Point

Point/Counterpointbusiness Oct 29, 2003

Pete's An Asshole

By Michael Borroughs

Look, man, I know that he's your friend and all, and I guess you've known him for a long time, so I hope you don't get too pissed off at me about this, but I think your friend Pete is a total asshole. Seriously, why you even put up with that guy is beyond me.

Okay, maybe Pete has a good side that I haven't seen. I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. After all, you're a nice guy, so you must have some reason for liking Pete. I remember you telling me that he was really there for you when you broke up with Teri. I'm sure you two have had some good times together. But still, you have to face the facts, man. Pete's an asshole. You're blind if you don't see that.

Take what he did last night, when I introduced him to Greg. Within 10 seconds of meeting him, Pete said, "Oh, so you're from Minnesota, huh? I should have known, based on your wife's hair." What the fuck was that? When I tried to tell Pete that he was out of line, he got all, "Why are you flipping out? It's just a joke!" He told me that I should loosen up and learn to relax, because it was a party and people were trying to have a good time. Mind you, this is a party that I was hosting in my own house. I didn't even invite Pete, incidentally. He just showed up and said he heard you were going to be there.

That doesn't come close to topping the list of the shit that Pete has pulled. The other day after work—remember? When Rob started talking about how he got acupuncture for his back? Pete was all, like, "Acupuncture's just a bunch of New Age hippie crap." When I tried to defend Rob, Pete started going off about how only idiots believe in that sort of "chinky-dinky mumbo jumbo." Yes, Jamie, he said that. Please don't start in with that whole line about Pete's politically incorrect sense of humor, and how Pete "likes to challenge knee-jerk liberals." And I really don't care what Pete meant to say. Rob's got a 14-year-old adopted sister from Korea, and he didn't appreciate that comment.

You always say the same thing: Oh, Pete's an all-right guy. He's just got a really sarcastic sense of humor. People don't understand him. Well, I don't care what you call it. Everybody I know who has ever dealt with Pete agrees that he's a grade-A, #1 prick.

I've tried to get along with Pete, because I know that you two go way back. Normally, I'd just be like, "Any friend of Jamie's is a friend of mine." But what can I say? None of my friends can stand him. I'm sick of trying to defend his behavior.

The last thing I want is for this to cause friction between you and me. I've always thought that you were a great guy. But I really had to lay it out about your pal Pete. Enough is e-fucking-nough.

Counterpoint

Aw, C'mon, Pete's An All-Right Guy

By Jamie Henderberg

Look, you don't have to tell me how difficult Pete can be. I was his roommate in college. He drives me crazy, too, sometimes. But he's not all bad. Sure, he can be a little gruff, and he's not very patient, and he sometimes is a little insulting, and he's a little bit cocky and loud. I'll admit that, when he's drinking, he can be kind of a jerk, but c'mon. At the end of the day, Pete's an all-right guy! You just gotta get to know him better.

Pete's really insecure, so he overcompensates in social situations where he doesn't fit in. Full of himself? No way, man. He just has low self-esteem. That's why he's always making fun of people: He's trying to conceal the fact that he's unsure of himself. Pete doesn't have that many friends, because he puts up walls to protect his fragile inner personality. It's a defense mechanism.

In fact, you and Pete are a lot alike. He's sensitive, like you. The only difference between you two is that, when his ego's bruised, he acts cocky and overbearing. Admittedly, that makes him come off like a bit of a jackass, but...

I'll admit he has a really low tolerance for what he considers "PC bullshit." As a result, he's a little abrasive. Don't get me wrong: I know. When I think about some of the awkward situations he's put me in, I sometimes want to punch his lights out.

Once, me and my old girlfriend Shelley went to hang out at Pete's place. I was worried that she wouldn't like him, so I even warned her about his sense of humor beforehand. For the first hour or so, everything was cool. But after Pete had a few drinks, he started joking about this "sexual harassment in the workplace" seminar he had to attend. I was making these faces, like, "Dude! Shut up!" Then, I mentioned that Shelley was volunteering for the local sexual-harassment prevention center. That just added fuel to the fire. Pete started going off on what a joke those things were, and how all the women in them were just looking for a reason to get together and bitch about men. He offended Shelley to the very core, and I'm...

What was the point of this story again? Oh, yeah, to show that I've had to put up with tons of Pete's crap, but I can still laugh about it. Well, maybe that wasn't a good example, because Shelley stormed out of Pete's place and said she never wanted to see him again. That night, she and I got into a big argument about my ex-girlfriend and my views of women, and—shit, man. I forgot that Pete started that all. Damn!

Okay, okay. Bad example. Really, Pete's an okay guy. Take the time he pissed off my pal Jake. Jake's super-cool. You'd like him. I mean, actually like him. He's not like Pete at all. Anyway, I invited Pete to Jake's birthday party, right? Pete got so sloshed that he started slapping Jake's bald head. Jake started to get mad, but Pete just would not stop slapping and... Uh...

Okay. That's not such a good example, either.

Look, I understand why Pete bothers you. He bothers everybody! That's just the way he is! Once you get to know him, you just accept him. It's all part of his charm! Well, not charm. That would imply that someone might like his behavior. But everyone just kind of, I don't know, gets used to it out of necessity. Because Pete doesn't care what anyone else wants.

It's not worth complaining to Pete. The louder you complain, the more he seems to enjoy it. I can't stand that! It's like reasoning with a brick wall. Plus, he never apologizes. If he does apologize, it's in this smart-ass, sarcastic fucking way that makes you feel stupid for having been hurt. Sometimes, you want to just grab him by the neck and...

Christ, Mike, you're right. Why do I even put up with him? Pete is an asshole.

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