Some things are worth being proud of. It’s noteworthy to graduate from college, to get a big promotion, to be a really great parent, to lose weight and keep it off, to set a serious goal and then meet it, or to execute a fabulous event.
Even small things can be worthy of some major pride – mopping the kitchen floor, making dinner every night for three whole days in a row, working out consistently, making a phone call you’ve been putting off or finishing a book that you’ve been meaning to for ages.
But other things are not really worth being proud of at all.
And yet, I’ve realized that I am ridiculously pleased at myself for the stupidest things.
For instance, at my office, we go through a tremendous amount of soda. When I started working there, the office provided free sodas for everyone. And then people started going mad; they were drinking four or five sodas a day each and we were running through cases like it was . . .um, water. And finally, the boss said the free sodas had to go because it was just getting so out of hand.
This pronouncement didn’t bother me in the slightest because I don’t drink soda. I prefer water (I know water doesn’t have a taste, but oh it tastes so sweet to me) and I drink a lot of it. Soda, on the other hand, burns my throat going down and then makes my stomach feel unpleasantly full of air for hours afterward. So, no, I don’t drink soda, not because I have such great will-power or because I read a study about how the body of a rat will disintegrate in five minutes of soaking in Coke or whatever, but because it makes me slightly ill.
And yet, for some ludicrous reason, I am preposterously pleased with myself for not drinking soda. I fight the urge when someone tells me what a Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke or Mountain Dew addict they are to reply with a “oh, I don’t really drink soda.” What is that all about? You’d think I’d single-handedly cured cancer.
The same thing happens with gum chewing. Neither of my parents are gum chewers and one of them (I can’t think which) doesn’t because it hurts their jaws. And it hurts mine too. Even the thought of chewing gum makes my whole face just ache (it is right now simply from typing this sentence – the sacrifices I make for blogging). And gum loses its flavor so fast, that after a few minutes, you’re just gnawing on a piece of plastic-y nothing. Then, inevitably, there is NOWHERE to throw it away.
Also, well, let’s be honest here – gum chewing is about the least attractive thing there ever was.
But do I avoid gum because I’m morally opposed to it? No. I avoid gum because I like to avoid pain. And yet when I see someone smacking away on their hideous lump of gum, oh, do I glow to myself about how completely awesome I am for not being a gum chewer.
I know this is the most ridiculous thing ever, this unfounded pride in something I don’t do simply because it’s easier not to, but I can’t really be alone in this, can I?
Tell me I’m not the only one.