Shortcomings and Flaws: 2018

Years ago a reader accused me of being materialistic after I wrote about my lack of a favorite number, specifically criticizing me for saying that when it comes to my salary, my favorite number is the largest number possible.

After properly refuting the charges of materialism, I acknowledged that I had plenty of other shortcomings and offered to list them in order to appease my angry reader. Then I did. Then I added to the list when friends suggested that I had forgotten a few.

Nice friends. Huh?

So began an annual tradition of posting my list of shortcomings and flaws, starting first in 2011 (the list only had 10 items that year), and continuing in 20122013201420152016, and 2017

I'm happy to report that although the list remains relatively long (34 items this year), I'm removing two items from the list under the advice of my wife. 

ITEM #1: When it comes to argument and debate, I often lack restraint. I will use everything in my arsenal in order to win, even if this means hurting the other person’s feelings in the process. 

Elysha says that I consider other people's feelings much more often when debating now and actively try not to hurt their feelings even when they are ridiculously wrong.

ITEM #2: I am easily annoyed by the earnestness of adults.

Elysha says that I am much more patient with people these days. 

I agree in both instances. 

Also, for the first time ever, no new items have been added to the list. I may finally be evolving into a better human being.  

If you would like to propose an addition to the list, please let me know, and it will be considered.

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Matthew Dicks’s List of Shortcomings and Flaws

1. I have a limited, albeit expanding palate (though I'd like to stress that my limited palate is not by choice).

2. I am a below average golfer (but making a concerted effort to improve this year).

3. It is hard for me to empathize with adults with difficulties that I do not understand and/or are suffering with difficulties that I would have avoided entirely.

4. I have difficulty putting myself in another person’s shoes. Rather than attempting understand the person, I envision myself within their context and point out what I would've done instead.

(I considered removing this item  from the list, but Elysha Dicks said, "Absolutely not.")

5. I do many things for the sake of spite.

6. I have an unreasonable fear of needles (though my PTSD definitely plays a role in this).

7. I become angry and petulant when told what to wear.

8. Bees kill me dead.

9. I become sullen and inconsolable when the New England Patriots lose a football game.

10. I lack adequate empathy for adults who are not resourceful or are easily overwhelmed.

11. I can form strong opinions about things that I possess a limited knowledge of and are inconsequential to me.

(Elysha points out that I do this because I find it entertaining, which is true.)

12. I am unable to make the simplest of household or automobile repairs.

13. I would rarely change the sheets on my bed if not for my wife.

14. I eat ice cream too quickly.

15. I procrastinate when it comes to tasks that require the use of the telephone.

16. I am uncomfortable and ineffective at haggling for a better price.

17. I am exceptionally hard on myself when I fail to reach a goal or meet a deadline.

(Elysha feels that this is only getting worse in this regard.)

18. I take little pleasure in walking.

(It remains on the list but there has been noticeable improvement.)

19. Sharing food in restaurants annoys me.

20. I drink too much Diet Coke.

(It remains on the list but there has been noticeable improvement.) 

21. My hatred for meetings of almost any kind causes me to be unproductive, inattentive, and obstructionist at times.

22. Disorganization and clutter negatively impacts my mood, particularly when I cannot control the clutter myself

(Elysha aggressively agreed with this one.)

23. I am overly critical of my fellow storytellers, applying my own rules and standards to their performances.

24. I think less of people who nap.

(Though I've come to accept and even embrace the 10-15 minute power nap in the middle of the work day, I still think that anyone who is napping on a Sunday afternoon for three hours or comes home from work and naps until dinner is at best a disappointment.)

25. I lack patience when it comes to assisting people with technology.

26. I don't spend enough time with my best friend.

27. I have a difficult time respecting someone's accomplishments if they benefited from economic privilege in their life.

28. I believe that there are right and wrong ways of parenting. 

29. I love saying, "I told you so" so freaking much.

30. I wear my wireless headphones way too much.

31. I consistently screw up my wife's laundry regardless of how careful I think I am, 

(I ruined something this week.)  

32. My blog entries contain far too many typos, despite my loathing of typos.

 (It remains on the list but there has been noticeable improvement.) 

33. I leave my credit card at restaurants far too often.

34. I don't ride my bicycle - alone and with my kids - nearly enough.