A Vulcan Grows In Bayonne by
(135 Stories)

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories

My Alter Ego

I have not had many struggles with my own values over the decades. I think this is because the values that I was taught as a child were few in number, relatively simple, not onerous and generally have made my life easier than it would have been otherwise. They are applicable to a wide variety of life’s circumstances.

This is damned near always a counterproductive and malicious strategy

I was raised to be kind to others. That was Rule Number One. I was taught to make friends with the friendless, the shy, the marginalized, the bullied. To try to see myself in their place. To be honest. To be respectful.

My biggest problem in following these life rules has been that I also managed to develop a very cynical  world view, and the sarcastic sense of humor that is a hallmark of being from northern New Jersey. Couple that with a large vocabulary, more than a smidge of intellectual arrogance and being raised in a household and neighborhood where verbal sparring was a high art, and I was left with a huge cache of verbal weaponry and an itchy trigger finger (tongue?). As a result, I have on more than one occasion hurt or insulted people when I had no intention of doing so. Believe me, when I meant to, the intent was not in question.

I was also inculcated with one much less than noble value; revenge. That if you are hurt, you hurt back. If hit, you hit back. Preferably doing more damage than was done to you. This is damned near always a counterproductive and malicious strategy, often leading to transgressions against the better values that I have mentioned.

A lot of my adult life has been devoted to controlling my unfortunate tendency to spew malicious rhetoric at anyone I felt deserved it, or who caused me pain. Or just telling jokes that are meant to be harmless, but to the uninitiated, are anything but. To learning that not everyone understands this Don-Rickles-ian world view. Not everyone has the soul (and the arsenal) of a second-rate Borscht Belt comic*. That people who are wrong can usually be allowed to continue to be so, that I have no sacred duty to set them straight. That they might even be right! That two wrongs is more wrong than one.

And I have been pretty successful at controlling, suppressing and muzzling my inner hair-trigger maniac. To the extent that I now feel terrible on the rare occasion when my Sam Kinison alter ego sneaks out from behind the curtain to go all Kal-if-fee on someone.

That guy has hurt people in the past, and I have come to hate him.

Unfortunately, an influence has arisen that has made it much harder for me to maintain that Spock-like polite demeanor. That makes me say things I don’t want to say, to barely suppress the rage I feel at abject, deliberate ignorance prattling on in service of cruelty.

MAGA. Those morons really make me want to release my inner Joker. So far I have for the most part been able to restrain the major devils of my nature.

But it’s getting harder.

*which I keep in a mayonnaise jar on a high shelf in my bedroom closet.

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Tags: values, morals, anger, aggression, sarcasm, humor, revenge, retaliation
Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    I love and try to live by rule #1, Dave, but like you MAGA is getting the better of me lately. Another mass shooting in Texas. My granddaughters having fewer rights than I did. And the gross, twice impeached, indicted (hopefully with more to come) former Prez out there sewing hatred — it is hard to live one’s values these days.

  2. A great description. Maybe insert “slippery” before tongue. Itchy fingers are good but tongues are slippery. As you describe, yours may be nailed.

    Have you brought any of this energy to the political world? I ask because I share many of your characteristics. I am impatient with compromise, slow moves toward reform or agreement, and stupidity. .

    • Dave Ventre says:

      My tendency to despair makes me shy away from actually getting involved in politics; that is an arena that requires more resilience than I possess. That, and my desire to hurl insults at mean people until they cry.

  3. I’m impressed by your self-analytical powers Dave, and I did know you’re a Trekkie from our Zoom calls!

    But as for arguing with the MAGAs, save your ammunition, you can’t fix stupid!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    You were taught well to be kind and empathetic, Dave. Those are values we share. That “wry” sense of humor may not be shared by all and I can understand how it could get you into trouble if the object doesn’t get it. And, like Laurie, I agree that it becomes increasingly difficult these days to find any sympathy for what ails the dolts who follow the Orange Monster and are tearing this country apart with their hatred, fear of “the other” and just plain lies. I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type!

  5. pattyv says:

    Just mentioning ‘MAGA’ invokes so many with an almost uncanny degree of hatred and resentment towards our fellow Americans. This is scary territory. Your childhood values will hopefully get you through the storm. Your parents were extremely wise to instill such values in you. I agree with you about the New Jersey sarcasm. It’s become so ingrained in us it’s almost our natural way of talking. But your ability ‘to know thyself’ and your Spock persona will rule the day, I just know it.

  6. Jim Willis says:

    Your story made me think about how I’ve had to develop some of my own values in life. Like your past, the verbalized value lessons from my loving parents were few in number. But the two lessons I do remember, because they showered me with both, were the importance of love and forgiveness. When it comes to patience, however, I think that most thinking adults have found it difficult to control their anger over the earth-scorching idiocy and serial lying of Donald J. Trump.

Leave a Reply