Today’s writing prompt is, “What do people incorrectly assume about you?” The title of this piece clearly states my first reaction to the question. And, while the title is a bit tongue in cheek, there is some truth in it.
I have realized over the years that few people have the true gift of discernment. We think we do, but that is our ego and life experience getting in the way of our reason. Take my case, for example. I do not claim to be the human equivalent of a chameleon, but presenting the right image for the circumstances became critical early in my life.
The details of that learning experience are not important in this setting. They are part of a much longer manuscript that may or may not be published one day, but the outcome is what matters here. As a child, there were times when blending in saved me from being hurt or having to hurt someone.
As a police officer, I learned how to project the persona necessary to control a situation: professionalism, aggression, or empathy. Later in life, as a public speaker and life coach, I had to gain the trust of clients or groups by projecting the image necessary to get the message across.
So, in answer to this prompt. Some people assume I am aloof and a bit of a pseudo-intellectual. Some think I am the sarcastic jokester who spends much of his time finding ways to make people laugh. Others think I am a caring friend who will be there when they need help to move a couch, mourn a loved one, or plot revenge on the jerk who hurt them. Finally, people passing me on the street or in a store may see an older, overweight white guy they may want to avoid because of the scowl on his face.
You know what? Sometimes their perceptions are correct. I can get a bit full of myself. I do love to drop the one-liner that leaves the dinner table stunned for a second before they start laughing. I will drop everything, except my ice cream, to help a friend in need.
On the other hand, that look on my face is just the way God made it. That’s what I have found pleasing about the need to wear a mask during the pandemic. I didn’t need to worry about scaring little kids at Walmart.
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