Occasionally, because there is something I want to do or obtain, I am obliged to blow my own horn. This does not come easily to a person who specializes in self-deprecation and going unnoticed. Can’t somebody else blow my horn? Do I really need to have a horn? How about something less brassy, like an oboe?

Bragging used to be considered unseemly. Presidential candidates didn’t go around campaigning on their own behalf. This was lucky for people like Thomas Jefferson, who was so shy and quiet that people had to read his inaugural address in order to find out what he’d said in it. Now we live in a culture of shameless self-promotion, where (to quote Garry Trudeau) “failing to promote yourself is regarded as being arrogant.” It has just given us a president defined by his unjustifed self-regard. I daresay the world is not better for it.

Anyway, when it comes time to sing my own praises, I feel queasy. Yes, I have virtues. Yes, I have skills. Yes, I probably deserve the thing I want. But to campaign for it…ew. I’d rather my work could speak for itself. Alas, people who let their work speak for them are often passed over, while loquacious do-nothings make a charming impression and rise to unjustified heights. Therefore I am learning to swallow some Dramamine and engage in the odd burst of auto-boosterism, no matter how queasy it makes me.

Hope that doesn’t sound too braggy, sorry.


I would make a terrible, terrible rapper.

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