A Theory of Jerks


We’ve all been there, perhaps. Struggling through the day to get things done — noble things, often, for good people. Things that are necessary, important even. Positive outcomes. All that.  And yet sometimes we keep hitting unnecessary obstacles:

The line of people in the post office is a mass of unimportant fools; it’s a felt injustice that you must wait while they bumble with their requests. The flight attendant is not a potentially interesting person with her own cares and struggles but instead the most available face of a corporation that stupidly insists you shut your phone. Custodians and secretaries are lazy complainers who rightly get the scut work. The person who disagrees with you at the staff meeting is an idiot to be shot down. Entering a subway is an exercise in nudging past the dumb schmoes.

Except, as this long (and admittedly often pedantic) essay points out, one of the main points of the Theory of Jerks is not always apparent, but it is this: figure out if you yourself are one. If you believe that you are usually and uniquely surrounded by idiots, well, guess who is the jerk.