Reason #99 I Am An Egotist
Starting out, I never thought of myself as having an ego. To be honest, I always had kind of the opposite problem. I cared so much about what everyone else thought, I generally let myself get run over.
That is, until I sat behind a microphone for the first time.
It was in college. I was studying broadcasting. Specifically, radio. An excellent choice with a bright and unending future.
Something about the microphone brought out a power in me. Some might say beast. (No one would say artist.)
I didn't really notice it at first. But, it was there. A confidence. And, it quickly grew.
The beast really came out in my first radio job. I was hired and handed a hosting job. Start time: 5 minutes after the job interview. Ironically, I was to be the evening sports talk show host (and, later, morning DJ) for a small-town Christian radio station. (Ironic, because I was no more a Christian then than I am now. But, I would bring sunshine to 10s of people every morning for the better part of a year, before moving to bigger small things.)
As host of said talk show, I had free reign. And, apparently, I wanted to scorch some earth. I wouldn't go so far to say I was a shock jock. That could never be me. But, compared to the version of myself up to that point in life, I was at least a bad case of static electricity. I had --- ego.
I sounded confident. I felt confident. I was like a driver on the freeway, flush with a certain anonymity, daring people to cut me off, simply for the chance to throw a bird.
(Again, not that I'd every throw a bird. Not me. But, for someone who still struggles to make a restaurant choice in a party bigger than one, I was amazingly selfish.)
I had opinions. I would challenge any takers. I would scoff at people's ignorance.
Of course, when I turned off the mic... I was a walking apology. Was I too strong? Did I upset my cohost? Basically, I was back to me.
Still, I had discovered a different side of myself. Just a tad bit of a dark side.
I eventually quit that job -- a story for another day that involves me being accused of stealing my own golf clubs (spoiler alert: I didn't.)
I moved on to other radio jobs. Some required more ego than others, but the mic always provided the strength.
To this day I try to tap into a bit of that ego. It's probably not a good idea. I'm probably a better person without it. But, I like the strength. I like knowing, and being able to say: I want Arby's. (Just kidding, nobody says they want Arby's.)
I like my ego, though I know I shouldn't. Sometimes, I wish it were bigger.
And, yes. I'll have to answer for that.
So, if, someday, we're both "down south," and you see me chomping on a roast beef sandwich in the only restaurant available in hell, just nod. Please, don't hand me a microphone. It will only make things worse.