The following blog was originally written for another publication. There was some disagreement/misunderstanding about the nature of the article and eventually we (my editor and I) walked away from the project. I’ve left out the link from the sponsor and added pictures to break up the text. The following is a work of fiction.
AM I NICE GUY?
It’s something that’s plagued me for years this question. Am I a nice guy? What does that mean to be a nice guy? There is a nice guy test you can take online, but what does that prove? I can feign niceness for the sake of passing a test, much like one can feign charm when wanting that last drink from the barman after last orders.
From my personal experience, I’ve found the nicest people are either in Public Relations or the Fitness Industry. They have the required traits like patience, good listening capabilities and optimism. Think about it, have you ever met a grumpy personal trainer? Or a doleful personal assistant? Being a grouch just isn’t in their lexicon, and if it is, I can’t imagine they’d survive in that line of work for long.
Isn’t it weird also that if you ever meet someone with a modicum of fame, and they turn out to be nice, it’s the first thing you mention to someone. “I met Gary Linekar the other night at a benefit, do you know what, he’s actually really nice”. But why wouldn’t they be nice? Surely being nice should be everybody’s default setting. But is it mine? Then I remembered a story that persuaded me that I’m ok guy after all. So if you don’t mind, I’d like to regale my ‘I’m an ok guy’ anecdote to you.
Let me dial you back 5 years ago, my boiler packs in and I have to suffer the interminable task of resolving a broken boiler. Successive calls to the boiler company, always on hold, always transferred, always cut-off, repeat. The process was racked with futility and I seem to remember it lasting all winter, when in reality it was probably just a couple of weeks. Actually, days.
To escape the freezing perpetual misery, one night I went over the road for a drink. At the bar I was accosted by an absolute unit of a human being, for the sake of the story I’ll call him Dan. Dan was a renowned raconteur, an irascible brute and the toughest guy I’d ever met. He had multiple pins and plates in his body, mostly accredited to the injuries picked up from bar brawls. A friend told me once he’s 60% exoskeleton, impervious, and when he hits something, it stays hit. Like a Freddy Flintoff cover drive. (Timely Ashes Cricket related reference). I knew him through association, we were barely on nodding terms – the lowest level of bare civility.
Hearing my own name come out of this wrecking balls’ mouth was as sobering as coffee.
“My missus works for the company thats fixing your boiler, you called her up the other night.”
This was it. I was marked for death. God what did I say to his missus? They’ve probably taped it as well. They tell you they record conversations don’t they for training purposes. He’s probably listened to my entire tirade, pillaring his girlfriend like a school yard bully, reducing her to a sobbing wreck. She’s been crying in his arms all day and now those biomechatronic arms are going to punch daylight through me, as Bukowski would say.
“She said you’re the nicest guy she’s spoken to all week. She hates her job, everyone has a go at her about their boilers. Want a beer?”
Let me tell you that from the brink of death, that beer tasted like nectar from the gods. On the walk home I thought, oh yeah, I am a nice guy. For a minute I thought I was Don Johnson from Tin Cup; the charismatic playboy-golfer who gets instantly denatured when Rene Russo see’s him off-camera dismissing old people and their ugly dogs.
Ok I may be damning myself with faint praise, that’s not to say I haven’t hung up on the odd cold-caller. But generally I think I’m ok. Because being nice shouldn’t be a calorie burner. It costs nothing and it gets you further down the road. It got me a free pint didn’t it? Chances are if you’re wondering if you’re a nice guy, then you probably already are. Having any kind of conscience, or thinking on the ramifications of your everyday interactions, shows you care. But just to be sure take this test, you might be a right COCK.
These are my thoughts and this article is endorsed by no one. Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.