Saturday, February 26, 2011

Laying It On A Little Thick

As part of some job training that I received last week, some very smart people showed me how to apply a number of different types of coatings to metal (paint, for those not part of this world). Like many training experiences, this one included some competition amongst those of us being trained to see whether there was any native talent present in our group, or if limited coaching could bring out unrealized skills in this area in any of us. 

Now such efforts (for those of you who have never attempted painting with professional spray gear) require keen attention, a sharp eye, and a steady hand. Not surprisingly (especially to me), none of these qualities were present in me, and my efforts achieved no special notice. Equally unsurprising was that I was capable of applying a thicker film to the surface than was required for proper application. There is another expression often used in common parlance to describe such an ability, it's called: "laying it a little thick". Anyone who has known me for any length of time is probably chuckling under their breath right now (if not laughing out loud), for there little doubt that this is a talent that I seem to have been born with. 

Amazingly enough, I was rather shy as a child; skinny, often awkward, and prone to long bouts of silence. I was far more content with my nose pressed in a book or my face pressed against a television screen than I was with social interaction of my peers. And while I'm sure that this reticence may have appeared from time to time to be arrogance, it was in fact just the opposite. Somewhere in the maturing process that I went through (a process that many including myself would concede has not progressed all that far), my genetic Irish, Scotch-Irish, and Scottish heritages asserted themselves. Somewhere in my teens and almost without noticing I began to come out of my shell, attempt to occasionally lead in activities (even when asked not to), and show unnerving signs of having the Irish trait more commonly known as, "the gift of the gab". 

Entering a career in sales in my early twenties seemed only natural, and accentuated what appeared to be a genetic predisposition. This choice seemed to 'fertilize' this growing talent (as only natural fertilizer can do). Before anyone knew what was happening, the perfect storm of genetics, career selection, and chemical exposure (a top dressing consisting of my own BS mixed with liberal doses of scotch whiskey) had occurred, producing a 'Frankenstein' monster. What was once a shy, bookish, and reserved follower had become a noisy, boisterous, and often stubborn and domineering personality. 

This is not to say that the result has not proved to be of personal benefit from time to time, but it has also been often proved to be a curse, rife with frustration and a bit of self-disgust over the lack of self-control. I would be remiss in not admitting that the resulting combination is often annoying even to me. As for Friends and Family, one can only feel pity for their exposure to a speeding freight train of a non-stop verbiage when in close proximity. 

In point of fact however, I'm not entirely convinced that the face that I show the world isn't merely a persona that I don as a protective armor for what is an all too fragile ego. Like an ability to sleep on airplanes that has long served as an effective defense mechanism against a fear of heights that I have suffered from since childhood, the stubbornness and often non-stop torrent that pours from my pie hole may simply be protection from a social interaction that often terrifies me. 

Having once again and in yet another way provided far more information than anyone could reasonably be seeking in an unnecessary and probably insufficient effort to buffer myself from the world around me, you can perhaps see the heart of the problem. Instead of this verbal torrent providing the protection that I seek, I have probably instead opened myself to further attack. Oh well, there's nothing for it. No matter how I try to control it, the mindless beast within seems always to have its way. Regardless of the feeble attempts that I make to restrain and constrain the dysfunctional behavior I exhibit, I ultimately appear to be either unwilling or unable to prevent myself from laying it on a little thick.

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