Text STEVE to 484848 (USA) or 393939 (Canada) to get show updates
The Column

Leggo My Ego

I'll admit it: I have an ego. I have a rather large ego. I have an ego the size of a small Aero bus, which makes it extremely difficult for my head to fit through doorways, but quite convenient when it rains and I don't want to get my clothes wet.

I am not the only one with an ego - I'm just willing to admit it. Everyone with whom I've ever had a lengthy conversation has an ego. The people who don't have egos don't speak much, so it's hard to tell who they are.

When was the last time you engaged in a battle of "I can top that?" Probably this morning. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, it most likely sounded like this:

"You have got to hear what happened to me yesterday. Because I don't care what happened to you."

"Wow, that is fascinating. It reminds me of one time that something similar happened to me, only with a slightly less interesting ending."

"I'm sure glad you're finished talking, because that reminds me of another similar story, with an ending that is less interesting still."

"Well, I have a cousin that had something genuinely interesting happen to him, and since I know him, it makes me vicariously more interesting, right?"


Since it's impossible to get rid of an ego, I found a way to get paid for it. You can't be a an author, a columnist, or a comedian without thinking that it is your god given right to be, well, right.

But while being a writer has allowed me to use my ego to pay rent, it has the unfortunate side effect of bringing out the ego in everyone I meet that much quicker.

"You're an author? So am I! What have I written? Well, nothing. But I've got this book I'm working on about how enthralling my life as an unemployed twenty-something has been. I've already got at least ten pages thought out."

"You're a columnist? You know what you should write a column on? Cheese. What about cheese? I don't know - but I'm telling you man, cheese."

"You're a comedian? Have I got a joke for you! Two rabbis, a priest, and an awkward silence after there's no intelligible punch line to this joke walk into a bar. Hey, if you use that on stage, you don't even have to pay me."

Not everyone's ego makes them think they're the best at everything. Sometimes ego comes out when people think they're the worst at everything. In order for the world to be out to destroy you, it must be revolving around you.

Last week, I was relaying a story of how my friends and I saw someone installing a glass pane in a fifth floor window with no scaffolding below them. It was exciting to watch because we didn't know if the workers would drop the glass and have it shatter on the busy street below. It was also exciting to relay the story, since people thought I was exciting for watching something exciting. My story was interrupted, however, when one of the girls listening said, "That would be just my luck. If I was walking below it, the workers would have totally dropped that glass on me."

Why? Did she get hit with falling shards of glass often? Or ever? No. But the same stuff that happens to all of us-- being splashed by the occasional car and puddle, airport delays, staining a favorite piece of clothing--she chalks up to her own private ego-driven pattern of bad luck. There are people in the world who have been struck by lightning. Twice. You do not have worse luck just because there was that one winter when you caught a cold in December AND January.

Next time you hear someone say, "just my luck!" smack them in the back of the head. They can't possibly get mad at you. After all, everything bad always happens to them, right? If their logic holds, that backhand was just part of god's plan.

And whether it is a positive or negative ego, it is perfectly acceptable to have one as long as it does not interfere with interpersonal relationships. The trick to having a successful ego is to channel it in the right situations. For example, you can use your ego as a way of exuding confidence while dating, while on job interviews, and while writing newspaper columns.

But if you can't figure out a way to use your ego for personal gain, use someone else's. When I meet someone for the first time, I spend a long time just asking them questions. Because everyone enjoys a conversation more when it is about themselves.

Oh, that reminds me of a story. See, this one time...

*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?