Dr House and The Grumpy Old Angus Lady (AKA Real People)


Some time ago I wrote about the character of House, the central figure in Fox TV’s series of the same name. My underlying reasoning for writing was that House’s character was enigmatic to many people and I kind of understood him. My conclusion was that – The underlying principal to his Character is that you don’t have to be likable to be good. That said I was thinking the other day that some supposedly likeable types are far from good. Its discovering the hypocrisy that shows them up. A character like House has no qualms about telling you, you are being stupid and he will tell that to your face “you don’t like my diagnosis go to another hospital and die.” Then there are the likeable types who although they know there is no other diagnosis will tell you they could be wrong, just to keep you happy. Sounds like good beside manner but all too often it is simply they don’t want to deal with the uncomfortableness of the situation. In reality I suspect that most doctors won’t do this as this is after all a TV series.

The types I am referring to are those that pass the buck so things don’t stick to them, those that act your friend and steal your ideas, those that refuse to stand up to people who are doing things wrong because they might need them in the future. Those that will do anything to stay in the “in” crowd. I have worked with people that will invite you to their place for dinner only because they are pissed that you are chummy with another worker they dislike. I have worked with people that won’t tell you they don’t like you but will do everything in their power to undermine what you do. I have had neighbours that will copy what you buy just to fit in with you. I have also had friends stop talking to me because I hang around with the wrong crowd. I even had one friend stop talking to me because his new girlfriend didn’t like the fact my mother was a single mom (stupid girl didn’t realise my mom was a widow). I really can’t stand people that try to be liked at all cost and think this is being a good person. Reality check folks it is self serving, not good. It is possible to be both likeable and good but there are times when you can’t be.

If I have passed a bad report to my boss I would rather her hand it back and say you can do better, than pass it upward and have it come back with requests for edits, and have her say but it was all Bill’s fault. Just to clarify – if you know my boss you know I would be rewriting the thing. Also if the report was good and someone sent it back she would be the first person to say “you tell him it’s bad I looked at it an its fine.” This is the sort of person I appreciate. Real people not actors in the big office game. BTW that is why I don’t watch the show “the Office” it is too real and too wrong.

I know I have touched on a number of issues that seem unrelated but the gist of this is that you should do what is right not what makes you likeable. I used to know a very grumpy old lady when I was a kid. She hated it if you walked over her lawn, she hated it if you left her paper on the porch and not in the mail box etc… That said one day I was late for school and mom was off somewhere I can’t recall, and I walked to the bus stop to catch the bus without my mittens. If anyone knows Ontario in January that is a very bad Idea. I could have walked back for them but then I would have missed the bus so I stood there with my hands under my arm pits. This old lady’s trailer was just next to the bus stop, and I guess she saw me there without my mittens and came out to the bus stop with a pair of homemade mittens. Of course she growled at me for being so silly as to come out without mittens but she shoved them onto my hands. I told her I would return them but she said “no silly just wear them.”

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