Manvotional: False Pride

How do we measure the worth of a person? Is it by their possessions or their achievements? In today’s digital age, there is an importance for individuals to define and determine what makes them “worthy”.

Manvotional is a blog that shares the stories of people who have experienced struggles with mental health and addiction. This article talks about how society’s false sense of pride can lead to self-harm. Read more in detail here: brett mckay.

An editor at the Saturday Evening Post, George Lorimer, published a series of fictitious letters in that magazine in which a father, John Graham, gives counsel to his son, Pierrepont, at various periods in his life. Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son, published in 1901, was the result of the letters.

The 24th of October, 189, in London—

Mr. Pierrepont,

I’m delighted to discover from your letter that you’re enjoying your new job, and I’m hoping that when I return home, your supervisor will back up all you say about yourself. However, you don’t have to keep me informed about this in the future. It’s the one issue about which most guys are completely honest, and it’s also the one subject about which it isn’t essential. It’s pointless to attempt to disguise the fact that you’re a jim-dandy; you’ll always be discovered. A guy who accomplishes great things is too preoccupied to speak about them. Chew gum when your jaws are in desperate need of a workout.

Some guys live by the Sarsaparilla Theory, which states that for every dollar they take in, they must give a hundred doses of self-promotion; and when you’re receiving a dollar for ten cents’ worth of ingredients, that’s a pretty decent theory. A guy who is providing a dollar’s worth of himself for ninety-nine cents, on the other hand, doesn’t need to explain himself.

Of course, you’ll encounter guys along the way who pass for excellent men for a time because they claim they’re good men, just as there are many fives in circulation that are accepted at face value until they reach the receiving teller. And you’ll watch these guys take buzzards and turn them into eagles that will mislead people for as long as they can keep them in the air; but sooner or later, they’ll swoop back to their dead horse, and the buzzard scent will return.

Hot air can lift a balloon high into the air, but it can’t maintain it there. And when a guy is flip-flopping amid the sky, the farmers are bound to stare. However, the parachute will inevitably fail at some point. Nothing kills me more than a guy who has fallen three or four thousand feet from the edge of a cloud.

Climbing a mountain is the only method to satisfy a need for scenery. You don’t go up as quickly as others, but you also don’t come down as quickly. Even then, a guy may slip and fall over a cliff, but only if he’s dumb enough to take short-cuts through slick areas; but some men can manage to break their necks by falling down the hall stairs. Although the route isn’t the quickest to the summit, it is typically the safest.

Life is a long, steady rise, not a burst. You can’t run uphill for very long without having to sit down. Some guys labor for a day and then spend the next six hours appreciating it. They rush into something with a yell and expend all of their energy on it. When they’ve rested and regained their strength, they whoop once more and set out in a new direction. They confuse purpose with dedication, and after telling you what they plan to achieve and getting straight to work on it, they just fade away.


I mention these things in broad terms because I want you to remember that steady, calm, consistent, simple work can’t be mimicked or replaced by anything else, and since your desire for a position with Courtland Warrington brings them up naturally. You write that the Court believes that a man who has attained his place in the world cannot cheapen himself by taking any menial employment that requires him to undertake indecent work.

I’d want to start by stating that I know Court and his whole breed like the back of my hand, and that we can’t utilize him in our company. He’s one of those people that naturally starts at the top and works his way down since that’s where he belongs. When Court graduated from college, his father handed him an interest in the company, and since the old man failed three years ago and accepted a salary, Court has been sponging on him, waiting for a great, respectable job to come along and take him. We aren’t, however, in the kidnapping business.

Loafing is the only undignified profession I’m aware of, and nothing can cheapen a guy who sponges rather than looking for employment, since he’s already as cheap as they come. I’ve never understood these people who suppress every good feeling in order to maintain their phony pride, and who would sink to any level of true meanness to maintain their false pride.


“Fatty Wilkins was challenged by Jim Hicks to eat a chunk of dirt.”

They remind me of Fatty Wilkins, a small child who came to live in our town in Missouri when I was a kid. His mother was full of Fatty, and Fatty was full of himself, or rather, his stomach, which was the same thing. He seemed to have been plucked from a joke book. I used to be a voracious eater. He stuffed himself until his hide was as taut as a sausage skin, then howled for painkillers. Because sweets wasn’t satisfying enough, he spent all of his pennies on cakes. He ate them in the store because he was afraid he’d have to bite someone if he ate them on the street.

Fatty didn’t appeal to the other lads, and they didn’t make a big deal about it while he was there. With his mouth, he was a very courageous kid, a mighty powerful boy, and a mighty proud boy; but he always managed to get out of any battle by having a sore hand or a case of the mumps. The fact was that he was frightened of everything but eating, and it was this that was causing him the greatest pain. In our world, it’s rare that a person is terrified of what he should be afraid of.


Fatty, like most cowards, would accept a dare to do anything that would impair his self-respect, for fear that the lads would laugh at him or claim he was frightened if he refused. So Jim Hicks challenged him to eat a chunk of dirt at recess one day. Fatty paused for a while, since despite his proclivity for what he placed into his stomach, he had never included dirt in his bill of fare. Fatty got up and swallowed it as the guys started saying he was terrified.

And that made him extremely pleased and puffed up when he challenged the other lads to do the same thing and none of them took the dare. I started charging the larger boys and the loungers around the post-office a penny to see him eat a hickory-nut-sized piece of soil. I saw there was a lot of money in it, so I added grasshoppers as a sideline, at two cents each. He became so popular with them that he began selling chinch bugs for a nickel and fairly minted money. The last I heard of Fatty, he was working as “The Fat Man” and “Launcelot, The Locust Eater, the Only Man Alive with a Gizzard” at a Dime Museum.

You’ll run across a slew of Fatties, both first and last, who will eat a little dirt “for fun” or to show off, and who will eat a bit more because they discover some easy money or good times in it. It’s difficult to get at these guys because they retain their pride even after they’ve lost all they ever had to be proud of. You can always guarantee that if a man’s pride makes him irritable, it’s because it has some extremely raw patches on it.

Pride, in my experience, is typically a motivator for the strong and a hindrance for the weak. It propels the strong forward while restraining the weak. It helps the man with the stiff upper lip and square jaw grin at a joke and laugh at a sneer; it keeps his conscience straight and his back humped over his job; it makes him enjoy the little things while fighting for the big ones. It makes him dread a laugh and shrivel up at a sneer; it makes him live today on tomorrow’s income; it makes him a cheap replica of some Willie who has a little more money than him, without giving him the zip to go out and force luck for himself.

I seldom see one of these guys with their petty larceny bravado that doesn’t remind me of a minor incident I had when I was a kid. One day, an elderly man saw me lifting a watermelon in his patch, and instead of handcuffing me and letting me go, as I had anticipated, he brought me home by the ear to my mother and informed her what I had been up to.


Your grandmother was reared on the traditional method, and she had never heard of these new-fangled notions of softly talking with a kid until its under lip sticks out and its eyes well up with tears as it realizes its wrong. She did it with a trunk strap or a slipper, but she did it with a trunk strap or a slipper. And your grandmother was a formidable lady. Her foot had nothing to do with the tootsey-wootsey, and her slipper had nothing to do with the airy-fairy trifle. When she was through, I knew I’d been licked—polished to a point—and she ordered me to my room, telling me not to come out until I could recite the Ten Commandments and the Sunday-school lesson off the top of my head.

It was a complete chapter, and it was an Old Testament chapter, but I jumped right in since I knew mom and dinner was just two hours away. I can still recite that chapter word for word, forward and backward, without pausing to catch my breath.

Old Doc Hoover used to come into the Sunday-school room every now and then and terrify the pupils by going from class to class and asking questions. For the first time, I was delighted to see him come in the following Sunday, and I didn’t attempt to hide when he came around to our class. I’d been waiting for him to ask me to repeat a verse from the lesson for 10 minutes, and when he did, I just let free and recited the whole chapter, including the Ten Commandments for good measure. It kind of dazzled the Doc, since he’d been to me previously for Old Testament stuff, and we’d never gotten much farther than “And Ahab begat Jahab,” or something along those lines. But as he recovered from his amazement, he forced me step out in front of the whole school and repeat the act. “An honor to my parents and an example to my playmates,” he patted my head and added.

I’d been staring down the whole time, both proud and terrified, but I couldn’t help but peek up to see the other lads admiring me. But the first person who caught my sight was your grandmother, who was standing in the rear of the room, where she had paused for a bit on her way up to church, and gazing at me in an obnoxious manner.

“Tell ’em, John,” she stated aloud in front of everyone.

There was no way to flee since the Elder held my hand, and there was nothing to hide save a rat hole, which I believe I could have crawled into. So, in order to buy some time, I blurted out:

“Mam, tell ’em what?”

“Tell ’em how you got your lesson to be so wonderful.”

I learnt to despise celebrity on the spot, but I knew there was no way I could turn her off when she wanted to speak religion. So I closed my eyes and let it wash over me, though it did catch on my tongue once or twice on the way out.


“Mam, I hooked a watermelon.”

With that throng, there was no need for further details, and they just howled. Ma escorted me up to our pew, promising to take care of me on Monday if I disgraced her in public like that—which she did.

Without sugar coating it, it was a twelve-grain dosage, but it sweated more cant and false pride out of my system than I could get back into it for the next twenty years. I learnt how to be humble right then and then, which is much more essential than understanding how to be proud. There aren’t many males who need to be taught that.

John Graham, your adoring father.