Guys: You know that drunk moron at a bar who wants to impress his woman so he sidles up next to you and challenges you to a game of pool or darts? You know that jerk who loudly proclaims "I can beat any one of you!" and then makes awful "ha HA!" noises and spews "Eat that!" or "Beat that!" with every bullseye or ball knocked into a pocket?
I don't like to admit it, but sometimes I'm that guy.
I'm not trying to impress a woman (or man). I'm trying to impress myself. I'm not trying to say something bad about you. I'm trying to say something good about me - and doing it poorly. I admit it. I'm addicted to competition.
I love tests of math and logic, and I take IQ tests on the internet just for fun. I love completing tasks for a grade and comparing my grade to the grades of others as well as the number of hours we studied. I love playing all sorts of games against friends and strangers, and I keep a backgammon board in my trunk for impromptu sessions. I love racing anything and seeing who will win. When I was a reporter, I didn't have to write the most stories but I had to have the best stories faster and on the front page. When I worked in public relations, I had to have the most media hits on campaigns and come up with the best and brightest ideas. I had to be a better writer, a better thinker and a better schmoozer than all the others.
I'm the one who would cover her test paper so others couldn't cheat. I'm the one who wouldn't allow do-overs.
Faster, more, better, nicer, smarter, cleverer, meaner, stronger, braver, funnier. It's my curse, and I have been known to wear myself out in my quest for perfection.
While at an employee cookout at an ex-boyfriend's boss' house, I discovered Smirnoff Ice for the first time. A million bottles of it sat nestled among chunks of ice in a huge cooler under the biggest tree in the yard that spiked the ground halfway between the rib-covered grill and the volleyball net. After two or three bottles, I decided I could never live without them, lots of them, all of them. It didn't help that I was already determined to get drunk that day so I could be more at ease with the boss and all his boring older friends.
Most everything after the fifth or sixth Smirnoff is a blur except for the memory of me holding a volleyball and - loudly and provocatively - challenging five or six 20-something sportsmen to a game. If memory serves, I basically told all the muscly bodybuilder-looking guys that they could suck my ass and that I was going to turn each one of them into a whimpering child on that court and that there was nothing they could do about it.
I hit my serves hard. They missed a lot of them. I laughed and taunted them with, "What? Can't handle playing against a girrrrrl?" All they came back with were insults over me being left handed. I laughed harder.
I was loud. I was cursing. I crouched into attack position on more than one occasion. I jammed my wrist diving into the net for a spike. I got filthy. I was covered in sweat. I was exhausted.
My team won.