|The Value of Assholes
[01/26/2006] [Okami Cio Cio]
We have a lot of folks in Amtgard that could easily be referred to as assholes. Some of them are only deserving of the title part of the time, some most of the time, some only on the Internet. However, some of our grand high asshats really stand out. They cultivate the reputation and embrace the assholelery as if it were a goal. They're rude to newbies and old veterans alike. They ridicule, embarrass and harass. They throw head shots to get an opening. They mock anyone who's not the way they think they ought to be. Many times they're proud of their rude, pigheaded and unpleasant nature.
Now, before it seems that this is simply criticism of such people, let's look for a moment at what they bring to the game. First, a true asshole is an example. He's an example of how not to be, sure, but he's also an example of what we all look like when we're showing our own ass. The next time you want to bitch out a team-mate because he didn't kill off the archer when you had drawn his fire, remember how you respond to watching Joe Asshat do the same.
He's also an example of how you can't please all the people all the time. Satisfying an asshole is very difficult. Catering to him is dangerous. Unfortunately, so is ignoring him. Leave a gripe that he's voiced unanswered too long, and he'll often make sure it's a bigger problem than it started out to be. Give him what he asks for and he might just end up spinning his complaint into a new arena, and still be unhappy. The only thing you can do is be as right and fair as you can be, and calmly explain why you're doing what you're doing. He might be unhappy, but he'll probably appreciate that you took the time to address his issues.
The asshole's complaints and demands can often shed light on actual problems that need attention. They overstate many issues, but at the core of their grand statements are genuine concerns that deserve consideration. When we disregard an asshole's grumbling because they're the one who's complaining or because they complain in an unpleasant manner, we miss a chance to view something that might actually need fixing.
Finally, a good asshat is usually equipped with a terribly entertaining and fun side. Everybody has an asshole in their circle of friends. Oftentimes, we put up better with our own assholes than with other people's. In the end, appreciating them for what they offer and coping with their less tolerable behaviors is so much easier than bitching about how they're annoying, stupid, or stubborn. Besides, when we start ranting about others, it's one of the first steps to our own private assholery.
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