I’m a jerk. There, I said it. At this very moment, my friends are nodding their heads up and down and thinking, yup, he’s a jerk alright.

The good news is, I’m only mean to friends and loved ones.

How do I even have friends, if I’m such a jerk? Good question. For entertainment? Out of desperation? Maybe they’re jerks too. Or masochists. Wait, maybe they’re masochistic jerks. Nah. Actually, I have no idea; you’ll have to ask them.

What about my wife of 27 years? The woman’s a saint. Also she must have a screw loose somewhere. That’s got to be it. And no, she never reads what I write. Ever. It reminds her too much of me. She already gets about as much of that as she can stand at home.

My big brother used to torture me growing up, but I was so obnoxious, I probably deserved it. I brought out the evil in him. He once called me an encyclopedia of useless facts. It really hurt my feelings. I swore I’d get back at him someday. Now I can’t; he’s a minister. I’m sure I drove him to that too.

When I was little, my dad used to call me an ingrate because I always wanted things my way. And when I couldn’t get my way, I’d argue with him. Then he’d call me a smartass. I remember he once got so pissed off I thought steam would squirt out of his ears. “You’re arrogant,” he said. “You know what that means?”

“Uh-uh,” I said, shaking my head back and forth.

“It means you think your shit doesn’t stink,” he said, furious. “Well it does. You may be an arrogant little shit, but your shit still stinks just like everyone else’s.”

I had no idea what he was talking about.

Actually, the only person on Earth who could stand me unconditionally was my mom. But I think I wore her down when I was little.

She’d be trying to get stuff done around the house and I’d go, “Mommy, I’m bored.”

“Stand on your head and pee down your back,” she’d say.

That would keep me busy for a while.

My teachers always raved to my folks about how smart I was, but then they’d complain about my big mouth disrupting class all the time. I used to love to get a rise out of the other kids. I lived for that. Still do, I guess. Who are the other kids, now that I’m an adult? That, my friends, would be you.