January 13, 2016

On Being A Prick

Recently, once again, Barry Bonds was not voted into the Hall of Fame.

Bonds was an astoundingly great baseball player. He may very well have been the most fearsome hitter since Babe Ruth. His stats are amazing. He has the all-time Major League home run hitting record.

He was such a scary hitter that in one game Buck Showalter, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, ordered him intentionally walked with the bases loaded. 

But Barry Bonds was a prick. No one who had a choice wanted anything to do with him.

Bonds admitted using PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) but claimed they were secretly given to him by his trainer. Yeah, right.

Whether or not players who used PEDs should be considered for the Hall of Fame is a big issue in baseball circles.

But one thing I am certain of -- there are many baseball writers (who do the voting) who are absolutely thrilled that they have a reason not to vote for him.

Being a prick is an occupational hazard for a certain type of person. For a good part of my career I was prick. Sadly, I chose to be a prick.

If you're not careful (and I wasn't) being a creative director can turn you into a prick. Mostly all a good creative director does is say no to people. It can become a very bad habit.

I once took over the creative department of an agency that was doing terrible creative work. I promised to give everyone in the department a few months to demonstrate their abilities before I made any moves. But I hated it.

I wound up re-doing everyone's work and driving them crazy. I couldn't help myself. I felt that the only way I could demonstrate my seriousness of purpose was to behave like a jackass. Not being talented enough to actually help them be better, I just became hypercritical and censorious. It was silly, immature, and counter-productive.

Many years later, I heard the following story.

One night the creative department (without my knowledge) got together for a "bonding" (drinking) session. After a few cocktails, the conversation quickly turned to me, and what an asshole I was.

Each person got a chance to air his or her rendition/illustration of why I was a prick. Then it got around to one person who said, perhaps, the most charitable thing anyone ever said about me.

"He's not really a prick. He's actually a nice guy who wants you to think he's a prick."

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