One of our favorite comedians is Brian Regan. He does a really funny bit about people that he calls “Me Monsters”. They are people who talk about themselves all the time… no, they DOMINATE the conversation with stories about themselves. Being a Me Monster is something that I try hard to avoid in conversations. That’s why I started a blog, so I have an appropriate place to tell all of you how wonderful I am (that’s a joke, it’s OK to laugh). But in this clip, Brian Regan tells about a social fantasy he has about being one of the men who has walked on the moon, because those are the guys that have earned the right to top everyone else’s Me Monster stories.
“Why do people need to top other people? I’ve never understood it and I see it all the time. Obviously people get something out of it. At best they wait for your lips to stop moving…[wait for it] Yeah, you, ME! ME! you see the difference?!” Then he goes on to describe his social fantasy, “I wish I was one of the 12 astronauts who have been on our moon. They must love knowing they can beat anyone’s story… whenever they want. They can sit back quietly at a dinner party while some other person, some Me Monster is doing his thing and let him go. Let him run with the line while you be quiet. (zzzzz, he makes the noise of a fishing line reeling out) Let him have his moment… yeah, I’m a big traveler… I’ve got a global enterprise… you know, driving on the Autobahn, cause I keep a fleet of sports cars over in Zürich… blah, blah, Me! Meeee!… Well, I walked on the moon… You know, you mentioned driving on the Autobahn. That reminded me. Once I was driving on the Sea of Tranquility… in my Lunar Rover. And I too was worried about our speed, until I remembered, Wait! We’re the only ones on the moon!”
Man, I wish I knew this guy in person!
I can’t stand Me Monsters. You know, a tell-tail sign that you’re dealing with a Me Monster is that he over uses Singular First Person Pronouns (me, myself, and I). Now hang on for a second while I indulge my Inner Grammar Nazi with a moment of freedom. I pick up on this when I hear married people speak of shared moments or objects using the singular first person pronouns. They say things like “my wedding” and “my house” and “my bank account” and “my children” all the while their spouse is sitting in the same room, at the same table and participating in the same conversation! In my mind, the Me Monster should be using PLURAL first person pronouns: We, our, ours… They should say “our wedding” and “our house” and “our children” to be inclusive of their spouse. But the Me Monster doesn’t understand the subtleties of grammar and what pronouns can communicate. Pronouns have power. The Me Monster doesn’t realize that I’ve just zeroed in on his “Tell” like a professional poker player spots an amateur player who’s bluffing. Uh oh, we’ve got a Me Monster in the room.
You know how I handle a Me Monster? I undercut him. He expects me to try to top his story with a better one. But that’s HIS game. He plays that game better than anyone in the room. But he’s a one-note-song. I know his only move. He can move UP but he can’t move side to side or down. That’s why I undercut him. I bait him with a story that is so far below his, so ordinary, that he has no where to go with it. Instead of trying to top him with a story of how much better I am, I tell him how ordinary I am. It kills the conversation quicker than anything. I love the nervous laugh he gives at the end of my deliberately unfunny story. Now where are you going to go with THAT one, Me Monster? Are you going to try to tell me how much more ordinary you are than me? You got no where to go. Check Mate.