Daze of My Life: Who, Me?

Daze of My Life
Who, Me?

Among the many words that I don't know how to use in a sentence - or spell, either - is narcissistic; a word, a description, I've often heard, but usually not in a flattering way. So I've researched further. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of narcissistic is "excessive love of oneself." The derivation of the word narcissistic is Greek mythology, specifically having to do with a youth named Narcissus who was so in love with himself and his own reflection in a pond than he was with Echo (another character in Greek mythology), her unrequited love caused her to pine away until nothing but her voice remained, (but leaving a word and definition with which I/we are familiar). Simple enough, I suppose. But, is its proper use as a noun, an adjective or an adverb? And though, I guess I understand its meaning now, its use and placement in speech and print still escapes me.
Self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-important; I can certainly use those "selfs" in a sentence, but as a theme for an entire column, we'll see. If these three "selfs" are indeed variations of the narcissistic theme, than I would say I have a much greater appreciation for their use and perhaps their abuse than previously understood. And the reason I even mention this is, due to the misconception of some (readers, friends and family), of the point/relevance of my columns. If they are relevant at all, meaning their content resonates with some reader, somewhere, its resonance has to do with what is written, not by whom it is written. Believe me, the last reason any of what I write about is important is because yours truly is writing it. Nothing could be further from the truth (actually, me claiming to be well-informed on a variety of topics, either domestic or international, would be further from the truth, but you get the idea, I'm sure). The truth is, I'm really Joe Schmoe, enduring the same kinds of misfortunes, highs and lows, circumstances and situations, as everyone else. I'm not significant or unique or any more informed than everyone else; in fact, I'm probably less so.
Generally speaking, I'm not different that any of you regular readers, well maybe a little bit different. That difference being that I have the ability to string together words in a reasonably intelligent fashion (thanks to my editor) and I have a public forum (Connection Newspapers and our Web site, www.connectionnewspapers.com) in which to do so. As my brother, Richard, says, I am able "to churn out this dribble without too many blockages or 'encumbrances,' (one of my deceased father's favorite words, and yet another word I may not be using correctly), but a word I will use in a sentence, unlike narcissistic.
What I write about is only important if it rings true with the reader. It is absolutely not important because I'm ringing it. If anything that I write about is familiar to you, then you too can join the club, a club that, contrary to Grouch Marx's favorite line that he "would never join a club that would accept him as a member," is happy to accept any and all of you. The reason being, the more members that join the club, the more unity there will be. And if there is indeed strength in numbers, given our perfect storm-type world economy/events of the day: escalating unemployment, out-of-our-control oil, gasoline, home heating oil and natural gas prices, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism threats, impossibly tight credit markets, bankruptcies of major corporations and all the implications and complications thereof, etc., we 're probably better off knowing/reading that we are not alone. We're all in this together. It's not about me, it's about we!

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.