A.C. Snow

Snow: Checking out your self-esteem level

When I see and hear GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on TV, I think of Narcissus, a tragic figure in Greek mythology.

Narcissus, you may remember, was attracted to a pool of water and for the first time realized how breathtakingly handsome he was. He was so taken by his image that he could not leave his reflection and consequently died of starvation.

Donald Trump exhibits a similar sort of self-love. Most of us do, but perhaps to a lesser extent than that of Mr. Trump and Narcissus.

The GOP’s leading candidate for president oozes self-confidence, braggadocio and narcissism that have served him well thus far.

This train of thought prompted me to ask myself a question that you might also ask yourself: “To what extent do I like myself?”

Using a scale of one to 100, I awarded myself a score of around 85. Does that translate into egotistical self-delusion? Perhaps, although I consider humility as one of humanity’s most admired virtues. Anyway, you’ll never find me staring at my reflection in the waters of the Neuse River.

Arriving at my current self-esteem score has not come easily. I grew up as the youngest in a large family where praise was precious indeed. Instead, it seemed I was always hearing someone saying impatiently, “Oh, get out of the way. Let me do it! “

That was especially true when I tackled anything mechanical.

When I was 16, my widowed mother one summer farmed me out to an older brother who had just married and bought a farm in Yadkin County.

He sent me out one morning to hitch up a horse to a plow. I drove the beast out of the barn kicking and neighing at the top of his voice. My brother came running.

Hands on hips, he stood there, staring in disgust, and yelled, “Can’t you do anything right?”

It seemed I had run one of the trace chains between the poor animal’s legs, and the chain was banging against his testicles with every step he took.

Then there was the time I overheard my wife asking a Sears employee for advice in fixing a leaky kitchen faucet with the repair kit she had purchased there.

“It’s pretty tricky,” the fellow explained. “You’d better put your husband on the phone.”

“No, you’d better talk to me,” she sighed. “On a good day my husband can change a light bulb.”

She does exaggerate at times. But not by much.

I imagine that much of Trump’s abundance of self-esteem comes from being a multi-billionaire and enjoying a lifetime of giving orders instead of taking them.

I don’t believe that Narcissistic good looks sway many voters.

However, while not crucial for men to get ahead, being handsome is not a deterrent.

With his dominant forelocks, Donald Trump isn’t particularly handsome or suave. He’s no Jack Kennedy in that category.

I once was said to look presidential. Years ago, I was walking down a street in Greensboro when I met a mother with a little boy in tow. As we passed, I heard the youngster say, “Mama, that man looks just like President Nixon.”

I would have much preferred a comparison to Robert Redford.

If I ever had any self-image of being at least average attractive, instead of stomp-down ugly, it was dashed soon after the N&O ran a new photo of me over my column. Several readers expressed opinions of the photo.

“Mr. Snow,” one wrote. “Back in the 1960s I used to see you having coffee with your friend in the Professional Pharmacy around the corner from the newspaper.

“You looked old then, and you look old now.”

I try to console myself by remembering a once-popular saying, “Beauty fades; ugly holds its own.”

All this is not to say that self-confidence doesn’t count. If it were not an asset, Donald Trump probably would be holed up in his tower counting his millions instead of driving Democrats and some fellow Republicans up the wall as he, at least momentarily, enjoys the starring role on the world stage of politics.

Snow: 919-836-5636; asnow@newsobserver.com

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