The Taste of Smug

Thursday, October 9, 2014
Is there any fall flavour that turns your stomach?


When I was growing up, I was the most pretentious person I have ever met. I only read obscure books and watched obscure movies and only listened to obscure music.



There was a friend I had years ago whom I got along with pretty well, all in all.

We had things in common, enjoyed talking about similar subjects, were on a pretty similar life path.  It was nice for a while because we could have frank conversations about things, like theology or philosophy, which was a refreshing change from small talk about furniture or chili recipes.

Yet, after a while I started to notice that I was dreading their visits.  I began to get nervous if they called and said they were on the way over: I spent the entire time before they arrived going around the house looking for anything they could criticize: the state of my kitchen, the merit of (“real”) health foods I had, the dinginess of my carpets, the crumbs under the cushions of my couch.

Their friendship was becoming a royal pain in the neck because of the smug comments they brought with them.

How I disciplined my children?  “When I have kids, I am learning from your obvious mistakes. It would be nice if they could behave themselves for once.

My college degrees? “I wasn’t an idiot and wasted thousands of dollars on a piece of paper that doesn’t matter. Was it really worth it?

My clothes? “At some point you want to dress like a woman. I have thought about auditioning for the model reality show, because I could make it.  Easily.  

My weight? “I think a pack of dogs could feed on you for a week, easily.  I work out for 2 hours a day.

These were comments that really stick with you.

I used to love talking with them about ideas, but their opinions of me, personally, were harsh; and they just escalated over time.  There was nothing I could do that they left alone, and they brought their smugness as a permanent carry-on.

Honestly, I can handle harsh truths: they are hard to take, but if they are true then you really do benefit from a little humble pie once in a while.

I can even handle people being jerks.  You learn how to tune them out after a while, since what they are saying doesn’t actually matter.

But the smugness…I just can’t handle.

It says that they are better than I am.  That they could raise my kids better.  That I am less of a person because of what they say.  In the end, you have two options: You can suck it up and deal with it, politely reminding them that you are a capable person and none of it was their business in the first place.  Or you can burn that bridge.


Yeaaaahhhhh….I tried talking to them about a couple things (like telling a woman on facebook that she was a danger to her kids and my friend would “gladly take her kids while she got treatment”), and they were pretty certain they were right.

The holidays can be tough because you are getting together for holidays, holiday parties and general holiday events.  That is a lot of people-time, and people bring a lot of things to the table.

Hands down, the taste I hate the most is SMUG.


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