Inside Doug's Head

I am not a number, I am… What's that stuff they make glue out of? I'm that. Forever swirling, forwards and upwards, but always sticky. Sometimes, a little sad.

As part of my recent self improvement follies that were triggered as a side effect of my not drinking, I have started to try to ascertain why I am such a cranky old man. To that end, I have discovered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) mechanic, something that is not new, and I did not originally discover it. It is only recently that I found out about it since I never went looking for it sooner, because I never needed it, and probably still don’t.

Now, I don’t normally pay much credence to the psychological mysticism that is the personality inventory and assessment test. If anything, I find that the Breyers-Miggs types where you are categorized by the flavors of ice cream you identify with are just as meaningful as anything else out there.

With MBTI, your personality type is described using a 4-tuple of the following letters:

IIdiot: You are an idiot. That’s what people think of you. If you aren’t sure what an idiot is, don’t bother looking it up, it isn’t in the dictionary.
EElephant: You’ve heard the expression, the elephant in the room? That’s you, you’re the elephant. Nobody likes elephants in their room because they are noisy and they eat all of the peanuts. I said peanuts, not penis, but you may want to guard your loins, just in case.
NNerd: You know the difference between Star Warts and Starch Wrecks, and you spend hours alone in your room imagining the ways that Princess Leia would ridicule your genitals if she ever saw them.
PPsychotic: It means crazy, but in that special way.
TTedious: We get exhausted just from seeing you sitting there in the room. Oh, please don’t come over to say hello. Ugh. It gets worse when you speak.
FFeckless: Lazy and irresponsible. Sound familiar?
JJerk: You are a jerk. No further explanation needed.
SSad: Your sour disposition makes everyone you meet very, very sad. It’s probably your face… OK, it’s definitely your face. Maybe you should join one of those religions that make you cover your face. Oh, religion is there anything you can’t make better?

See how it works? If, for example, you are typed as an INTP, then deep inside you must be an idiotic nerd who is tedious and psychotic. Someone who is an ESFJ type can be described as a sad, feckless elephant and a jerk. Other MBTI references have attached different mnemonical interpretations of the various letters, but these are the meanings I find most informational and easiest to remember.

There are online tests that you can take to help you determine your personality composition. Depending on my mood and my interpretation of the questions on these tests, I can get any of the sixteen possible personality results, and I don’t find that information to be very useful at all. The questions are poorly phrased, roughly punctuated, and very vague, so they are open to misinterpretation. Yet, the outcome of the test depends on the extent to which you agree or disagree with these statements as they pertain to your preferences and behaviors.

Now, I have to admit, my one weakness is that I tend to overthink tests. Once, a long time ago, I had to take a test as part of a job interview. The pencil and paper test had this question on it, “True or false: All chickens lay eggs?”

My thoughts went something along the lines of, dead chickens don’t lay eggs. Nuggets don’t lay eggs. The chickens in my freezer don’t lay eggs, but that would be a weird way to think about the question. The people who made up this test could not possibly have known that I keep dead frozen chickens in my freezer, so the answer must be true, all non-dead non-frozen chickens lay eggs.

My answer was, of course, incorrect. It was a binary question on gender binary chickens: only hens lay eggs, but I was too distracted thinking about the fried chicken I was going to make for dinner to see the correct response. Get it? In spite of how they might identify these days, only biologically female chickens lay eggs. Transgender roosters and capons can fuck off.

What follows is a selection of some of the questions and statements on the MBTI test at that are causing me some difficulties. Perhaps someone can help me by providing me with contextual clarification or by giving me their interpretation of the motivation behind these questions and statements:

You enjoy vibrant social events with lots of people.
What do you mean by vibrant? Lights flashing and noise going, nnntss… nnntss… nnntss… all the time? And what is social? Event? Enjoy? Lots? That whole statement confuses me.

When at a social event, you rarely try to introduce yourself to new people and mostly talk to the ones you already know.
Is this social event an extended family reunion? I’m not very popular at those.

After a long and exhausting week, a fun party is just what you need.
What was it that made the week long and exhausting? Was it because of all the fun parties I had to attend, or am I exhausted because I had to do something physical, like walking or lifting my arms?

At parties and similar events you can mostly be found farther away from the action.
Again with the parties? An awful lot of these things seem to involve parties that I habitually never attend. Is someone trying to get themselves invited to something, and what is this action that I am attempting to distance myself from?

You feel comfortable just walking up to someone you find interesting and striking up a conversation.
Where is this striking person that I am walking up to? Are they in the mirror? I always enjoy talking to the fat guy in the mirror. You know, walking up to people you don’t know and striking up a conversation is a great way to get abducted. Especially at the bus station late at night.

When in a group of people you do not know, you have no problem jumping right into their conversation.
It depends on the topic of their conversation. Are they talking about me? Or are they conversing about the benefits and drawbacks of congressional redistricting versus reapportionment? Only one of those topics has the potential to be interesting, and I consider myself to be something of an expert on the topic of me.

You often rely on other people to be the ones to start a conversation and keep it going.
It depends on how well I know them, or more accurately, how well they know me. Other people’s stories are intolerably boring, so I prefer regaling strangers with harrowing adventures derived from popular movie plots told as personal anecdotes, like that time I worked for the CIA and I had to stop a group of terrorists for some reason.

You usually lose interest in a discussion when it gets philosophical.
Maybe, but I often don’t listen long enough to find out. Honestly, I usually lose interest in a discussion as soon as the other person starts talking. It’s at that time that my eyes glaze over and I start lamenting over how much my feet hurt. I quickly begin to fear I might die before this person stops making noises with their mouth hole. What was the question?

The time you spend by yourself often ends up being more interesting and satisfying than the time you spend with other people.
What other people? Family people? Strippers are people too, you know. What kind of people are these other people? It would be cool if they were circus performers, especially if they are the freaks.

If your friend is sad about something, your first instinct is to support them emotionally, not try to solve their problem.
Why are they sad? Are they sad because they disappointed me? Is the reason for their sadness something that can be solved by ignoring it? Typically, I prefer not to associate with people who are sad, unless I am the reason they are that way. Were they sad before I arrived? Is this problem an on-going thing with them, and how big of a problem are we talking about, here? If they are sad because of a death situation, I am not going to try to solve the problem through resurrection. Look what happened the last time I did that. Meat pie everywhere!

You usually prefer to get your revenge rather than forgive.
Oh, yeah! You know it! Who doesn’t? I mean, besides Jesus? That guy must be some kind of saint.

If you make a mistake, you tend to start doubting yourself, your abilities, or your knowledge.
Well, shouldn’t everyone take a little time for a rethink in the event of a failure? Isn’t personal experience and reflection the ultimate source of learning and wisdom? Suppose I thought I could fly, and then I found out, after I jumped off the neighbor’s roof, that I was mistaken. Should I not start doubting my ability for taking flight? No? Straight into round two it is, I guess.

When you know someone thinks highly of you, you also wonder how long it will be until they become disappointed in you.
Nope, I do not. It will be exactly four minutes. It usually doesn’t take long before I say or do something to disappoint people. The good thing is, though, I don’t really care what other people think, say, or do.

Hey, wait! You said, “also wonder” as in, in addition to. What else am I wondering about, or are you suggesting that I am already disappointed in them?

Your travel plans are more likely to look like a rough list of ideas than a detailed itinerary.
Where am I traveling to, and for what purpose? If I am going somewhere for something specific, like to see some monkeys or get cancer treatment, you bet I’m going have a detailed itinerary. A list of rough ideas could also be fun.

If you have to temporarily put your plans on hold, you make sure it is your top priority to get back on track as soon as possible.
What kind of plans did I have? Some plans are more important than others, and I will get right back to them. Other plans are things that I can defer indefinitely, like hopes and dreams.

You have a careful and methodical approach to life.
Life is a pretty big topic; any specific aspects of it that I should be considering right now? My life methodology centers mainly around not stepping on anything sharp, and avoiding social situations that might suddenly turn unpleasant. Like funerals, and weddings.

You always know exactly what you want.
Especially to avoid. Yes, I know for sure what I want to avoid, but everything else, not so much. What I want how, exactly? For breakfast? A death that is quick and painless? Context is really needed, here.

Maybe I am incorrect for thinking about it this way, or perhaps I am approaching the problem from the wrong direction, but I feel like if I could only get the right answers for these questions I could finally get the rest of my life sorted out.


4 thoughts on “16 Tons of Personalities

  1. Hi there. I know this post isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but I would guess you’re INTJ, ENTJ, ESTP or ISTP, with a high likelihood of INTJ.
    Note that online tests are usually not that helpful.

    1. Doug Godsoe says:

      I figure that I have been called an idiot, nerd, and a jerk enough times to be an IN something J, but I can never decide if I am more tedious or feckless. I don’t think I’m an elephant or psychotic, but I am really good at making people (and animals!) sad. Thanks much for your comment. Usually I only get zero or one readers a day.

  2. Because you see, the fool is the only one that gets to tell the truth without being burned at the stake.

    1. Doug Godsoe says:

      Now you’re getting too deep. There’s really nothing much in there.

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