Saturday, May 15, 2004

Jeremy Tick, the Poseur

If you're a New Yorker, have lived here long enough to rightfully claim to be one (in my opinion, that would be for the equivalent of at least three presidential terms, giving you enough insight to know that each twenty-or-so-block section of Manhattan is a distinct neighborhood, and can name most of them -- if you're really good, you can even name the zip and the precinct number for each), or simply are as down-to-earth as most native New Yorkers are, you know the one thing even more tasteless and futile in this town than cheering for the Red Sox at a Rangers (not even Yanks) game is simply being a poseur. At least the Red Sox fans get a token respect for being loyal to their team and for being bold enough to state it. We generally grow a sense real quick about poseurs, and we have a healthy dislike for this imported quality often mistakenly associated to New Yorkers as a whole by anyone who has never actually lived here.

With that said, I did sense a poseuristic quality about Jeremy Tick since the moment I met him. For instance, he claimed he was from the UES or had lived there, yet I saw in him nothing that is commonly associated with the people (both positive and negative) of this neighborhood, and only the "stereotypical" qualities. My suspicion was confirmed when I'd asked about certain buildings and clubs (not night clubs...the somewhat staid, traditional clubs whose libraries are lined by portraiture of many men who have gone on to become presidents and other dignitaries), and he had no sense of what I was referring to, claiming that he'd always taken cabs so he wouldn't know.

Sure enough, when I did finally ask him about where specifically in the UES he'd lived, it came to light he had actually lived in a neighborhood more commonly known as Yorkville or Carnegie Hill, almost Spanish Harlem. To most New Yorkers, the UES designation is usually reserved for the neighborhood between 59th and 79th (maybe 86th these days) between Fifth and Park (maybe Lexington these days), a neighborhood where old money is truly old money. Furthermore, one would be aware that there are at least two other neighborhoods of equal caliber, all on the east side -- I could get into the whole age-old discussion of East vs. West in Manhattan, but I'll save that for another day...

Irregardless, I do want to distinguish what my disgust with Jeremy Tick stems from, and it is not from the fact that he hadn't ever lived in the UES, hadn't completed university, hadn't graduated from a prep school, or hadn't actually been in the employs of respectable organizations other than as a temp. As I've mentioned before, I will say that my appreciation for the weaning process that occurs as part of this selection process has increased ten-fold --

I, like most others do, had taken this for granted, that the people you are in school or are working with has gone through a rudimentary or strict level of screening. There is a lot of merit to this process. I do believe that the great sense of camaraderie, for instance at Accenture, I did experience doesn't stem solely from the commiseration factor of being overwrought, but also in the knowledge that Accenture (at least, at the time when I got hired) has run a thorough background check, seen your university transcript, done a brief psychology profile, has contacted a minimum of three of your professional references, and has put you through three rounds minimum of interviews, even BEFORE putting you through a basic, yet globally common, level of training -- there is a basic level of standard, whether at an intellectual, moral, and/or ethical level, that you have met, and you know full well you are in company of those who have met this minimal standard. At Accenture, I would like to think that this was a relatively high standard.

That point aside, obviously, I have colleagues of background lacking in experience with renowned organizations or even universities, yet they have all applied themselves effectively, and the reasons for their not pursuing "the norm" was overshadowed by their pursuit of their passions, or something noble, such as their family business. They all have good reasons for their alternate pursuits, and most importantly, they do not hide the fact they hadn't completed university, nor do they outright lie about having been in the employs of this organization or the other -- as a matter of fact, and rightfully, many of them announce it rather proudly, that they have accomplished much without staying the course of the norm.

In the case of Jeremy Tick, my disgust stems from the fact that he had blatantly and continued to lie about it -- and even had the nerve to scoff at Tufts University, simply because it isn't an Ivy League university -- all in attempts to lead others to believe he is what he is not, and probably to make himself feel somewhat better in some pathetic sort of a way. Again, as someone put it aptly, he is a figment of his own imagination, and he seems to expend quite a bit of energy and what little mental prowess he might possess into creating this fictional character.

Even more disturbing, when the facts he never went to university or didn't actually graduate from a prep school did come to light, it wasn't out of a meek, confessionary note, but rather out of anger and blame -- he blamed his own mother for not "having been more forceful on [him] to go to college." It's one thing to have chosen not pursue and/or complete these goals, but to blame someone else, worse, his own mother? THAT is base, especially in this day and age when a college degree has become so much more accessible, with degrees from relatively decent universities readily available through online coursework. I venture to say he was perhaps attempting to draw sympathy of some sort, as twisted as that may be, and obviously, feeling sympathy for someone of this ilk was no longer in my system, especially in this type of a pretext.

Furthermore, he has had the nerve to suggest or openly criticize our models, many of whom WERE college-educated and have traveled to and from various nations around the globe, as being unworldly. Clearly, these comments are rooted from his own deep insecurities, yet their arrogant, insolent tone in conjunction with the overall absurdity of it all borders on pure comedy... laughable, really.

The well-read might be able to point to numerous great literary works centering on characters who'd projected false-images of themselves, yet, these stories tend to center on the greatness of core character or accomplishments achieved that ultimately shine through. The case of Jeremy Tick is clearly not to be taken as anything in similar ilk of (and will not be easily mistaken with) those tales, although that is what I personally had naively tried to believe the entire duration of my working with him. In the case of Jeremy Tick, the motivations are far more base and reprehensible.

The great works I refer to tend to be marked with clear lessons to be learned, undeniable truths that graciousness, grandeur, and nobility of character stem from the core irregardless or bloodlines or upbringing -- I would have fiercely protected Jeremy Tick's deceit and false-pretense had there been even a minute tinge of these characteristics been present in Jeremy Tick. However, in this particular case, in the case of Jeremy Tick, he has become so engrossed in his own deceit that he feels he has the right to snobbishly scoff at others who often have more right (should they have the nerve -- which most who rightfully do, do not) to scoff at him.

I will say, to his credit, he has mastered the English language to a certain degree, albeit his innumerous spelling and grammatical errs. I am angry, yes, but mostly because I consider myself an intelligent being, and when my intelligence and kindness are taken advantage of all under a false pretense and manipulation, I feel I have the right to be somewhat flustered by it...

With that said, thanks to Jeremy Tick, I've learned to recognize a tactic that people of his ilk use to mislead other good people. [Lesson Number 6: They will often and frequently make vague, general statements knowingly, that either make them look better than they actually are, or make others look badly, and when asked for specifics and details, they tend to stammer.] Granted, there are occasions many of us find ourselves in a similar type of situation, but we stammer only for consideration for the sake of protecting those we're disclosing something that reflects on them poorly, or fall under discretion. This, in the case of the Poseur, is not the case and is done wholly for the sake of far more self-serving intent. Furthermore, in polite society, most people will not usually venture to ask for specifics, and this is precisely the inclination of most that people of this ilk prey on.

I highly recommend digging in a little more when you have suspicions -- as I can tell you from my experience, it's better to be safe than sorry. Also, if in fact the person is whom they claim to be, chances are, you may find mutual acquaintances through some of those findings, as I have with many and have discovered time and time again how small this planet can really be. Nevertheless, in the case of Jeremy Tick, when he mentioned the prep school and the college, I'd asked if he'd known certain people, whom he obviously had no way of actually knowing -- similarly, he'll lead you to believe he's well traveled, yet, I came to discover that he's only stepped out of this country once -- decidedly far less frequent than the worldly, traveled air he attempts to carry.

The reason this came to light was when I had a friend's little brother come in town -- J. Harry Edmiston that I've mentioned before. Jeremy Tick, as usual, was drunk, and he kept on parroting J. Harry's English accent every time J. Harry said something. Obviously, it was entertaining to Jeremy Tick (and to no one else, pretty much...we WERE laughing AT Jeremy Tick, I will say), but it obviated how un-worldly Jeremy Tick actually is, and it was somewhat appalling to witness so blatantly how simply dumb he is.

Again, the point here isn't to snobbishly discredit him simply because he isn't well-traveled -- obviously, there are plenty of good people who haven't ventured outside of the United States. I am perfectly aware that the statistic on this is something like only 8% of American citizens have traveled outside of the United States. The point is how the poseur attempts to lead others to believe that he is in fact well-traveled -- he speaks of Paris, French culture, or his ability to speak French as though he's lived there or visited on many occasions, for instance, yet he cannot communicate with you the aromas of the city nor the one thing the Parisians have New Yorkers beat in terms of their construction of their subway/metro...

And it's not because he has traveled other French-speaking nations, islands, and cities other than my best knowledge, I don't think he's even been to cities in North America that have a strong French influence (i.e., Quebec or Montreal) or even, a stretch, I know, New Orleans (all three great cities, and I have great stories from each, but I'll post those later...). Even if he'd been in these cities, the French would scoff at the idea that the languages spoken there are "true" French!

Again, all of this wouldn't be an issue whatsoever, if he didn't pose as though he's some sort of a connoisseur. In this posturing, he has, unbeknownst to him, spoken down on several of my friends who are actually French or have lived in France, which one wouldn't know at first since their English is impeccably American. Aside the embarrassment this has caused me, which my friends have shrugged off thankfully, what these experiences demonstrated to me is that poseurs have this eerie ability for selective hearing...I think in this one instance, my friend was making some joke with the Eiffel Tower, and Jeremy Tick was off and running, or I should say, his mouth was off and running as soon as he'd heard Eiffel.

As well, another thing I can credit him for is his uncanny ability to plagiarize others' words as though they were his own. I've witnessed him do this in various context and occasions -- I guess this is another talent of the poseur: [Lesson Number 7: be weary of those who seem to plagiarize others' words and opinions as though they were their own.] I noticed this blatantly done by Jeremy Tick most recently when I was on the phone with him, while attempting to collect monies he still refuses to cough up -- in attempting to find out more facts through him, I'd mentioned that there are two sides to every story, and he immediately parroted this phrase (word for word!) as though it was his own, so that his immediate neighbors at his office who might overhear the conversation could hear. Obviously a maneuver in an attempt to make himself look more balanced and intelligent than he actually is, despite the fact he was obviously upset.

However, if anyone were to think on it a moment, one might see that, from my point of view, I have no reason to bother calling him, had I thought there were no reasonable justifications for his behavior. As anyone who knows me will attest, I'm not exactly the petulant, immature type that would reach out to others simply to nag or harass. I can only reason his behavior stemmed from his fear I may threaten his facade he was attempting to maintain at his occupation...sadly, what he doesn't seem to realize is that people ultimately wise up to him, no matter how much effort he puts into this appearance maintenance...



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