And why you really shouldn’t care at all…
Prior to his retirement from Amateur boxing, Ronnie Pickering experienced the glory of earning a nickname, “One Punch Ronnie.” There are good and bad things people can call you, and in my humble opinion, that one’s pretty good. Names can be powerful things. They be used as insults, comedy, and in some cases they can bolster your authority within a given field.
Good or bad, we’re not here to talk about a name’s ability to bend the world around you. Today, Ronnie will be serving as an example of how names can rot us on the inside, expand our ego, and be thrown out into the world only to bounce right back and cause massive destruction.
Ronnie Pickering became the name on everyone’s lips when a video of him yelling at a motorcyclist was posted on YouTube. The internet retains a bountiful crop of road rage compilations (“Road Rage in America” is worth watching if you want higher blood pressure,) but Ronnie’s video blew up to one million views for more than the usual reasons.
Why so many views? He was desperately eager to fight the motorcyclist, citing his terms as simply “bare-knuckle, right here, right now,” but we’ve seen that a million times. It’s textbook road rage, fight or flight at 100 KPH. There was plenty of shouting and swearing, but again, nothing new there.
The video blew up because of Pickering’s name, and not just in the sense of the internet recognizing it. On a damp and cloudy day, parked right in the middle of the lane, Pickering repeatedly asserts his identity in the face of the motorcyclist’s absolute apathy. It was like he pressed the red button to detonate a bomb, but when it didn’t blow he kept right on pressing it.
In dialog which merits printing, if not adapting for the big screen, the name flies like bullets in a shootout where no one gets hit.
Pickering asks, “Do you know who I am?”
The biker replies, “Do I care? Come on, then – who are you, then?”
A momentary pause for thought.
“Who the fuck is that then?”
Ronnie was already revved up from being (Heaven forbid) forced to wait behind a motorcycle before making a right turn. Now, like coal being dumped on a fire, here was this stranger who (how dare he) hasn’t even heard of Ronnie’s yesteryear boxing exploits in the local arena. He’s so upset that at one point he deems the screaming match worth continuing when their positions are switched and his wife is caught in the crossfire. Anything to win, anything to pick and win a fight with this disinterested motorcyclist.
An amateur boxer has this type of ego.
Now let’s travel 3,000 miles over to Quebec Canada.
Georges St. Pierre, World MMA Champion was arguably more accomplished than Ronnie Pickering, having won a decision against Johnny Hendricks at UFC 167. Like Pickering, GSP was also retired, though he was taking that bull by the horns. Despite having thrown in the towel on competitive fighting, he still regularly trained for the sake of staying healthy and continuing to do what he loved.
Georges was parking his car in a residential area near his gym, Tristar MMA. As Georges got out of his car, he was approached by an elderly man in his 80s. The old man told Georges he couldn’t park his car here in this area. No, this isn’t the story of how Georges bowed down, handed the old man a dozen roses, and kindly moved his car. He was a fighter, after all.
He still handled the situation with considerably more grace than the name-dropper in question. Georges insisted he always parked here throughout his MMA career of over 15 years and never had a problem before. The old guy responded to this by cursing at him and threatening to “kick his ass.” Let me repeat that with a few extra words: Kick the ass of former world MMA champion who was still in peak physical condition, Georges St. Pierre.
The old man gets honorable mention for his ambition, but GSP’s reaction is what we’re looking at here. He simply said, “I don’t want trouble, sir,” and proceeded to jog off towards his gym.
Now, how’s that for a comparison? In the Blue Corner, we have a mediocre amateur boxer who never even made it to nationals. His ego comes in at a whopping three hundred pounds and he craves validation as much as violent victories. In the Red corner, a household name in the MMA world who has every right to ask people “do you know who I am?”. His ego wouldn’t qualify for feather-weight despite the fact that he’s one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
The inverse relationship between ego and accomplishment is a common one, but imagine if these two characters were flipped. If GSP flipped out and started touting his name and listing off his resume of why he was most qualified to beat the old man’s ass, that would have been ugly.
On the flipside, it would have been equally beautiful if Pickering had abstained from using his name at all. What if he was secure enough in his fighting abilities that he didn’t feel the need to prove them by beating up someone who was just trying to get from A to B? I would ask, “what if he didn’t get angry in the first place?” but let’s be reasonable. He’s Ronnie Peckering. Or was it Pickering?
How do you behave in everyday life? Which one of these characters are you? Whatever your accomplishments may be, big or small, do you hang your self-worth on them? Do you expect everyone around you to have your name tattooed on their chests?
Are you the humble Georges, or the egotistical maniac Ronnie?
That was a trick question. What about the motorcyclist? Maybe just try being a nameless, road-sharing human who is at the very most disinterested in Pickering a fight.
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