Saturday, July 30, 2022

Don't You Dare Use Your Insight to Relieve My Unnecessary Pain!

Last week, I posted "Post-Covid Narcissism: The Unnecessary Extra Effort of Custom-Tailoring". The title was quite a mouthful, so I have a nice clear example to offer...after a quick recap.

Last week, in Jim Leff's Slog....
It's a "new normal". We must earn everything anew every time. There is no credit, no slack, no benefit of doubt or money in the bank. It's all "What have you done for me lately?" Our roiling belchy stomachs are the source of all truth, so we mostly just announce at people, rather than interact in a truly personalized way.
Narcissists don't customize. They don't/can't take into account who you are and what you know and what you're like. They don’t temper their thoughts, statements, or actions in consideration of your particulars.
Most of us, most of the time, are blankly uttering the canned lines we customarily say; dreamily expelling pronouncements from the gastric flares within our seat of truth.
This may seem like a bitterly dark observation, but, no, it's actually liberating. It means you're off the hook! Congratulations! To survive this, you must remember that it's always "about them" with narcissists.

A few months ago I received an email from a musician abroad. He'd attended one of my jazz seminars in the early 90s, and told me that my teaching had played a key role in inspiring him to become a full-time guitarist. Thanks for the wonderful insights, Jim!

I congratulated him on his success - he'd shown me a slew of recordings with his smiling mug on the cover - and somehow the discussion turned to the sacrifices he'd made on the way. He'd been through brutal poverty! Once, at his low point, he came home and found that he'd been evicted, with all his gear thrown out in the street! Though we were talking via email, his trembling horror over the memory was apparent. He'd been through the gates of hell!

I figured I'd try to relieve his post-traumatic suffering by offering an alternate framing. Y'know, some of that much-admired insight!
"For 99% of human beings who've ever lived, and a substantial number even today, the very notion of having "gear" would have been unthinkable. Only rich, privileged people owned "gear", and they'd have dearly loved some, even out in the street. In fact, they wouldn't have understood what "out in the street" even meant. As opposed to what? Your palace? Where else would they keep their hypothetical gear?"
Here was his response (not literal - he doesn't speak in American cadences - but it's a pretty fair translation) and final words to me:
"Ok, Boomer."

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