[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ong ago, in a college psychology class, the instructor told us our egos were good things. Something our brain uses to protect us, to save our precious self-esteem. It almost makes sense, but I don’t buy it. I can’t recall a single instance my self-righteous ego ever stepped in to save the day.

Quite the opposite.

Like anyone else, I have a healthy ego. Sometimes it comes out to play, even though I wish it would stay underneath its ugly rock. Like the time when I was sixteen. Tara Roseman told me I had a hawk-nose. “I most certainly do not,” I said. “I just happen to breathe more air than other people.” And then I walked home without her.

Another time: I was fired from a job for something I didn’t do. So, I placed a block of bleu cheese in the air conditioning vent of the manager’s office. The smell got so bad they called an exterminator.

And I’m only picking soft examples. My ego has been worse than that. Much, much worse. Consider the time I felt wronged by someone who was important to me. My ego did the worst thing it could’ve done. It clamped my mouth shut, it made me withdraw. I went months without talking to this person. Months grew into years. I didn’t answer the phone, I even threw away letters without ever opening them.

That person died a few years ago.

She was survived by a husband and two good-looking kids. And I was too concerned with my own life to even know about it.

And it stings my ego to admit that.