There's a Fungus Among Us

[via Red & Blue Make Green by TK Camas]

Etiquette in the Age of Social Media: Admirable Conduct as a Disconnected Human
by Alyas Whilebitz c. the Numerical Years

Chapter 2 
There’s a Fungus Among Us 
Mangus Fries

“It’s the intention that drives us. It’s the unintended that defines us.” 
- EV Maddox

A person who brags openly admits that she (for the sake of redundantly repeating she/he, each will be interspersed throughout, randomly) feels inadequate when she looks at the world and compares herself to it. A person who is not only confident in who she is but who is also confident in what she does, lacks the need to brag. A person who is awesome, amazing is known by the world as awesome and amazing, thereby removing any need for the awesome, amazing person to then tell the world, in effect bragging, that she is in fact awesome and amazing. Thus, a person who brags, does not feel as though the world thinks him awesome or amazing, which then requires the braggadocio as a statement by the braggart, himself, to the world that he thinks he is awesome and amazing. 

This then is the reason why I say here that braggarts are losers. Give them no attention. Do not worry about a braggart’s brag. Do, nevertheless, know what the different types of braggarts are in order to distinguish the various, potential harm a certain braggart in your life is capable of inflicting. Outlined throughout the rest of this chapter are the differing Tiers and Levels of harmless to harmful types of braggarts. As we progress through the various Tiers, know that all higher-level Tier behavior includes the already stated lower-level behaviors within the same Tier. (For example: a Boletus Tier, Level III, also exhibits all of the behaviors applied to Boletus Tier, Levels I and II, etc., etc., but a Polypore Tier, Level II, may not necessarily exhibit any of the behaviors of any Boletus Tier Levels, but for the most part, all braggarts exhibit behaviors of multiple Tier and Level combinations, just not necessarily.) Let us begin. 

Tier1 - Boletus

Boletus-Tier braggarts are defined as possessing a greatly blessed life that then must be shared.

Damage Potential: 0-4 
Most are harmless, albeit tiresome, some can be harmful but not deadly. 

Signifying Behavior by Intensity Level:
  1. Uber-spirituality, sharing of obscenely, mindless, positive quotes, proverbs, scripture, etc., everything is pretty, pictures are mostly of nature
  2. Litters posts with #blessed, attempts to always be the optimist
  3. “Life [or whatever their existential philosophy may be] is good to those who ___________.” 
  4. “Jesus [or again, whatever their spiritual affinity] Loves You,” along with uplifting posts about how “This is God’s [or whomever they worship] love,” “All you need is love,” “I believe in love,” as if they can speak for god, itself.

Watch out for:
  1. vapidity, ditsiness 
  2. constant cheerfulness
  3. ignorant optimism
  4. hypocrisy, judgment, religious extremism 

How Best to Interact With:
Largely easy to ignore, unknown if unseen
Best to be friendly toward, everyone knows at least one, and they are, in general, too friendly
Prepare the self to be “judged but loved,” since they tend to be stuck up
No need to even engage, but in the unfortunate circumstance of being in their presence, it will be a losing battle since they are so lost in their own inability to deal with the world without the crutch of their spiritual beliefs

Tier 2 - Waxcap

Waxcap-Tier braggarts are defined by their transparency in fabricating things about which to brag, but they also raise feelings of sympathy and pity. At least, however, they are honest with their own position in life even if they do not feel the need to admit it out loud. 

Damage Potential: 1-4
Rarely a problem unless the braggart also exhibits traits of higher-tier braggart types.

Signifying Behavior by Intensity Level:
  1. An overwhelming love for “natural,” not necessarily nature lest the distinction causes confusion
  2. Exercise Enthusiasts who are not fit, share fitness routines without any concrete details of proficiency
  3. Selfies with or of coffee, lattes, disposable big-brand cups, etc.
  4. Extreme cases of “thrifting,” DIY hobbyists, or generally, hipsters

Watch out for:
  1. know-it-all-ness, snobbishness 
  2. lectures incessantly about what “works for me,” seemingly tolerant but hardly are
  3. a lot of talk with little walk, dull conversationalist, a square
  4. back-handed comments about “how everyone must live a more responsible life,” as an SUV sits in the driveway (but it is a hybrid)

How Best to Interact With:
Cordiality works best with a mild reserve so as not to get this tier-type riled up
Stay away from topics regarding lifestyle choices
Assume vegetarianism, but not strictly, unless if in the company of “important” people
Suggest coffee at home and the get-together will mysteriously be canceled, since without an audience, why do anything

Tier3 - Stinkhorn

Stinkhorn-Tier is defined as the “Genuine Braggart,” can be seen coming from a mile away. This also means a Stinkhorn-Tier braggart does not backstab, since they are straightforward with how much better their life is. However, they often times forget that their life is shallow.

Damage Potential: 0-10
Since without a soul a person cannot empathize, the damage range is vast, but the damage also depends upon the receiver of the bragg's own emotional strength and confidence. However, the braggadocio of a Genuine Braggart ought to be largely ignored because mostly, the damage is done to their own selves through an overwhelming lack of care for those around them.

Signifying Behavior by Intensity Level:
  1. Posts at least once per day about themselves, regarding how awesome they are
  2. Posts a few times per day about the self’s awesomeness, with at least one selfie
  3. Posts all day long only about the self and its awesomeness
  4. Posts constantly, about every aspect of waking life, sometimes an entire day’s worth of posts will be selfies

Watch out for:
  1. shallowness of life
  2. one-way street mentality
  3. lack of empathy
  4. extreme entitlement

How Best to Interact With:
Ignore and be ignored
Avoid or be sucked into their needy vortex of constant validation and approval
Beware of outbursts of accusatory negativity if things do not go their way
Those who do not agree with their awesomeness will be harassed, put down and humiliated, and seen as a “hater”

Tier 4 - Polypore

Polypore-Tier braggarts are defined as determined to be better than everyone, at least, everyone around them. Their one sole goal in life is to gain fame, unearned.

Damage Potential: 3-7
Largely unknown since this sort of person does not give a flying fit about anyone or anything except their own image, meaning, since they see no other people in the world, they rarely give another person enough attention necessary to inflict real harm.

Signifying Behavior by Intensity Level:
  1. Fashion obsessed, always made-up, image obsessed, looks perfect, “in-the-know”
  2. No candid pics exist, nor do original thoughts, always “hitting the gym”
  3. Blatant lying about their own capabilities
  4. Name-dropping, mouth runners

Watch out for:
  1. vapidity, extreme stupidity
  2. conceit, pride, challenges of competition
  3. two-faced, will bad mouth when necessary, as in the situation of “getting in” with the “right people”
  4. aloof, self-centered, cannot have meaningful relationships

How Best to Interact With:
Levels 1-4
Basically try to avoid interactions with any Polypore-Tier braggarts and merely glance at them from a safe emotional and physical distance. If you call them out, be prepared for a verbal beat down, but it’s good to know who they are so as to be avoided, and knowing a few will help in the avoidance of others as well since they will all inevitably be at the “hottest” places in the vicinity. 

Tier 5 - Stiltball

Stiltball-Tier braggarts are, by far, the worst type of braggart. They equate material wealth with “better-ness,” are out-of-touch with the self, and they trick everyone into thinking they are equals when really they feel as though they are better than everyone. This braggart backstabs regularly.

Damage Potential: 8-10+
Of the utmost extreme, the worst kind of person due to the deceptive nature of their faux-humble behavior. Limitless damage to the self and others.

Signifying Behavior by Intensity Level:
  1. Only posts brag-worthy things, newness, excitement, but absent when nothing in their life is going on 
  2. Constantly receiving “gifts” from people when really they bought it themselves, overwhelmingly thankful for gifts if they were expensive
  3. Material goods matter most
  4. Pretends to be humble about something that is obviously something they want to brag about

Watch out for:
  1. backhanded compliments, falsely, uplifting comments
  2. must be the “best” person of their group
  3. only has friends that are fatter, uglier or of a lower social status
  4. desires to make everyone feel like equals because that is their power, how they maintain control over those they are “better” than, encourages those who are obviously less-fortunate, but downgrades those who are truly great, exceptional 

How Best to Interact With:
Levels 1-4
Serve this person some cold, hard truths about their behavior, and call them out on the bull honkey. They believe that “taking the higher road” makes them better so they will not lash out in front of other people. But be aware that they will backstab, eventually, and bad mouth anyone to everyone. Generally avoid, but know who they are so that they are not trusted.

How Then to Conduct One’s Self

The Braggart Tiers are averages of a braggart’s overall behavior and tendencies. Participation within social media requires braggadocio, feeds on it, survives by it. A person does not necessarily have to brag, however. Nevertheless, when bragging, try to maintain a variety of different types of brag. Never pretend that what is shared represents “normal” life. Nobody’s life is “normal.” Expect that no matter the post, there are as many people who will think that it is totally lame as there are who think it is totally awesome.  And no matter the fabricated image displayed, everyone will interpret the brag differently. If the post’s purpose is intended to portray wealth and success, the way the masses interpret it may be as a signifier of trashiness and tastelessness. Be grateful, but not too loudly so as to make others feel bad about their own life’s situation. Use humility by practicing restraint. To announce one’s humility is to announce a lack of it, if the thing about which the person feels humbled must be shared. The worst sort of braggart then is the fake, fraud, faux-humble. Those who feign humility are the worst off, by far. Imagine what these sorts of people must be like at their core! 

In the end, know that all sharing about the self’s successes, purchases, blessings, goodness of life is all brag, so own up to it. Own the brag. Know that you are bragging. If a person cannot be open with the self so as to acknowledge his own braggadocio, then that person should never share anything. If she cannot accept the label of braggart then she must lie to herself and pretend that she is no better than everyone else even though she obviously thinks that she is, hence the bragging. Nevertheless, the point of this chapter is to merely reveal that even though it may seem as though everyone brags, everyone does not in fact brag. Those who do brag are those who need to brag. A braggart is dissatisfied by some aspect of his life, thus, by bragging he feels as though the world will pat him on the back for the things about which he chooses to brag. Therefore, since braggarts, for the most part, can be easily ignored or reasonably tolerated, know that the intention of a braggart is to prove her own worth by showcasing it for the world’s acceptance, but that the unintended consequence defines the braggart as worthless. 

What a person intentionally brags about reveals heaps of insight about the inner workings of that person, but to see the unintended behavioral message(s) requires the brash unrelenting desire to know the why about that person, which in turn unlocks the “how” about what the person shares determines the “who” behind the braggadocio, the real who whom the person bragging perhaps does not even know. A liar and a fake not only lies to the world. A liar and a fake lies fully to the self. 

Red & Blue Make Green by TK Camas | 2016 | pp. 157-166