The incomprehensible funhouse of human behavior

Wearing a nametag all the time helps me understand myself more, but it also provides me with an instant psychological analysis of others.

It’s a small, repeatable, portable filter that helps me make sense of those who interact with me. It’s not scientific, it’s not one hundred percent accurate, it’s more of a novelty personality test.

And yet, it never ceases to amaze me what kinds of insights people will subconsciously offer about themselves, simply based on how they react to a sticker.

Years ago, a coworker was asking me if my nametag had limited wearing hours.

Like when you come home from work, he asked, do you take the nametag off for the night? Do you remove it when you’re just sitting around with your wife, watching television?

My answer was a resounding no. Twenty four seven means twenty four seven.

My coworker gave me one of those extended stares you see in sitcoms. His face froze like stone. Then he snapped out of it and made the following comment.

Yeah, but don’t a lot of people just assume that the real reason you wear a nametag all the time is because your wife wants to keep you on a short leash because you never really grew up, never really matured from adolescence, and now you need a mother figured to take care of you all the time?

Whoa. What in the holy hell is this guy talking about? What dark place did that comment come from?

Nice guy and everything, but he clearly just projected his entire dysfunctional vision of what he thinks relationships are right onto me.

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, right?

A bit thrown off by his comment, I replied, well, um, that’s a very interesting question, but no, nobody really makes that assumption about my nametag. But thanks for sharing.

People are so funny. Koontz, my favorite fiction author, says that every human being is a mystery, each mind a maze of passages and secret rooms, and nobody ever really knows anyone or what they might be capable of doing.

And so, if you can find your own little filter to help make sense of everyone you come across, more power to you. Just know that for me, all the nametags in the world still aren’t enough for me navigate the incomprehensible funhouse of human behavior.

However much we appear to understand each other, large chunks of who we are will always remain unknowable.

Don’t you love it when people think they have you pegged?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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