If You’re a Jerk, I Don’t Care What You’ve Accomplished in Life

Filed in Living by on November 19, 2015 2 Comments


Donald Trump continues to rule the airwaves in the 2016 election coverage. Also, I just came back from the Steve Jobs movie. These two things got me thinking: if someone is enough of a jerk, it doesn’t matter how much they’ve accomplished, I am never going to respect them. In my mind, this one huge negative is important and impactful enough to negate any other positive attributes they possess and achievements they’ve had.

For purposes of this discussion, I’m going to add two other people to my list: Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.

So what makes someone a jerk? I have five traits that I think capture the essence of jerkdom, and I’ll show how the four people on my list easily and neatly qualify based on these characteristics.

Treat Others Poorly

Lance Armstrong absolutely buried his fellow riders in negative attacks when he was accused of doping, even though those attacks turned out to be completely false and he later admitted to extensive use of banned chemicals. Tiger Woods is disliked by most of his fellow golf professionals due to his arrogance. Steve Jobs’ perfectionism and mercurial temper resulted in him constantly berating his employees. Donald Trump says his fellow businessmen don’t like him because he is so smart, good-looking, and successful, but I doubt those are the real reasons. When someone disagrees with him, he calls them an idiot, loser, clown, or something worse.

Always Have to be Right

You only need to listen to any of these four people talk for a couple of minutes to conclude that they are “often wrong, but never in doubt.”

Lie and/or Cheat

Jerks love to lie and cheat. Lance Armstrong cheated in his sport of cycling by taking performance-enhancing drugs, and then lied for years in an attempt to cover it up. Tiger Woods lied to his wife when he stated his marriage vow to love and cherish her. He began cheating on her three months after their wedding, and then lied to cover his tracks. Steve Jobs played fast and loose with the truth in his marketing of Apple’s new products. Donald Trump would argue that he has never lied, but his frequent exaggerations lead me to believe that it is likely a few whoppers have passed his lips.

Never Apologize

Lance Armstrong apologized to his sponsors and fans only after he was caught red-handed and could no longer deny the obvious, so he was really just sorry he was caught. Tiger Woods’ didn’t admit to his adulterous relationships until it was proven beyond a doubt, and then his “apology” press conference was so insincere and arrogant as to be breathtakingly offensive to our sensibilities. Steve Jobs remained unapologetic to his daughter and her mother, regardless of how poorly he treated them. And if you are waiting for Donald Trump to ever apologize about anything, don’t hold your breath. He has stated publicly that he will only ever apologize if he is wrong, which he says hasn’t happened yet, and is unlikely to ever happen.

Disrespect Women

This is the last trait, and in my mind the most odious and shameful of them all. Jerks love to disrespect women, and often by extension, whether intentionally or not, their own children. Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife recounts how controlling and smothering he was, which caused her to lose her confidence and identity. Tiger Woods’ disrespected his wife by cheating on her with 15 – 20 other women, all the while lying to her about his whereabouts and activities. Steve Jobs, as I mentioned above, was notoriously uninvolved with his child and her mother, and made them beg for money for necessities while his net worth was valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Donald Trump was exposed by one of the moderators of the first Republican debate as having referred to a woman as a “fat pig,” along with other demeaning references to women. He denied this, and then went on to disparage candidate Carly Fiorina for “having a face no one would ever vote for.”

I rest my case.

So what to make of this? If and when the opportunity arises, I would like you to join me in not supporting any of these people. When someone asks me what I think about Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods, I say I think they are a great athletes, and terrible excuses for human beings. Also, I will not vote for Trump, even though I am a Republican and he might be our candidate. I will not vote to put a jerk in the highest office of our land.

Oh, but I will continue to buy Apple products, though. They’re so cool, aren’t they? Everybody has to draw the line somewhere!

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (2)

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  1. That about covers it for male jerks! But what if a male jerk is running against a female jerk? Hillary in my mind would qualify as a female jerk. So who do you put in office?

    • Tim McIntyre says:

      Yes, you’re right, George, Hillary is the equivalent of a female jerk! I’m just pulling hard for Rubio, and I really like Carly. I would never vote for Hillary. If Trump is the nominee, I might abstain from voting in the general election, or just hold my nose a bit and pull the lever for him!

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