First, a little context for this post: I have a hobby, one which I love SO MUCH that sometimes Aida (my wife) questions whether I love it or her more. And that hobby is gaming.
When I say that, people automatically assume I mean VIDEO gaming, which I don’t. While I enjoy video games a little bit, I rarely play them. No – what I mean is board and card gaming – and not Magic The Gathering either (I had a long brush with collectible card games like Magic and I’m mostly over them). I mean board games ranging from ones you know - Chess and Backgammon – to ones you might not have never heard of, like Twilight Imperium and Cosmic Encounter. I mean card games like Poker and Blackjack, as well as card games like Colossal Arena and Race for the Galaxy.
One of my best gaming buddies is a guy named Michael Buccheri. He lives in Baltimore, and I only see him a couple of times a year. But we shoot the shit nearly every day while he’s driving to work and I’m dropping Madeleine off at school (free long distance is one of the best things to happen in the past decade).
One day, while we were talking, I started bitching about some people who were pissing me off (no, not you), and Michael (who has the nickname Malloc, BTW), told me about this thing he wrote a couple of years back for a gaming web site we both belong to. What he said intrigued me, so I went to the site and appropriated what he wrote there for this post.
This is it, more or less intact. I cleaned it up some, and made some statements more “general” so that non-gamers can understand it better, but this is more or less exactly what Malloc wrote:
It has been said there are two types of people in this world: those who lead and those who follow. I have a different way of thinking, a slightly more cynical Boolean classification for the world’s population. The two types of people in Malloc’s world are Creeps and Assholes.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and we got onto the topic of types of gamers. Why does one guy like a specific type of game , and another guy like a different type of game? (Will’s interjection for the gaming layperson: there are two major “schools” of gaming, which I will explain in some detail at another time.)
It became clear to me that there are distinct personality types that favor each school of gaming. Essentially, some people get what they want by acting in a passive-aggressive manner, and these people favor a particular type of game: games with clearly defined mechanics, relatively short play times, and little direct player interaction. Others are more of the “in your face” types, and they prefer games with heavy themes, less restrictive rules, relatively longer lengths, and more direct player interaction (i.e. fighting).
Now, I’m sure my “sample” wouldn’t satisfy even the loosest of scientific standards, but I tended to notice that the people I would consider Creeps - the kind of person who is usually quiet, but gets his way by complaining and manipulation – tended to favor the first school of gaming. On the other hand, those whom I consider to be Assholes – brash individuals who never stay quiet when given the opportunity to offer an opinion and who tend to get their way via direct confrontation – favor the second school.
I’m not condemning or condoning being either a Creep or an Asshole – all of us are one or the other. I just wanted you all to think about what you are.
For the record, it should be obvious that I consider myself a total Asshole.
Essentially, when you’re not applying it to gaming, what Malloc means is that there are two ways people approach “getting what they want” - either aggressively (Assholes) or passive-aggressively (Creeps).
After Malloc told me this, we concluded together that the reason those people were pissing me off was because they were Creeps and I (like Malloc) am an Asshole, and sometimes Creeps and Assholes just don’t get along. It didn’t help that the Creeps were complaining about my being an Asshole without acknowledging the fact that they’re Creeps. Furthermore, and as Malloc pointed out, neither Creeps nor Assholes are necessarily superior behavioral models, but it’s been my experience that the Creeps out there tend to believe that THEY’RE better, because they are essentially non-confrontational, and thusly “better behaved.”
So I’m an Asshole. I get what I want by being aggressive, and you usually know where I stand on a given topic. Which one are you? And which one would rather be?