Do you think your self-image matches what others think of you? What adjectives do you think others use to describe you? Take a minute and come up with a few. I won’t ask you to share them.
Was inoffensive one of them? Probably not. It’s a Three Bears descriptor. Not overly complimentary but not terribly demeaning either. Just kind of blah. That said, it is a step up from annoying and obnoxious.
As a kid I thought of myself as shy. Social situations always put me on guard. Like our three year old grandson Owen, I’d sit back, survey the situation before I made a move. I was your classic look-before-you-leap kind of guy.
Going to the 9th grade dance at Thomas Jefferson Junior High School in Jersey, I was so nervous. There was so much self-induced and peer pressure to fit in and be populaire. I adored girls from afar and saw them as lights beyond my reach. (Note to teenagers of today – Take a chance. Getting a no is not the end of the world. Life has lots of nos. Once you start speaking up, it’s amazingly how the yeses start acoming.)
Once at the College of Wooster, Ohio I had the chance to reinvent myself. My recent reading of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking made me realize I was more an introvert than shy. I like participating in small groups and really have a lot stay. I love engaging others. In fact, Hannah and I were engaged in 1972 after being students at the College of Wooster.
I remember a professor at UNH when writing a recommendation for me when I was seeking a university position described me “as one who gets along with everyone.” He meant it as a compliment, and I took it as such. Still the foundation of those words may be he’s inoffensive. He won’t rock the boat.
Hannah and I know a local whose kids went through high school and played sports when ours did. He can’t go two minutes without trashing Obama and promoting his favorite Republican du jour (we last “talked” when it was Romney). I speak up for Obama for I remain proud of my vote for him in 2008 and 2012. Any child of Jean and Dan Rothermel would do nothing less.
But maybe I wasn’t as forceful as I could be. He railed on and I took the “slapping” until I could somehow end the conversation and just leave. I’m just not an in your face kind of guy. Inoffensive? Maybe? Tomorrow I’ll update you with my latest.