Contrary by Nature

I’ve been thinking a lot about myself lately (because hey, who wouldn’t want to think about me?), and I’ve come to a conclusion: I’m contrary by nature. What I mean by this is that I usually do better at something when people are telling me not to do whatever that is. Take English. My eighth grade English teacher didn’t want me to go into advanced English, because he said he didn’t think I’d cut it. I couldn’t write and analyze well enough. Thanks, Mr. Kosmo. I went on to get a Masters in American lit with a side emphasis in creative writing. Another example: when it came time to pick an instrument to play, I chose the oboe. Why? Because it was different than anything else anyone was playing. I switched to bassoon to be even more obscure. Why am I a Yankees fan? Because my brother was a Mets fan, and I lived in New York at the time and wanted to be different. Who cared if the Yankees were lousy back then?

This trend keeps going. Put me in an environment with a ton of Mormons, and I start wanting to do things differently. Put me where there aren’t a lot of Mormons, and suddenly I find myself gravitating more toward mainstream Mormonism (though not really extreme Mormonism–I’ve still got my beard, after all.) Now that I’m in the middle of Red Sox country, I’ve started following the Yankees more. In Utah I didn’t watch much baseball. Now I’m catching games when I can.

So basically, it seems like whenever I have a choice between doing what most people around me are doing, I tend to shy away from that choice and go in the opposite direction. I like being different, and I like doing things that other people wouldn’t want to do. Just ask my wife: whenever she tries to tell me to do something, I’m naturally inclined to disagree. The more someone tries to convince me to change, the more likely I am to dig my heels in and stay the same.

The moral of the story? If you’d like to get me to do something, I’m probably pretty darn susceptible to reverse psychology.

Unless I catch on to what you’re trying to do to me. In that case, reverse-reverse psychology would be the best approach.

And to end on a related movie quote:

Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Vizzini: Wait til I get going!

If you know that film, and put that quote in context, then the reference should make complete and total sense to you. If you don’t know that film and can’t put it in context, then you disappoint me, and we can’t be friends anymore.

1 thought on “Contrary by Nature”

  1. I couldn’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t immediately recall that fantastic poison scene from Princess Bride either. Which is why he spent years developing a resistance to the poison!

Leave a comment