Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We're all Stooges.

I know there's a World Series going on, but in the interests of equal time, I'll present this thought-riddled essay on life and living. Have a seat.
My blogger buddy Howard posted this haiku the other day about our behavioral quirks and how our self-consciousness affects the way we behave:
beneath the facade
is a me so seldom seen;
peel back the layers
It got me to thinking about an old thought and something I struggle with when I'm forced to struggle with it.
When I'm talking to parents and they're talking about the behavior of their children I tell them that even though I have no children, I know that there are three types of personalities, and they're based on which one of the Three Stooges their children resemble, Moe, Larry or Curly. I tell them to evaluate which one their kid is and which ones their kids are friends with, because the similarities are important. I know it sounds stupid, but follow along:
Moe is the leader. He's the one that the other kids look to when it comes to moving toward a behavior or doing something when the alternative is doing nothing.
Curly is the clown. He's the one who entertains the other kids and makes them laugh and forget about their little day-to-day struggles. He's a good-natured slob who is harmless in the grand scheme, because part of his behavior is based on what Moe does. If he's not around Moe, he's probably doing something harmless.
Larry is the one who will do whatever Moe or Curly wants. He's the one you don't want your kids to be, because he'll bend with whatever issue Moe or Curly bring up. He's everybody's best friend and a danger to himself and others. If your kids are Larry's you should worry about whom they pal around with. If the Moe's are troublemakers, Larry will follow them, and that's a problem for everybody.
Your kid might be a Moe, which is great if he's an honor student and hangs around with other honor students. But if he's a bad kid, he's going to find Larry's who will participate.
Adults are the same way, but it's more subtle because we behave differently in different environments. I see people at work who behave entirely differently than they do when they're on their own time. That's dangerous too, because they feel pent-up at work and can't wait until they get out of the necktie and can "let loose." We call them weekend warriors, and they're a danger to themselves and others. They were probably Larry's as kids and transferred their Moe following to their workplace, where they blend in until Friday at 5:00pm.
Most of us are Larry's, I think. You would think that it would be split 33% each, but I think it's more like 10% Moe, 20% Curly and 70% Larry. Most of us sway with the breeze and behave in a way that we deem acceptable for our environment. It's acceptable and called "socializing" but the more I think about it, the more I think it may be socializing but it's also hypocritical. At the end of the day we retire to our solitude and think about our behavior and sometimes we wonder why we acted that way. Mostly, we attribute the behavior to our environs or our friends rather than what we really thought or felt, and that's where the hypocrisy comes in.
We're all chameleons to a degree, and we will adapt ourselves to our surroundings. It's the rare Moe who can find his true identity and behave consistently in various situations. I think those are the successful people in the workplace, since they don't have to alter their ideas to fit some structured environment. They are comfortable at work because they are being themselves. Those of us who feel confined by our surroundings are only comfortable in one place, and that place usually isn't the office or some retail job where we have to kiss somebody's ass for a paycheck.
So anyway, I was just thinking - maybe we should try to be a little more like Moe or Curly and be true to ourselves. If we're decent people to begin with, it shouldn't be difficult to translate that behavior to the workplace. The problem lies with making it work on a day-to-day basis where we are as happy with ourselves in public as we are in private.
That's the trick. So, with a bow to Howard, I present this haiku response:
make your life your own
and you'll be happy with you;
and they will be, too.


susan said...

What if you are Shemp??


Anthony said...

Shemp is Curly.

susan said...

I guess I had a blonde moment or was too busy watching the game.

howard said...

beautiful analysis -- i had to think about it a bit, but i eventually realized it's frighteningly accurate.

by the way, i like to think i'm a Moe/Curly hybrid


Anthony said...

Hmmm ... a Murly? Like Crusty the Clown's superfluous third nipple. :)

susan said...

Now that I can relate to.

Krusty is Moe,

and then you have Sideshow Bob and Sideshow Mel.