments.

Also, I’ve had internet access basically since I was old enough to remember, so that plays a pretty heavy part in my life.

What I should have Learned:

Knowledge is sacred and should be spread freely.  Also, no one likes a know-it-all, but everyone likes a respectfully knowledgeable friend.

Trying to Move Forward:

This blog is my way of sharing knowledge I find incredibly interesting, and in many ways abating the part of me that needs to argue a point when it means nothing.

I can come here and argue with absolutely no one (and everyone) about things that no one but me, or someone looking for exactly that fight care about.

Thus I can be a dick without hurting anyone.

It’s an important creative outlet.

Trying Not to Be a Dick

I’m trying not to be a dick anymore. I really am. I’ll keep trying, too. I think I’m getting better, but that also means that when I stumble back into dicknastyness the people around me aren’t generally ready for the dicktitude of my dickosity. This usually means I hurt someone close to me, and I feel guilty for it, which can perpetuate dickdom.

There is a very fine line between dickdom and outspoken righteousness, by the way.  It’s hard to always stay on the proper side.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t do one without becoming the other.

I’ll keep looking for a way.

PS: I’m mostly joking about My Dad


Dad is an awesome man. He’s not a dick.

He knows a ton of stuff and treats people with respect.

Everyone should strive to be more like my dad.





PPS: There are 323 uses of or allusions to the word “dick” in this article. This makes me chuckle because I am twelve.