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Years ago a reader accused me of being materialistic after I wrote about my lack of a single favorite number, specifically criticizing me for saying that when it comes to my salary, my favorite number is the largest number possible.

After properly refuting the charges of materialism, I acknowledged that I had plenty of other shortcomings and offered to list them in order to appease my angry reader. Then I did. Then I added to the list when friends suggested that I had forgotten a few.

Nice friends. Huh?

So began an annual tradition of posting my list of shortcomings and flaws, starting first in 2011 (the list only had 10 items that year), and continuing in 201220132014201520162017, 2018, and 2019.

I’m happy to report that although the list remains relatively long (28 items this year), I’m removing several items from the list. More than ever before.

  • I procrastinate when it comes to tasks that require the use of the telephone.
    I chose to stop this behavior in 2020 and did so. Visual voicemail helped a lot.
  • I think less of people who nap.
    I still think that napping your Sunday afternoon away is silly, but I strongly believe in the 10-15 minute power nap. It’s scientifically proven to be an effective way of recharging your mental capacity. So if folks want to waste their time napping for hours in the middle of the day, who I am to complain?
  • I don’t ride my bicycle – alone and with my kids – nearly enough.
    The pandemic and the closing of gyms solved this one. The kids are riding without their training wheels, and I’m riding 50-60 miles each week.
  • I consistently screw up my wife’s laundry regardless of how careful I think I am.
    Elysha confirms that I have corrected this problem with the very occasional blip of stupidity.
  • I would rarely change the sheets on my bed if not for my wife.
    I’ve come to love clean sheets.

I’m also altering one:

“I become sullen and inconsolable when the New England Patriots lose a football game” has become “I become sullen and inconsolable when the New England Patriots lose a football game that they should’ve won.”

Sometimes a loss is understandable.

Many additions were recommended for the list Two that I seriously considered:

  • You set yourself up for failure by setting too many goals.
    I ultimately rejected this one because I don’t consider myself a failure for failing to achieve all my goals in a given year. I know that my list is lofty. That’s the point.
  • You’re overly competitive.
    I do not see this as a flaw. I am not a poor sport when I win or lose, nor do I allow losing to negatively impact me. It only makes me want to try harder. Also, I almost never beat my friends at golf, yet I may play more often than almost all of them. Clearly my losing streak isn’t harming my willingness to play.

It was also suggested – somewhat in jest – that my lack of coffee and alcohol intake is a problem. It’s not.

A friend also suggested that the fact I’m left handed but play most sports as a right hander is a flaw. I also disagree, but I might be convinced otherwise with the right argument.

With that, I present:

Matthew Dicks’s List of Shortcomings and Flaws – 2020

1. I have a limited, albeit expanding palate (though I’d like to stress that my limited palate is not by choice).

2. I am a below average golfer (but showing rapid improvement this year).

3. It is hard for me to empathize with adults with difficulties that I do not understand and/or are suffering with difficulties that I would have avoided entirely.

4. I have difficulty putting myself in another person’s shoes. Rather than attempting understand the person, I envision myself within their context and point out what I would’ve done instead.

5. I do many things for the sake of spite.

6. I have an unreasonable fear of needles (though my PTSD definitely plays a role in this).

7. I become angry and petulant when told what to wear.

8. Bees kill me dead.

9. I become sullen and inconsolable when the New England Patriots lose a football game that they should’ve won.

10. I lack adequate empathy for adults who are not resourceful or are easily overwhelmed.

11. I can form strong opinions about things that I possess a limited knowledge of and are inconsequential to me.

12. I am unable to make the simplest of household or automobile repairs.

13. I eat ice cream too quickly.

14. I am uncomfortable and ineffective at haggling for a better price.

15. I am exceptionally hard on myself when I fail to reach a goal or meet a deadline.

16. Sharing food in restaurants annoys me.

17. I drink too much Diet Coke.

18. My dislike for ineffective, inefficient, or poorly planned meetings causes me to be unproductive, inattentive, and obstructionist at times.

19. Disorganization and clutter negatively impacts my mood, particularly when I cannot control the clutter myself

20. I am overly critical of my fellow storytellers, applying my own rules and standards to their performances.

21. I lack patience when it comes to assisting people with technology.

22. I don’t spend enough time with my best friend.

23. I have a difficult time respecting or celebrating someone’s accomplishments if economic privilege, nepotism, or legacy assisted in their success in some way.

24. I believe that there are right and wrong ways of parenting.

25. I love saying, “I told you so” so freaking much.

26. I wear my wireless headphones way too much.

27. My blog entries contain far too many typos, despite my loathing of typos.

28. I leave my credit card at restaurants far too often.