On the Inadequacies of Other People

Brielle had been telling us about one of her art-school friends. “But all she can talk about is, like, he was all like this, but I was like that, and he like did this, and he should have known better, and can you believe what an idiot he is. And after a while I just have to like tune her out.”

“Yes,” Mr. Magundi said, “it’s surprising how much we love to talk about the inadequacies of other people. While you’re on the streetcar, or walking down the street downtown, listen to the conversations around you, and you’ll be shocked by how many of them are about the failures of third parties not included in the conversation. And then imagine yourself as a stranger walking by this very streetcar stop at this very moment, and tell me what you hear.”

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