Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be, Who Think You Need to Be, and Who You Think You Are.


David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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80 Responses

  1. Avatar Kim says:

    In the wind, in the rain, in the cold — some of the best gear is a Goretex raincoat and rainpants. Layer beneath as needed.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If I make a new acquaintance and we go out to dinner, I can usually tell within a few seconds whether they’ve worked a food service job by how they converse with the hostess as they sit down at the table and any doubt is removed by how they interact with the waitstaff when they come around asking what everyone wants to drink.

    This helps me get ready for whether I will need to tip well or tip reaaaaally well.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

      Can you elaborate? I’ve never really worked a front-of-house food service job. I’ve washed dishes a couple times, but I don’t know what I’d look for, or if an experienced person’s conclusion would be that I had or had not worked in food service.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Do you treat the kid behind the podium as “the help” or as “someone who is now doing the same damn thing that I did for 2 years when I was getting that degree in Upper Middle Class”?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to dragonfrog says:

        In short, do you follow the golden rule?Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Fair enough. So, not so much ‘have you worked a service job’ as ‘do you treat people as humans first’. Same would apply to how you treat cab or bus drivers, shop clerks, etc.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Eh, I wouldn’t call it a golden rule thing (though there is a lot of overlap). There’s a particular kabuki when it comes to interactions with waitpeople.

        How one treats not just the server (which is Golden Rulish) but the kabuki itself, I guess, is what I’m going for.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I may be misinterpreting what you were trying to get across, but I think there are things that might qualify as “treating people as the help” that are not disrespectful.

        For instance, signals that are used to non-verbally communicate what you want with the waitstaff, so you’re not constantly trying to catch their eye, and they can pick it up when they’re scanning their section for things that want doing, not when they’re going purposefully to a particular table – flipping the lid on the teapot, crossing your cutlery on your plate, putting the coaster on top of your beer glass – and probably a host more that I’m not aware of.

        Maybe that gets back to “how you treat the Kabuki itself”.Report

      • Avatar Jam3z Aitch in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Well, Jay may be right that it’s more than the golden rule. But I’d say if you’ve done the job so you can’t really know the kabuki, at least follow the golden rule.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

      My mom’s worked food service.
      She acts like Lucille from Arrested Development
      (mannerisms and all).

      Me? I at least try to be considerate.
      (I may not be so good at it, certainly put my foot
      in my mouth more than once, but still)Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

      I find it’s easier to be kind to wait staff when you view them as sex objects.

      Just kidding.
      I’m kind to all wait staff.
      It’s when I view them as sex objects that I lay it on really thick.

      But seriously . . .

      One thing that pisses me off to no end is people that talk over children’s heads, as if they didn’t have ears.
      That tells me immediately that this person is incredibly dangerous, in that they lack adequate presence of mind.
      And come to think of it, those times when I have reconsidered such a determination, I have come to regret it.Report

    • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Jaybird says:

      This reminds me of when it was supposedly a disastrous gaffe for a political candidate to admit to knowing what arugula was. Pundits furrowed their brows and opposing pols slapped their knees and guffawed at the arugula-loving Fauntleroy in their midst, like people who’d obviously never worked in a kitchen before.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    The comparison of college professors and motorcycle mechanics evokes a different book entirely.Report

  4. Avatar NewDealer says:

    How much of this do you think is defensiveness vs. out right snobbery? How many professor or professional types were bookish nerds with long memories of being beat up by the kids on the football team and now they are a head.

    I am a new and (unfortunately) long-distance relationship with a woman I went to college with. For now, we have to communicate via text, e-mail, and phone call. When we last chatted on Thursday night, we spent some time talking about books and favorite reads. She semi-jokingly asked me “Do you ever read for fun?”

    She asked me this because all of my favorite books tend to be in the rough category of “literary fiction” Murakami , Donna Tartt, Michael Chabon and John Irving are about as mainstream as I get.
    I don’t read much genre fiction like Game of Thrones or the various thrillers that populate best-seller lists. When I read non-fiction, it also tends to be stuff that is unlikely to be found on a best-seller list.

    My girlfriend is not the first person to make fun of me a bit for my tastes in books, film, past times, etc. Sometimes the teasing is light. Sometimes it is “Ewww..That’s a book you read in school.”

    I really like school and I really hate the “Do you read/watch movies/do X for fun?” line of questioning. Of course I read for fun. What kind of question is that? Why would I read a book that I did not find interesting (unless I had to for work/school)? If I am interested and engrossed in a book, movie, play, it is fun for me! Plus there are countless conversations about zone-out or passive entertainment. As in people say “After a long day of work, I just want to zone out in front of a TV.” I don’t get that.

    After a while these questions get very tedious and sometimes I snap and get defensive by being snobby. I feel bad about this but the jokes about what I do for fun are rather tiresome.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

      Does anyone think Kavalier and Clay or Gentlemen of the Road weren’t fun? Actually, I’m a bit surprised you read Chabon, since those two books, for example, would lose a lot for a reader that wasn’t familiar with comic books and Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories respectively. It would be like seeing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern without knowing anything about Hamlet.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I don’t know a ton about comic books (at least, the history it was riffing on) and I liked Kavalier and Clay.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I know a bit about comic books including the early days of DC and Marvel and that they were largely run by Jewish kids with a need for assimilation*. I know a lot about being a New York City Jewish kid, the Golem, and Shoah. I never read Gentlemen of the Road but loved the Yiddish Policeman’s Union and Wonder Boys. Telegraph Avenue was lukewarm.

        *I see the Jewishness of Superman.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I didn’t like Gentleman of the Road. Chabon’s attempt to write like Fritz Leiber fell flat. The writing was simply not up to the rest of Chabon’s work.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m bummed that The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is not the Coen’s next movie (as it was rumored to be for about five years.)

        There really were government hearings on the connection between comic books and juvenile delinquency. (I don’t think they included investigating the sexual implication o boy sidekicks; that seems like more of a riff on Leslie Fiedler’s C’mon Back to the Raft, Huck Honey.) That’s where the Comics Code came from, and what drove Bill Gaines to leave comics and found MAD Magazine.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m bummed that the Coen Brothers are dithering on making the Yiddish Policeman’s Union into a movie to. That would have been superbly fun. Somebody shold also make a Fafhrd and Grey Mouser movie and a Dying Earth movie.

        There was a major moral panic about comic books in the late 1940s and early 1950s. American parents thought the caused deliquency and crime. The resulting Comics Code set back the development of comic books for decade and gave us our oligarchy in comic books. I doubt that comics would have reached Japanese level of popularity or breadth but they would have been more popular and cover more subject matters earlier.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Somebody should also make a Fafhrd and Grey Mouser movie and a Dying Earth movie.

        Are you sure you’re ND’s brother and not mine?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @mike-schilling, if you have two college aged kids than you probably made a lot of bad life choices if we are brothers. ;).Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      You can tell her that your brother is reading about the Huguenots for fun.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to NewDealer says:

      How much of this do you think is defensiveness vs. out right snobbery?

      Is there much of a difference? They’re both a function of feeling superior, whether it’s an aristocratic superiority or the moral superiority that comes with once having viewed yourself as a victim. The latter is a little like becoming the guy who treats all women like crap, because he couldn’t get a date to prom.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to NewDealer says:

      By the way, I am someone who reads literary fiction and can’t say enough bad things about the trend of adults reading books written for pre-teens (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, The Circle), but I will say that you are missing out with Game of Thrones.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        Good books, like other media, written for preteens are good.

        But a good book, as always, is hard to find…Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to j r says:

        Better those than this (possibly NSFW).Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        My problem with adults reading YA fiction is that it caters to a specific set of adolescent concerns, with clans of supernatural characters acting as a thinly-veiled stand in for high school cliques and dystopic social orders representing the wider adult wold that just doesn’t make any sense.

        These things are fine for a fifteen-year old, but I would hope that by the time someone’s age no longer begins with the number 1, he or she would have developed past this sort of solipsism. That is to say, that once you are into your 20s, you ought to have realized that finding your place in the world should be about more than wanting to sit at the cool kids table and that, although the wider world is often a very vexing place, it does in fact make some sense once you’ve gone out into it and acquired some actual experience of it.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        Ah. You’re talking about a subset of everything. I agree HP sounds an awful lot like wishfulfillment (as does Twilight).

        Good “young adult” stuff (I’m belatedly realizing that by young adult I meant something like 12 year olds) deals with suicide, teen pregnancy, bullying — real, heavy stuff that kids come into contact with.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to j r says:

        I think the trend of adults reading books for teens says a lot more about the state of teen fiction and adult fiction than it does about the maturity of the adults in question.

        I don’t pick read Harry Potter because I’m stuck in high school. I do it because I want my novels to not be full of rapes and murders. I can maybe think of one fantasy novel for adults I’ve read in the past decade that didn’t at some point make me want to put down the book and walk away.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        Those are good points. I’ve never thought of it that way before though I don’t read much fantasy.

        My big issue is that YA seems to be defended by tautology and axiom. People say to me: “YA is where all the cutting-edge and revolutionary stuff is happening in lit right now.” I ask for examples and people just say “YA is cutting-edge and revolutionary because YA is cutting-edge and revolutionary.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        Yeah. I’ve seen better stuff out of people who were trying to be awful.
        Pushing the envelope, asking the hard questions — even simple ones
        like “what does it mean to be a hero?” (and, concurrently, when does
        someone stop being a hero?)Report

      • Avatar Jam3z Aitch in reply to j r says:

        I agree with Alan Scott, but would add that I read YA because my kids, and it helps me keep in tune with their world and gives us more things to talk about. Things I like in particukar about Harry Potter and the Hunger Games is the level of moral ambiguity. And Hunger Games deals well with the nature of power, and there’s a great subplot about the heroine wanting to play an active role in the rebellion while the self-annointed leaders just want to use her as a symbol. Those are not immature themes, and I enjoy the opportunity to talk to my kids about these ideas.

        I even managed to make it through the Pretties series, which if nothing else has a message against confirmity and beauty obsession, and a realistic female heroine (as the father of three daughters, that’s really important to me). Twilight, however, I could only trudge through one book and that was painful as all hell. But daughter #1 now recognizes it for the dreck it is, and we have fun laughing at it ( and enjoyed watching the movies Vampires Suck together).Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        What moral ambiguity? The whole thing was a very thinly veiled WWII analogy. House Slytherin/Voldermort has stand ins for the Nazis (complete with blonde-hair and blue eyes!), a concern about mudbloods and the need for purity.Report

      • Avatar Jam3z Aitch in reply to j r says:

        New Dealer,

        I mean at the personal level. Snape is the definition of a morally ambiguous character, Sirius Black is on the good side but motivated by vengeance, Dumbledore has a dark history and his own and others’ suspicion that he’s unjustly used Harry cannot be dismissed, James Potter and Sirius Black as students are inexcusably nasty to Snape and this nastiness is never justified, and they never express regret nor ask forgiveness,
        Ron Weasely deserts his friends, and regrets it not just because ot was wrong but because he fears the reactions of others. Hermione, for a naturalrule follower, is in fact an accomplished liar, the smoothest if the heroic triumvirate. And even Harry himself is less than a morally pure character (sectum sempra!). Also the nasty Malfoys are revealed in the end to truly value love in a way Voldemort cannot comprehend, but they are not thereby brought by Rowling into the circle of good characters–they’re still shits, but not quite thorough-going shits.

        Only Voldemort is wholly all one or the other, but even in his case sympathy is asked for by the author, and the suggestion that he was not necessarily innately evil, but shaped by his circumstances. We’re not to forgive him or love him, but are asked to recognize how miserable he truly is.Report

      • Avatar Jam3z Aitch in reply to j r says:

        P. S.,
        I remember some Christian minister warning kids away from Harry Potter because it wasn’t clear whether Snape was good or evil. That was the first moment I began to think these books I’d been hearing about might be something I should check out. (Then my brother got daughter#1 the first book for her birthday, and our brief moment of sanctuary from Pottermania was gone forever.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:


        I was in a checkout line once when a pleaded for his mom to buy a Harry Potter book. She got really angry, which is what caught my attention. Something about “those books being full of the Devil’s magic” or somesuch.

        I wanted to buy the book and give it to him when they left the store but my wife – wisely, perhaps – put the kibosh on that idea. I’m still uncertain.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        I always find those conversations so strange, my parents (or at least my mom) encouraged Dungeons and Dragons. She thought it encouraged creativity.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:

        My dad didn’t really care.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        Just to clarify. I have no problem with YA fiction. My problem is with YA fiction coming to play such a central role in American arts and letters. In general, it seems that the average intended age for books and movies and music just keeps going down and down. I imagine it is because “kids these days” have more purchasing power than they ever did, so it makes sense. I just remember as a kid, feeling like there was a real lack of things that spoke directly to me and that’s what drove me to reading literary fiction in the first place. IMHO, it’s better that as kids grow up and begin to grapple with adult themes in an adult way and not in a manner that explicitly caters to the 15yo brain.

        More and more I’m reading stories about how millenials are this helpless generation with no real agency, just floating around like so much flotsam and jetsam in the wake of major social, political and economic occurrences over which they have no control. Now, I get that most of this is just questionable trend pieces and click bait, but there’s some truth to it. However, I can’t help but think that between the helicopter parenting and the rampant credentialism that keeps kids in school and school-like atmospheres for longer than ever and the general PG-13 character of this new century that there is something to this idea of perpetual adolescence.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        oh, come off it now! The Boomers were the most propagandized generation — is it any wonder that the Millenials don’t behave as a group? They’re pretty helpful people, by and large, and they know how to work together pretty decently. They also aren’t nearly as greedy and selfish as some generations…

        Their mark on America may be subtle, but it is there already.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        The worst example of YA fiction being read seriously by adults is Atlas Shrugged.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        +1 Mike, +1.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        The worst example of YA fiction being read seriously by adults is Atlas Shrugged.

        I have mixed feelings about this. My issues with Atlas Shrugs are almost the exact opposite of my issues with the Hunger Games. The characters in the Hunger Games seem fine (although I’ve only seen the movie), but they exist in this absurd world that makes no objective sense.

        Atlas Shrugged on the other hand is a very good depiction of how an economy can go to shambles while the people making the decisions have seemingly altruistic motives. However, the characters in Atlas Shrugged are so cartoonishly one-dimensional that it basically fails as a novel.

        I’ve always thought that Atlas Shrugged might make a decent comic book though.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to j r says:

        I’m reading stories about how millenials are this helpless generation with no real agency, just floating around like so much flotsam and jetsam in the wake of major social, political and economic occurrences over which they have no control…. I can’t help but think that between the helicopter parenting and the rampant credentialism that keeps kids in school and school-like atmospheres for longer than ever and the general PG-13 character of this new century that there is something to this idea of perpetual adolescence.

        I hear you, but I don’t think I really see this in the YA lit I’ve read. The world of the heroes is difficult, but they do have agency and they make things happen. A big subtheme of a lot of it, I think, is about making choices to act to make things better, and not just let yourself be swept along. (Twilight excepted–that series has no redeeming value except that the pages can be used as tinder.)Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      I read nobel prizewinners for fun.
      (Not the ones that you’re reading though.)

      I don’t bother to mention it, because,
      really, who the hell cares? If it’s good, it’s good.Report

  5. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    Dumped the Carhartt for Columbia? Are you sure you’re not pining to be a college prof? 😉

    In all seriousness, I liked the post. I’ve done physical labor for a living and I’ve worked in the hospitality industry. If I needed to do it again I would, without embarrassment. And I’m still friends with blue collar folks; why wouldn’t I be? Diversity is supposed to be good, right?Report

  6. Avatar Patrick says:

    condescension, from those (I’m guessing) who regard what I do as being “working class” or a likely predictor that I am not as (take your pick) as well educated/affluent/sophisticated as they are.

    Yes, I know. This all sounds unbecomingly naive on my part, something akin to a white person finding out they get treated differently and better than black people.

    Here’s the thing, for me.

    Those people who bust out condescension? Did you not already know that they were like that?

    Because I generally already know when they’re like that, and I already carry that in my estimation of their character (yes, it’s not in the “positives” column). I don’t normally particularly like people like that.

    If they’re random people that you didn’t know before (and thus didn’t already know that they were like that) are you surprised by their existence? Or by the depths of their condescension? Or… what… precisely?

    I do “scathingly condescending” pretty well, although not too many folks no it, because I usually don’t bust it out… but when I do, it’s usually topped with a large layer of satire and served up to folks just like that.Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Patrick says:

      A couple of thoughts:

      1) I grew up in what is best described as an affluent ghetto.

      2) My father was an MD, but his background was Jersey City Irish working class. He was also a Marine Corps officer and surfer. I suspect this combination of things is why he treated people from all walks of life with a sort of courtly dignity. I just watched the Marine Corps video on Bearing and it very much reminds me of my father and his air of appropriateness, compassion, reserve and authority. I must have absorbed this, because more than once I have been described as “oddly formal” or “strangely polite” with how I interact with people in person.

      3) Artist kind of get a pass on everything. When you go into a big paper mill to a shoot everyone thinks you’re cool and what you do is interesting. The office guys are fascinated with the expensive gear and the loading dock guys see you humping gear. Being an artist is sort of like being a tourist in an exotic foreign land. Whatever class currents are running one way or another, you just sort of float along without really feeling them.

      4) This all comes to an abrupt halt if you try to do what Tony Comstock tried to so, i.e. deal with transgressive depictions of sexuality without the proper social imprimatur.

      5) I knew these sorts of people existed. I had no idea that a “working class guy” would encounter them in a socially awkward way at least a couple times a month, sometimes a couple times a week. And that’s a The Captain, a title that confers a certain gravitas on the person wearing it. I’m sure the number of times one has these sorts of interactions is higher if you’re, let’s say, a bellhop.

      So yeah, I knew. But I didn’t Know, if you know what I mean. More Boyz in the Hood than Black Like Me but we take our opportunities for personal growth where and how we find them.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to David Ryan says:

        I also suspect being an aritst as a cache of bravery because most people suspect or at least know that the chances of economic livlihood are slim to none.

        There are two types of reaction that I used to get when I told people I was in an MFA program:

        1. How are you going to pay the bills?

        2. “That’s really cool. Following your passions. I wish I was that brave.”

        I generally don’t think people respect artists truly because of how economically precarious the careers are and the fact that I read so many stories about people trying to get artists to work for free for the “exposure”. I do suspect that most people intrinsically understand that it is hard life and deserving of some admiration for the try. I didn’t even carry around gear. I was a theatre director which is about as non-concrete as you can get until the finished product and opening night.

        Law School. I’m just one of many arts and humanities people looking for a decent career and one that is vaguely scholarly or at least has pretensions towards being such. Theatre grad school? How many people do that every year? A couple of hundred? A thousand or so? My class in theatre grad school had 50 or so people (9 directors, 8 playwrights, and the remaining were actors). And that is on the big side. My law school class had many, many more and was on the small side for law schools.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to David Ryan says:

        It’s hard to respect people who make a living off bullshittery.
        Particularly when they walk around thinking that they’re gods’
        gift to the world, and their ideas are the only ones worthy of
        any consideration whatsoever.

        I respect art — but I suspect I find it in far more places than you do.

        I respect the artistry of ideas, and enjoy watching them take flight,
        each idea being molded as it is passed from hand to hand.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to David Ryan says:


        You once claimed on this site that a well-trained person with a yo-yo could be deadly in a fight against multiple people.

        Real life is not a Jackie Chan movie.

        It is a bit rich for you to accuse people of bullshittery.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to David Ryan says:

        no, real life is not a jackie chan movie.

        Likewise, most martial arts ought to be
        viewed with a bit of skepticism, as they
        often haven’t been practiced as actual
        combat techniques in a long time.

        Furthermore, many Asian martial arts
        weapons are just pretty crummy weapons.

        This is not to say that one can’t be deadly
        with most of them — one absolutely can,
        just as one can be deadly with a Maglite.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to David Ryan says:

        I know people who have constructed parodies of
        movies that they’ve never even seen. Funny ones, too.

        The best bullshitery is done by folks who are right
        far, far more often than they’re wrong.Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    As I am a gay man myself I feel at liberty to touch on your first point. I’m aware of that cultural quirk of the gay community but have not directly experienced it myself. I wouldn’t ascribe this to any virtue on my part so much as geographical impracticality when I was younger (you simply can not cruise in the woods of a community of 200 people three hours drive from the nearest urban area); followed by my escaping to an urban environment where it was completely unnecessary (Minneapolis in the late 90’s was a gay haven, it has only gotten nicer since then).

    I wonder, though, whether this phenomenon will continue? I mean the pressure to be closeted and the danger of same sexual liaisons have never been as low as they are. The new generations would probably view cruising with the same distaste that straight people do. So one could assume that the cruising culture will vanish with the gay generations that were forced to use it. Then again, gay pairings involve two men and some men can be somewhat, shall we say, less discriminating than a pairing that involves a woman may generally be inclined to be. It’ll be interesting to see if cruising goes the way of the gay bookstore or if it endures in some diminished form.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to North says:

      That probably depends on how strictly you define cruising. People approaching strangers in parked cars? That won’t be around much longer.

      But now a whole new generation of people are arranging anonymous hookups via mobile phone apps. Whatever one thinks of anonymous sex, I think we can all agree that a state of affairs in which David is not approached by strangers at a truck stop is a step up.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Grindr probably has a higher chance of success in densely packed areas and there are probably people who would want to use an app but are too scared to have one of their phone.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Ah yes, an excellent question! I’d define cruising as being seeking anonymous sex in public or near public places. Connecting for casual anonymous sex via the internet, on the other hand, I’d define as hookups and that will go away somewhere around when we all upload our brains into computers and abandon our corporeal existence.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Alan Scott says:

        I seem to vaguely remember a worm going round that was asking the entire internet to “give me all your porn…” (Caused actual slowness, as I recall)Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I like the post. Alot. I come at this stuff from a different angle, I guess, given that since the time I was small I’ve noticed the disregard with which the Uppers treat the Lowers, and have always found that irritating. That might have been due to witnessing my parents striving not only for Respeck from what they view as their Betters but also from the sense of Realization that they thought came from actually attaining Betterness. Whatever. In my own life, tho, I know that I often like to appear and act more Lower than I otherwise might be able to pull off in front of the Betters just to see the reactions.

    Which makes me wonder, given the apparent moral of the story: why did you throw out the Carhart?Report

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Stillwater says:

      I threw out my old jacket because the cuffs were frayed and the zipper was broken.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to Stillwater says:

      I’ve noticed the disregard with which the Uppers treat the Lowers, and have always found that irritating.

      Eh, it seems no more or less bad than how the In treat the Out, or the Blues treat the Greys, or any one of a number of other “We are the privileged” vs. “You suck”.

      I sort of lump it all in with “humans who treat other people poorly for the express purpose of lifting their sad little selves up are on my ‘shitty humans’ list and I can’t really be bothered to care too much about their opinions” category.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        Yeah, you’re probably right. When I was in grad school I remember recognizing – with a very distinct clarity – how MA students were treated by the PhD students. Who had funding, who didn’t. That sort of thing. There are lots of silly markers based on the conflating individually determined self-worth with externally – socially – determined criteria. Status. All that. I’m sure I’m not immune, but it always strikes me as very, very silly.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I have always prided myself in being able to traverse back and forth pretty well between various classes of people. I have an academic background and love talking shop with other academics but it can be exhausting to be ‘on’ the entire time so I don’t sound like an idiot. I also love farmers and blue-collar folks because they make me feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin despite the fact that they often know a lot more than me about more practical things and often I crave that knowledge more. Ultimately what I have learned is that everyone has something to teach us if we let them.Report