What Kind of Jerk Are You?

These days we live in are magnificent. We have phones that can do everything for us but cook out morning omelets (hint, hint tech guys). We can see what any address in the world looks like from a map view. And we have grand lists of our friends for perusal and harsh judgment. Amazing.

One oft-overlooked benefit of these current times is that we can spring the bounds of jerk-dom to be the exact kind of asshole we want to be. In sad times past, any former school kid will tell you, your limits on jerkiness was pretty well pared down. You could be a dick, a jerk, an asshole, a dork, a prick, a nerd. You could, naturally add modifying adjectives to these to focus them a bit. A fucking dick, a condescending asshole, a pretentious jerk. And they certainly have a ring to them, but as you can surely note, they are not so efficient.

These days, this is not so. Should you have faults in your personality, as we all do, you will find out exactly what kind of jerk you are.

Men are peculiarly good at ticking off the world, which isn’t anything new. We mansplain, manspread, bropropriate, and manderstand. In the 80s this man would have been “that jerk who lives up the street.” Probably, it would seem, in cut off shorts.

Women aren’t off the hook, either. I feel sorry for anyone named Karen these days as the name has become synonymous with nosy, overbearing women who in the 80s would have been called “my neighbor’s Mom” or “the mean lady from the store.” I suppose all actual Karens will have to lay low until their name falls from out of favor back into the scores of the unremarkable ones. “Bye, Felicia” is another phrase used, though it merely shows some exasperation with a person rather than a condemnation on her entire character and racial attitudes. And all women (it seems particularly aimed at them) are damned as “basic” should they make the unforgiveable mistake of liking Starbucks and scented candles. And may Dog help you if you add pumpkin to either of those things.

We of course have a whole slew of politically-geared jerks. A snowflake is a left or right wimp, a libtard is someone who thinks everyone should have healthcare, and a nazi is anyone who doesn’t. Pretty broad. However, perhaps the biggest jerk of all comes from one word: Trumper. This of course comes from the root word: Trump, which is significant in that it possesses radically different meanings depending on who uses it. For 72 or so million Americans it conveys an evidently admirable quality. To 80 or so million Americans it is an unforgivable character flaw.

This rich terminology is nothing new. If you were a jerk over the last several hundred years and near someone who spoke English, you ran the risk of being called a pillock, a snollygoster, a lickspittle, a mumpsimus, a smell-feast, a mooncalf, or a pettifogger. And with any luck, you can run that risk again.   

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