A-Holes Anonymous (Originally Published June 7 2010)

It all started a few months back. There was really no profound or life awakening moment I just decided to start looking at my life differently. Sure it sounds all spiritual and new-”agey” but anybody who knows me knows that I am anything but. Frankly I cant grow a decent enough beard to look the part and I look ridiculous in sandals, and you certainly do not want to see my flat buttocks in yoga pants. I am more of a practical rather than spiritual man, the closest I come to religion is praying “Please God let the Vikings make this field goal and cover the spread.”

What was it? I’d like to say it was something sexy and exciting like pulling a screaming woman from a burning car made me question my mortality, or I was diagnosed with some bizarre disease I overcame and have a TV movie coming out on the Lifetime Channel but really it just boiled down to…  I don’t know really. I just came to a point where I feel I reached a new level of self awareness in my adulthood. Wow, that was really profound, I really got to stretch before I do that, I think I pulled a hammy.

Without further ado I present to you in no particular order the Tenets of the Tao of Mitch (AKA how I stopped being such an A-Hole). 

1). Stop taking things so seriously; it makes you an A-hole. I found in the past I would get really worked up about things to the point I was losing sleep. I would get so angry over little things that I would be up all night tossing and turning angry. It would get me so angry that I seemed to be the only who has to care about these things. It would be days later and I would literally be seething over something as mundane as Mrs. Mitch going $16 dollars over the grocery budget.

I would fly off the handle and seethe that she was not taking the issue as seriously as I was. Slowly though over the past few years I have taught myself to let the little things go. It’s just not worth the expanse of time and energy, is getting angry, getting into a fight with Mrs. Mitch and losing sleep to my bad temper really worth $16? 

2).You don’t need to be right; you’re being an A-hole. This was a tough one to learn. Mainly because being right for my personality type is like being tall, it was just natural. My style of being right was the kind where I didn’t need to convince you that I was right, I was right that’s all there was to it. I often would say “I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am right, I don’t know why you haven’t accepted it.” Now I wasn’t saying this to get a rise out of the person taking exception with me I honestly truly believed what I was saying. Now that I look at that phrase in writing, I realize how truly arrogant that statement is.

First I had to admit it to myself, I didn’t want to but I had to. It was time to admit it; I was an A-hole. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an A-holes Anonymous (AHA)? “Hello my name is Mitch, I’m an A-hole. Its been 23 days since my last A-Hole act.” There would be a 12 step program for A-holes. Step one for example admitting we are powerless over A-hole-ism, and our lives have become unmanageable. Or Step eight make a list of all persons we had harmed, and make amends. “Hey man, look I’m sorry that when I was on my last A-hole bender I changed your outgoing work email to read “CockLord: Master of the Wang”, and I’m really sorry I crushed up Viagra and Ex-lax and put them in those brownies I gave you.” I found the easiest solution to not having to be right all the time is to just listen to people. Instead of being contradictory to be right, I ask questions. I want to know more, I want to truly understand where you are coming from. Amazing, you shut up and listen and you learn things. 

3.Be Humble: You’re becoming a cocky A-Hole. My career was going great in 4 short years I went from working at a liquor store, to part time office gig, to full time office gig, to supervisor office gig, supervisor starting up my own team gig, to Team Manager gig. My career was fast tracking and I was loving every minute of it. I could do no wrong, I was the golden boy of the office. I worked hard and got recognition and I reached my 10 year goal of Team Manager in 4 years. I was rocketing down the smooth newly paved career highway. Then it happened, I hit the off ramp and turned down the Team Manager secondary road and my car sputtered out on me. It wasn’t any one particular thing and I won’t bore you with mundane details but it was just a case of a job being a bad fit. The work was not a good fit, my manager was not a good personality fit, my coworkers was a bad fit and so on. For the first six months I think I knew it wasn’t a good fit but I didn’t want to admit it, maybe it was just new job growing pains, I’ll hit my stride. At about the nine month mark I was getting more depressed just getting up to go to work. Finally one day I was sitting in office and I stopped and admitted to myself what I knew all along “this job isn’t for me, I am struggling” Soon as I said that out loud it was if a giant weight came off my shoulders. One long month later I was back at my old job, happy, a little wiser, and a whole lot humbler. 

4.Before you do something A-hole ask yourself two things; Is it worth it? And what do I stand to gain from this? Personally this is my new favourite tenet. Before I fall into a past A-hole habit I ask myself these two questions. For example a week or so ago I did one of my typical Mitch pranks but it didn’t go over as well as I expected. The recipients of the gag did not take the gag as well as I hoped and they frankly were perturbed. In the past I probably would have gotten into a long drawn out fight after telling them to lighten up and so forth. Instead I stopped and took inventory. “Is it worth it?” Immediately I said to myself no it’s not worth it and to be fair part of being funny is also taking responsibility when someone takes offence to your humour. Then I asked myself “What do I stand to gain from this” Lets see I could go on the defensive and be right and get into a long drawn out fight that I really have nothing to gain from. It would be like spinning your tires your own driveway. It really just wastes time and energy and makes a big mess for yourself to clean up. So I just apologized and moved on. 

In the future I’ll expand upon the Tao of Mitch from time to time, I don’t know where it will lead but that is half the fun. In closing let me say; 

Hi, my name is Mitch and I’m a recovering A-hole.

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