Who Am I? Part 1

January 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Who Am I? Part 1

graphology

 I know who I am. I even have it in writing. I found myself without the usual navel gazing, psychotherapy, time on monastic retreats, travelling the world, or doing voluntary work in the Hindukush that most people who want to “find themselves” seem to have to go through.

Well, I guess it is not entirely true that my self-discovery is entirely without psychotherapy. It is rather hard to avoid when you are married to a psychotherapist and a huge fan of the Sopranos. But, I am confident that my extensive repertoire of Hilton Hotels and airport lounges of the world does not count as having “seen the world”, man.  

I discovered who I am the easy way. I took a psychometric test. Two in fact. The 16PF (I know) and the Myers-Briggs. The latter is apparently based upon Jung’s observation of personality types. Can you imagine the kind of blog that Jung or Freud would have if they were still alive today?  

It was quite a relief, finding myself. I have been a little worried about who I might be for some time now. I’m not sure why I have been anxious about it. I am not sure that I have any special reason for worrying about who I am. Sure there were the usual “Who do you think you are!” bellowings from strict teachers at school. The usual teenage musings as to whether I was adopted or left by a superior alien race. Such musings are normal aren’t they? I mean, at that age we always refuse to see ourselves in our parents, don’t we?  Not now. Not any more. Not when you see video clips of you walking, talking and standing just like your dad, but with hair. Not when you hear yourself using the same turn of phrase. Not since the “Top of The Pops Moment” when you declare that they don’t write songs like they used to. Or, perhaps, that is just me getting older.  

There was, of course, the “You’ve changed!” jibe from my mom after I came home from Oxford, for Christmas, after my very first term there. I was guilty of the crime of wasting my university grant by contributing to the Striking Miners’ Fund (go Scargill!), protesting against Margaret Thatcher’s honorary degree at All Souls, and, for listening to Billy Bragg tapes.

It was to my great dismay that Mrs T, the unturning Iron Lady, had avoided our student protest and blockade of All Souls by sneaking through a side garden of my own college. Mom and dad had always voted Conservative because they were in favour of Grammar Schools. How topical eh? What goes around, comes around. Plus ca change and all that. I wonder if my parents will abandon Mr Cameron in favour of Gordon Brown next time around? 

More worryingly, there was the “Graphology Moment” in my mid-twenties. We had organised a handwriting expert to talk to and analyse a bunch of our top customers at work. This was our attempt at corporate entertainment. This was at a time when companies were dabbling in the use of such psychobabble to weed out unsuitable types during their recruitment process. This was back in the days before email. When people used pen and ink and their own fair hand when corresponding.

Anyhow, this lady, the expert, showed us comparisons of various famous people’s handwriting: Adolf Hitler, Margaret Thatcher, other known fascists. She got us to write a few words down and draw a cartoon dog (it is quite significant if you draw the dog looking to the left or to the right apparently) and then analysed the audience. The audience, being our customer base, was predominantly male, white, middle-class, well-educated and of a certain age, as you can imagine. It was no surprise then that the expert declared that the majority of the people who had been in the room were white, middle-class, well-educated, middle-aged men. She was very good.Nor was it surprising when she added that the vast majority were “left brain” users, meaning that they relied heavily on their logic rather than their feelings or emotions.

What was surprising was that there were just two people in the room who had an unusual balance between “left brain” and “right brain”, albeit they had answered the questions and drawn the dog looking in an entirely opposite way. I was one of those people. And C, the then Assistant Advertising Manager and, subsequently my nearest and dearest wife, was the other.  We both felt quite smug to find that we were atypical, similar to each other, and, that we stood out from the rest by having a balance between our ying and yangs, so to speak. The expert went on to declare that such a balance was highly unusual and “was most commonly to be found in people of genius and in psychopaths”. The jury is still out on that one. But as we scored opposite, the likelihood is we have one of each in our marriage. I am not sure whether it is more reassuring that I be the genius married to a psycho or the other way around. But I suspect that my IQ score of 135 at the age of eleven (and recently reconfirmed in a bout of intellectual competitiveness with a colleague, J, who clearly guessed luckily as she beat me by 2) is significant. Beware people who draw right-looking doggies. 

Anyhow, the psychometric test, fortunately did not reveal any tendencies towards a desire to commit mass murder or to conquer the planet, although I will still have to get C checked out.  This may come as a bit of a surprise to those closest to me. No, I am happy to share with you that I am an ESTP. Middleman has the personality type of Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving. That is who I am. I am ESTP. So be told.

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Do You Believe In Ghosts? Who Am I? Part 2

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