Saturday, December 3, 2011

magnanimity - THAT guy

My family moved to a new town last year.  As our girls are of an age to start wondering about some philosophical questions, we decided to get them enrolled in a religious education class system at the UU nearby.  We're slow joiners, and after nearly 15 years of sleeping in on Sundays it has been a hard transition to give up some of that lazy morning in favor of being part of a progressive community.

But the girls and I decided to volunteer for the annual holiday decorating morning today.  When we arrived, we quickly became acquainted with THAT Guy. 

You know THAT guy (or possibly several of them); there's one in every community group.  THAT guy who loudly fusses that someone has breathed on his $200 box of tools.  THAT guy who is positive he knows Just Exactly The Right Way to do every job of a large project, and loudly "helps" you to learn the part you're assigned.  THAT guy who, when kindly proven wrong, asserts that you're doing things backwards.  Interestingly, when you're new to a community, THAT guy isn't annoying at all.  He's just mildly amusing.  Even more amusing are the faces of the people who have known him well for years.  And the opinions about him that they think they're hiding.

So when you're helping with a project and are exasperated because nobody can get anything right, pause, take a breath, and watch the person's face as you show them how to do it the right way.  If the person suddenly adopts a look of rapt constipation, or intense interest in the divots in the acoustic tile, chances are pretty good that you're THAT guy.

magnanimity - generous in forgiving; eschewing resentment or revenge.

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