Because of Half-Baked Thoughts Like These

Because of Half-Baked Thoughts Like These December 1, 2009

I like to learn new words. It is a strange thing for a guy to admit maybe, but it’s true. My Mom turned me on to Anu Garg’s A.Word.A.Day web service when we moved back to my hometown in the summer of 2005.

Mom knows I love to read, and she loves to play the board game SCRABBLE. Heck, all of her kids love to play that game! We used to have tournaments in an attempt to beat her at this wonderfully simple, yet stimulating word game. And don’t let her Southern demeanor fool you: she is one tough competitor and doesn’t like to get beaten.

Figuring that having moved within 15 minutes of her I might have to face her in a SCRABBLE contest, I signed up for Anu Garg’s service. Naturally, I had no problem doing this because it was free (read no cost and painless to do so. I get sent words and definitions of neat and obscure words and phrases. And sometimes I get sent something weird like the word that landed in my inbox this morning. It wasn’t the word that was weird, but everything around it. Here she is:

Amour-propre or amour propre. Ahhh . . . one of those wacky French “phrase words” that make you feel smart (if you aren’t French). And it has a very interesting meaning:

Noun: Self-esteem; self-respect.

Cool! How do you use it in a sentence, I wonder? This is what I like best about Anu shares a real-life example. Even cooler! So here we go—

“Diaghilev was always happy to trample on the feelings of his colleagues if he thought that the outcome merited it, and at different times we see Fokine, Benois, Bakst, and Nijinsky all desolated by jealousy and injured amour-propre.”—Luke Jennings, “A Tyrannical Genius,” The Observer (London, UK), Oct 25, 2009.

What is that all about? Who knows? But one thing is for sure. This Diaghilev is one way cool dude or dudette (can’t say, so let’s pretend both). Right? Trampling on the feelings of not their workers, not their bosses, but wait for it . . . their peers! I love working with people like that, don’t you?

Sheesh! Talk about disordered amour-propre! The Diaghilev Twins are wreaking all kinds of havoc! I’d call them thieves because they are stealing the joy right outta my workplace. That’s bad for “unit cohesion,” any way you slice it.

Then I look at the article citation: Luke Jennings, “A Tyrannical Genius” . . . A genius and a tyrant, huh? Looks like another happy-go-lucky tyrannical genius is on the loose. Better consult my CIA fact book and see how many divisions he controls in his army. . . . Hmmm, no armies because “Luke Jennings has written several novels and reviews dance for The Observer.” Whew! That is my kind of tyrant!

This new word-phrase of mine isn’t keeping very good company. But it is showing what disordered self-esteem and self-respect look like! It doesn’t get any clearer than this. Maybe Anu’s A Thought of the Day will salvage this mess and make it all right.

Strike One: The Diaghilev Twins
Strike Two: The Tyrannical Genius

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: “Man can be the most affectionate and altruistic of creatures, yet he’s potentially more vicious than any other. He is the only one who can be persuaded to hate millions of his own kind whom he has never seen and to kill as many as he can lay his hands on in the name of his tribe or his God.”—Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and author (1903-1998)

I’m gonna have to call Strike Three on this one because, although the first third of Dr. Spock’s quote makes sense (Man can be the most affectionate and altruistic of creatures), the rest of it just defines disordered amour-propre.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is nothing “half-baked” about this command.

Semper Fidelis

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  • Anonymous

    Aha, this resonates. One of my pet peeves is when personal feelings, ego, and jealousy undermine projects, events, and organizations that are supposed to help people in need. Really!I've found myself in the middle of this PRECARIOUS political BS more than once. It's so awful and shocking to have someone marginalize or outright sabotage your hard work in order to make themselves look more important.Now, unfortunately, I find my own "amour-propre" is getting in the way of helping those in need. And I hate when I can see my own resentment makes me no different than "them."

  • @Anonymous:Yes this happens to us all and it is a constant struggle to control the urge to "steal the joy" and "go for the gold". Show of hands…how easy is this to do (I'll paraphrase here):"Empty ourselves and make ourselves nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."Marines don't do this, too well…I can attest to that! "Luke (Skywalker)…You must complete the training!-Master Yoda Yeah, I know these guys are fictional but this is marked "funstuff" LOL"You must 'un-learn' what you have learned." Its sorta like that and on a minute-by-minute basis. IMHO

  • Um…my kids do this all the time so I have good pattern recognition skills on "bad behavior". Semper Honest…LOL.

  • he man nice article 7Vathan

  • Webster Bull

    Hey, Nathan, nice comment!VVebster (note the cool WW)

  • Note to self…my kids may read my comments. Sheesh!

  • izyperspective

    you guys seem to be having more fun than human beings should be allowed to have here 🙂

  • That was a pretty fun post to write. Anu must have awakened on the wrong side of the bed that morning.And from this post I developed a new acronym. DAP (Disordered Amour-Propre) That can easily be used as follows:"What the heck is up with DAP?" "Excuse me ma'am, but DAP wasn't very nice of you.""Yes, he is quite the DAPper man about town."The possibilities are endless…Sheesh!

  • Warren Jewell

    Well, late as I am, BUT back on the subject . . . (ahem)I have said for quite some time that the only One Who can handle ego is God and He only gives us one because He has one. He anticipates that we will soon enough choose to sublimate it. Hah! Stupid humans!I'll just hang my amour-propre (btw, translated literally, 'clean love' – maybe, 'ordered love' – I'll settle on chastity, eh?)on the humble majesty of Jesus Christ, and let Him carry my ego around. (I reluctantly confess that I do this too rarely . . 🙁

  • Warren, you may find this funny. The very next day after this word and weird surroundings, the word of the day was "esprit de corps" and that "word phrase" kept very good company indeed!