You’ve heard about the stock market being inflated. You’ve seen the news about the real estate market being overvalued. These should no doubt concern you. But I’m here to tell you that these worries are nothing compared to a new menace affecting our city: Self-Overvaluation. I know this comes as a complete shock to you, but am here to tell you that I’ve seen this behavior in four people already, and am writing now to request help in curbing the epidemic. Apparently, the four were infected while visiting El-Mio-Es-Mas-Largo, an exclusive resort in Palm Beach.
Since I have a background in psychology, and I’m a long time resident of Miami — I can still remember when Beckham first floated the idea of a soccer team — allow me to explain this vulnerability in our population.
Babies need responsive parents to feel secure in the world. When parents are too busy — shopping at the ridiculously expensive Brickell City Centre, going to Botox parties, attending press conferences by David Beckham, boycotting David Beckham, or stuck in traffic — nannies or grandparents should nurture the baby. When something goes wrong and the baby’s needs for secure attachment are thwarted, some people respond resiliently, while others behave pathologically. In this essay we will concern ourselves with the latter, since the former have all left Miami.
You can recognize this pathology in a number of ways: incessant talk about themselves, taking up too much air time, showing no interest in other people’s lives, feeling entitled, praising personal accomplishments, Maseratis, perfectly curved body parts, and overall disdain for anything that doesn’t look good on a selfie.
Due to insecurity, ignorance, frustration, or military rank in their country of origin, some people in Miami are predisposed to exhibit signs of self-importance and pomposity. Feeling valued, by self and others, is only good in good measure. But since everything is big and flashy in Miami, you can never have too much of a good thing here, including self-love.
Self-overvaluation is characterized by the inflated worth some people place on themselves, their attributes, their behaviors, their dogs, and their hair. The rare virus is contracted through driving, cell phones, dog poop, and orange hair. The good news is that the rare disease has affected only four people in Miami. The bad news is that they are still at large. I’m writing this piece in a desperate attempt to locate the four carriers.
If self-overvaluation spreads, the consequences for our city will be dire: even longer waiting lists for plastic surgery.
People who get the disease through driving exhibit an inflated sense of their prowess behind the wheel. We are lucky in Miami that only one person has been affected thus far. This individual has been seen making a turn without signaling, driving in reverse on the US 1, and texting his abuelita in the middle of an intersection. If you find this person please report him to 1-800-SOY-MALO.
Those who get the disease through cell phone use come to believe that their conversations are so important that they are worthy of a broadcast. This person has been observed using a speaker phone in public spaces such as trains, exercise rooms, tanning salons, supermarkets, movie theaters, restaurants, public restrooms, and elevators. Instead of having a quiet conversation over the phone, this person broadcasts to the entire neighborhood exhilarating developments about his drinking habits and bowel movements. If you identify this person please communicate via social media using #elidiota.
The third person to have contracted the virus suffers from an overvalued self-concept, emitting an aura of self-importance not seen even in the White House, since the last tweet at 7 am this morning. This woman behaves in dysfunctional ways, hurting self and others, consciously and unconsciously, walking and driving, on Uber and metromover, in Brickell and Kendall. If you see the suspect, do not approach her. Call the Broward police immediately. This is the kind of thing they can handle.
The fourth individual, affected through dog poop, was recently seen in Brickell, walking a Saint Bernard. The person so loves his pet that he leaves its excrement on the sidewalk for others to admire.
It will take some time to deflate some egos in Miami. Hopefully, it will happen before we have to inflate some dinghies to get out of here. For now, it is useful to begin paying attention to these patterns in others, and, ahem, yourself.
Isaac Prilleltensky is an academic and humor writer. His most recent book is The Laughing Guide to Well-Being: Using Humor and Science to Become Happier and Healthier. Follow his humor blog at www.thelaughingguide.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org