Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy—they rolled through their scandals, we are told, because their wickedness was, as the pundit's pet phrase goes, "baked into the cake."
Seems like a whole lot of baking has been going on, and the smell from the kitchen isn't good.
But while we have the oven preheated, there are a few tendencies of my own that I'd like to bake into the cake, so that they don't offend people no matter how frequently or fragrantly they are performed:
• I worry far too much about things I can't do one thing about, and also things about which I am doing everything I can. (And when I worry, I not only worry myself, I worry others too.)
• As for the stuff I can control, double-check, follow up on or preventively maintain? I usually let that stuff ride, and figure it'll all work out fine. (Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.)
• All day long, I tell people that other people are "good." As if I am the absolute arbiter of that.
• I also tell people that other people are "smart." On the obvious baseline assumption that if I call someone smart, they must be smart because we all know that I am smart. (What an asshole!)
• I laugh far too loudly at my own jokes, and farts.
• You have to hear this (or see this or watch this or read this or taste this).
• Humble-bragging: I may be the jag who invented it.
• I am flexible, as long as we do what I want.
• In jogging and in life, when the wind is in my face, tears of outrage stream from my eyes. When the wind is at my back, I think to myself: "Hey, how about that—no wind today!"
• I talk constantly, loudly and in the most self-congratulatory manner, or so it seems to me the next day, looking back.
• Especially when drinking (coffee or liquor), I present my every spontaneous thought as a revelation of original truth.
• I mutter to myself and whine to others about how much toil this life demands, how nothing is ever simple, how it's always something, how nothing gold can stay and how so many people could know me this long and this well and still be such a pain in my ass.
• And I never thank my intimates for putting up with me, even though I laud myself for putting up with them.
Of course, that's not all that's wrong with me.
That's just the stuff I know is wrong with me, and could think of in like three minutes.
Since you also know it's wrong with me—and since you have known it for a long, long time—you can't complain about it.
Because it's baked into the cake!