The Word of the Week, from Managing Editor Jaynell Graham.
What's the Word?
Longtime Marlinton residents Keith Moore and Kenneth Faulknier recently shared their memories of Jack O'Ferrell.
Moore recalls Old Jack's more lengthy response to the salutation of "Hey, Snaky."ﾠ"Snaky, achy, groundhog gravy, here comes Sally with a bow-legged baby!"
"I remember him well," said Faulknier.
"Us kids would torment him, and he always had a comeback."
Old Jack sold kindling for 10 cents a bushel.
"We called him the ﾑKindling King,"' he added.
F. Barton Grimes' poem "Old Jack" continues with "stories" of his kindness and escapades before he came to Marlinton.
Old Jack VIII
One time Jack told Of his trip to the west.
Of how his boxcar companion Was laid suddenly to rest.
He rode with a leper Two days and a night,
An Assyrian peddler In a terrible plight.
He was covered with sores And wracked with pain
But Jack shared his coat To keep off the rain.
And shared with him, too, A biscuit he had,
Gave him water from a flask That belonged to his dad.
News of the leper Went ahead oer the wire -
Fears were rampant, Imaginations on fire.
But the peddler didn't know it And neither did Jack.
As their car rolled along Down the railroad track.
By mid-afternoon They got to Laramie town
Where the train was stopped And a posse gathered around.
They roped the Assyrian, And He was dumped in a well
Where a blast of powder Sent his poor soul to Hell.
Old Jack was lucky to escape such a plight.
He blended in the crowd Then faded out of sight.
That night from his camp On the edge of town
He saw the light from the car As it burned to the ground.
Told of going to Australia To mine for some gold,
Of how he found a few opals Which he finally sold.
Of how he stayed with some bushmen For a year or two
And learned to play "Dixie" On a didgeridoo.
"Old Jack" continues next week with his "fish tales."
What's the Word?
The serial "Old Jack" continues to evoke memories of one of Marlinton's most colorful characters.
Marty Carr, of Marlinton, stopped by The Pocahontas Times office Thursday to pick up a copy of the paper.
"I've been reading that story that you've been putting in the paper," Carr said. "I thought it was interesting, then, last week, when I read ﾑSnaky, Snaky, groundhog gravy,' I said, ﾑI knew that man!"'
As a young boy growing up on Tannery Row, Carr was warned by his mother to stay away from Old Jack.
But, he didn't.ﾠ And neither did his friends.
"He was a nice fellow, he never bothered us and he treated us good.
"He loved M&Ms," said Carr.ﾠ "We would take him M&Ms and sit and listen to his stories all afternoon. We loved his stories, he told them, one right after another."
Old Jack shared those stories on the cement slab beneath the water tank on Greenbrier Hill.
"Jack lived under the office at the stockyard.ﾠ We got some cardboard boxes for him from Richardson's," he said.
"This story has brought back so many memories for me. I wish I could remember all the stories he told.
"I'm going to take this paper right up to the water tank and sit down and read this," said Carr.
We continue F. Barton's Grimes' poem with his account of Grandpappy Shawn's life, a story that, hopefully, Old Jack did not share with 10-year-old boys.
Old Jack VII
He would work all day, then when supper was through,
He was off on a jaunt To visit a lady or two.
Roaming in the gloaming Was what he did best -
His ridge-running skills Excelled all the rest.
His great-gramps died In his ninety-sixth year
From a sudden attack That came from the rear,
By a jealous husband With a twelve gauge gun,
Who caught Gramps suddenly Before he could run.
The husband crept silently Across the hallway floor,
Gently turned the knob And threw open the door.
It was plain to see By the pale candlelight
That Gramp's time had run out -His end was in sight.
He had enough lead In his rear, it was said,
He could hardly be carried to the field of the dead.
Took three yoke of oxen And a big block and tackle
That strained all its ropes And made the pulleys crackle.
The women all around Shed rivers of tears,
And continued to do so For a number of years.
There were many little youngins'ﾠ With eyes like a fawn
That looked an awful lot like the brown eyes of Shawn.
He had flowers on his grave From Springtime till Fall,
And when winter's snows came, He had most of all -
Red roses, handmade, And stained with tears -
They kept his grave covered Through many long years.
The storytelling ability of Old Jack and the writing expertise of F. Barton Grimes continue next week.
What's the Word?
The entertaining and imaginative "serial," of F. Barton Grimes' poem, "Old Jack," continues and memories are rekindled.
R. Sue Hannah Hollandsworth stopped by the office and shared her recollections of Jack O'Ferrell.
Hollandsworth's mother, Hazel Weatherholt Hannah, ran a boarding house, The Hannah Hotel," on Fourth Avenue in Marlinton.ﾠ As a young girl, Hollandsworth remembers Jack running up and down the street.
"Early on, he wouldn't stay in a house or sleep in a bed," she said. "But he did in later life."
When Jack got older, his niece, Jessie Hannah VanReenen, told him that they were going to put him in a "home" if he didn't come to live with her and her husband, Gib.
Jack moved in with them and even had a brass bed, Hollandsworth said.
She remembers Jack's sister, but she remembers her as "Granny" Ella Aberdeen, rather than "Mamaw Ella Fortune."
"Granny" made her home with the VanReenens, as well.
Having no use for the conveniences that other folks depended upon, Jack refused to ride in a vehicle.
When his sister died, "Jack walked to the graveyard," Hollandsworth said.
"Can I see "Maw" one more time," he asked.
Having taken one last look, he turned and walked back to town.
Old Jack, Part VI
He told of his family, Of their suffering and grief,
Of how a fever wracked his sister Without relief.
Of how his cousin had lupus and his aunt went mad,
And his lycanthropic uncle was shot as a lad.
Of how his brother in a fight Received a fatal stab,
And how his grandpappies both Fell prey to the crab.
Of how his granny had fits And fell in a fire
And helped fuel the flames Of the old burley dryer.
Of how a brother was killed Digging coal in a mine,
And a cousin cut in two On the C&O line.
Of how his uncle's neck was broken By a run-away team
And a sister drown herself In a cold muddy stream.
Of how Henry took poison - Died an agonizing death,
And Sissy in a tantrum Died holding her breath.
Of how a brother was gimpy From having TB
And a cousin running rum Was lost in the sea.
Of how a nephew got rabies From the bite of a dog,
And how baby Maudie June Was eaten by a hog.
Of how Jossie cursed the Lord and suddenly lost her sight,
And his Bible preaching uncle Who was constantly tight.
Of how the flux killed his brother At the age of nine,
And how his pappy had died From too much wine.
Of how his mammy had suffered From Tic Douloureux,
And the rest of his family was wiped out by the flu.
His great grandpappy Shawn Was known far and wide,
Of how he had lived And how he had died.
Everyone marveled that He lived to such an age
For all the men around Were in a constant rage.
"Old Jack" continues next week with the life and death of Grandpappy Shawn.
Lycanthropic: a delusion in which one imagines oneself to be a wolf or other wild animal.
Tic douloureux: a severe, stabbing pain to one side of the face. It is considered one of the most painful conditions to affect people.
What's the Word?
The "serial" continues and serendipity ensues.
As I perused the September 14, 1961 edition of The Pocahontas Times accumulating stories for the "Fifty-Years-Ago" column, something caught my eye.
"Dr. and Mrs. F. Barton Grimes, of Greeneville, Tennessee, were recent visitors of Mr. and Mrs. John Kellison, at Hillsboro," appeared in the Visiting section of that paper.
How interesting is that?ﾠ Fifty years later, Dr. Grimes' poem, "Old Jack" is being published in the same newspaper.
When I ask folks of a certain age if they remember Old Jack, several give the same response.
When they would say, ﾑhi, Snaky."
Old Jack would reply, "Snaky, Snaky, ground hog gravy!"
Old Jack and his friend, Okey Woolard, peddled kindling in bushel baskets in their wheel barrows.
At one time the lumber yard for Williams and Pifer stretched nearly the length of Third Avenue from behind C. J. Richardson Hardware to the site of the former Home Center.
Rumor has it that Old Jack and Woolard got into the flooring inventory in that lumberyard, and when approached by co-owner Ed Williams about using the store's flooring for kindling, they told Williams that "folks on Hamilton Hill like tongue and groove kindling."
Old Jack Part V
He could watch for hours Some men at their work,
Then look to the sky And turn with a jerk,
And if by chance You stood nearby
You'd hear a prayer of thanksgiving Drift up to the sky.
He could sit on the banks Of the creek all day
And watch the farmers As they put up hay.
Or watch some squirrels As they played in the trees,
And he cooled himself off In the cool summer breeze.
With a pocket full of scrogglins' And a small piece of cheese
Old Jack was as happy As ever you please.
Or a tin of sardines And a cracker or two
He'd feast like a king, ﾑTil his very next stew.
He would search through the fields And search through the wood,
Gathering roots and herbs wherever he could.
And over an open fire He'd boil up a brew,
And every day would Take a swig or two.
What herbs he got Or what they'd do,
Everyone wondered, but no one knew.
Some thought it to be a tonic of sorts,
And begged him to sell them a couple of snorts.
His arm wrestling skill Was known far and wide.
The strongest in town often had tried -
Bulger, Bunion and Baker, The strongest in town,
Each tried his best But they all went down.
He was supple and quick And strong as a horse.
From the looks of his size You'd wonder its source.
He could outrun or out-jump any track team member
And he'd help the boys train From May to December.
He could run up the creek To Huntersville town -
Several miles it was, Then turn right around
And return to the start At a blistering pace.
None could keep up With Jack in a race.
"Old Jack" continues next week and we learn about his family.
Scrogglins: Small, worthless apples
What's the Word?
The "serial" continues and the story gets better.
I took a little time off last week to visit my cousin, Helen Bertelkamp, in Nellysford, Virginia. On a previous visit we stopped by the Rock Fish School which now houses the Earl Hamner Theatre, a catering business, a thrift shop and an indoor farmers market.
What does all this have to do with Jack O'Ferrell, you might ask?
Well, on Wednesday morning I got a phone call from O'Ferrell's great-great-niece, Brenda Curtis, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania.ﾠ Her sister had read the first installment of "Old Jack" in The Pocahontas Times and contacted her.
According to Curtis, "Old Jack" was born Arnold Jackson O'Ferrell on July 5, 1873, in Nellysford, Virginia. He was a son of Thomas Jefferson Ferrell (the "O" is gone) and Margaret Elmira Williams Ferrell, who was born in Rock Fish, Virginia.
Jack was included in the 1910 Census for Rock Fish, Virginia, but moved to Durbin around 1917, Curtis said.
He worked as a woodsman for the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, registered for World War I, roomed in Edray in 1930 with Mr. Reynolds and his wife, Pauline, worked at the tannery and later worked for the railroad, from which he drew a pension.
"Jack had lots of brothers and sisters," Curtis reported. And one of those siblings was Curtis' great-great-grandmother, Ella, who provided a home for Jack for a few years.
Ella Ferrell Fortune, known to everyone as "Ma-Maw," lived in Marlinton until her death at the age of 100.
"Ella followed Jack to Marlinton," Curtis said.
Sadly his sister, Molly, could not do the same as she died at the age of 16 when her skirt caught on fire at the family's fireplace and she died as a result of the burns.
Old Jack died January 7, 1967 and is buried in Mt. View Cemetery beside "Miss Kitty" Thomas Hannah and Charles Hannah.
We now continue with the "serial."
"Old Jack," Part IV
He believed folks hurried The day they were dead
By things that they drank And stuffed in their head.
Jack never ate fats - Or sweets, like jelly,
And he always went to sleep With an empty belly.
He'd hum an old tune As he strolled down the street,
Had a smile and a "Howdy" For all that he'd meet.
With his head held high, He walked like a king.
The World owed him nothing, Not a gol-derned thing.
His usual greeting was a "Howdy" And that's all he'd say,
Or a "Top of the morning" In the forenoon of the day.
But occasionally he's surprise us With "Wie Gehts, mein Herr"
And a doff of his hat With an elegant air.
At sparrowfart he was up And hustling around
Checking on the folks In my hometown.
But when cockshut came He would make his way
To his gunny sack bed And call it a day.
Once in a while, But it was rare,
He'd talk about things With a scholarly air.
Recite some poetry by Shelly or Keats
Or spoke of Inferno's unbearable heats.
He'd talk about Hannibal And crossing the Alps,
Of Indian raids And the taking of scalps,
Of the discovery of Pluto and craters of the moon,
And of the end of time That was coming soon.
Talked of Plato and Homer And Eurypides,
And of olden sailors of the seven seas,
Of the pyramids and Sphinx On the banks of the Nile,
And how the Greeks lived it up In an elegant style.
Spoke of Stonehenge and Mayans And Druids and such,
Of King Arthur's knights And the King Midas touch,
Of chateaubrian And truffles in stew,
Of Modigliani's paintings With necks all askew.
More of "Old Jack" next week...
Notes from F. Barton Grimes
Sparrowfart: First light of day
Cockshut: Eventide - when chickens were shut up.
What's the Word?
"Serial"...an ongoing story
Louise Smith Thomas, daughter of the late George and Robbie Smith, was a young girl of about eight or 10-years-old, living on Eight Street in Marlinton when Jack O'Ferrell was a resident of the town.
"We called him "Snaky," Thomas said.
"When he would come up the street, we were scared of him," she said. "We would run in the house."
Although she ran from "Snaky," who was considered a hobo, Thomas says that she can still hear her daddy say to her mother, "Robbie, don't ever turn a hobo away."
Her mother would always make sandwiches for the hobos and let them sit on the family's back step to eat.
"I can't remember a time that hobos caused any trouble," she added.
Old Jack,ﾠ Part III
He was honest as honest, and proud of it, too.
Didn't want to die owing a sou.
He might borrow a dollar For a week or a day
But when it was due He'd be there to pay.
I suppose he was Irish, As his name would imply,
Mentioned wee folks often With a wink of his eye.
Had never been to Erin To trod on the sod,
But he spoke of it fondly, And his gray head would nod.
He never took interest In other men's wealth,
But was exceedingly proudﾠ Of the state of his health.
Never was sick A day in his life,
Never took medicine, Never took a wife.
He smoked no tobacco, He drank no booze.
Said he had no sense He could afford to lose.
He never would cuss Or swear out loud,
Or mix with folks In a very big crowd.
His age was near eighty, or so he said,
But still he could kick As high as his head.
Could do a cart-wheel Or a flippity-flop,
Or jump a six-foot rail With room at the top.
With his knees kept straight He could bend right down
And without any effort Put his palms on the ground.
Do push-ups a-plenty, Using only one hand.
For an old man of eighty, That's rather grand.
He could walk on his hands For nearly a block,
Catch a fly in mid-air, Or a fish neath a rock,
Or climb up a rope And not use his feet,
Or carry a man on his back And run down the street.
He carried a shillelagh, And would use it, too.
He'd cracked some heads, In fact, quite a few.
He had no friends, He shared no ale,
His only boonfellow Was an old trundle-tail
Not afraid of the devil, He'd spit in his eye.
Afraid of no man Till the day he'd die.
Never looked for trouble But if it crossed his path,
He'd strike like a cobra To show all hisﾠwrath.
Once some young men, Their number was nine,
Bent on some sport, Hid behind a big sign.
They waited for Jack To take away his stick -
But they must use surprise And act real quick.
They jumped old Jack And wrestled him down,
A big pile of bodies All over the ground.
But Jack boiled out Like an uncoiled spring
And laid them all low- Made several heads ring.
Watch for "Old Jack" next week as theﾠ "serial"
Notes from F. Barton Grimes
Sou - a 5 centime piece; a small amount of money.
Boonfellow: A warm companion.ﾠ A dog.
Trundletail: A low-bred dog
What's the Word?
The "serial" continues
Mary Frances Faulknier Barlow, of Edray, lived on Second Avenue when she was a young girl, and she remembers Old Jack.
"He didn't walk so much as hop," she said.
Old Jack would take a few steps and then skip a bit.
Rumor has it, and " it's only a rumor," that a lightning strike put that hop and skip in Old Jack's step.
Old Jack - Part II
He was old and hairy when first he came,
But one thing was certain, he wasn't lame.
He'd shuffle down the street, And then with a start
He'd take off runningﾠ Like a startled hart.
He had a spring in his step And a gleam in his eye,
Whenever he was tickled, He'd slap on his thigh.
He'd jump when he was happy or doing his work,
Or when honing an edge On his razor-sharp dirk.
He was ragged and dirty, His hair unkempt.
He told odd stories and sometimes wept.
Ate what he could, But his meals were few,
Usually boiled in a can, Just a simple stew.
He was short of stature, But lean and spare,
With unkempt beard And long white hair.
Wore an old hat With a hole in the crown,
And tattered old clothes That he had found.
He had holes in his elbows, holes in his knees,
Had holes in his shoes As big as you please.
But Jack didn't worry, He didn't complain,
Said they let in the sunshine, and Drained out the rain.
He had baggy old pants With holes in the knees,
And the hole in the seat showed his BVDs.
His collar was all frayed And torn half off,
He looked like a bum and people would scoff.
When wintertime came And the cold winds blew
And the sleet and the snow Would cut clean through,
He would wrap up his head In a nice warm ball
With rags he'd saved Since early last fall.
With hisﾠ butter teeth missing And his nose all a-wrinkle
Bush eyebrows And eyes that would twinkle,
He could flash you a smile You could see for a mile.
He made you feel good And your day worthwhile.
Old Jack seemed happy and showed no grief.
Never begged in his life and he scorned relief.
Did what he wanted, When he wanted, you see,
And he wouldn't change places with you or me.
To be continued.....
Notes by F. Barton Grimes
Old Jack's home was at the stock pen [probably on Fourth Avenue].
The stock pen had a raised area where the ramp went up to a level where the cattle or sheep could be loaded onto a railcar.ﾠ There was a small "office" at the top where the animals could be counted.ﾠ It was under this raised area that Jack called home.ﾠ It was just high enough for Jack to stand up.ﾠ He scavenged old boards to put on the ground and covered them with cut up corrugated cardboard boxes.ﾠ The sides were also covered with pieces of boxes to keep out the wind and rain.ﾠ The odor was bad but Jack said you got used to it. "Besides, the rent was right zero."
Butter teeth: The upper middle incisors.
What's the Word?
1. arranged in a series, rank, or row -serial order
2. appearing in successive parts or numbers - a serial story
3. performing a series of similar acts over a period of time -a serial killer
4. ﾠoccurring in or involving such a series - serial murder
5. in computing, a serial port is a serial communication physical interface through which information transfers in or out one bit at a time
There are obviously many definitions and uses of the word "serial."ﾠ Unfortunately, the one most familiar these days is "serial killer."
But we will look at "serial" from a literary prospective.
Years ago, at movie matinees, serials provided quite the draw for audiences as a story progressed from week to week, leading to anticipation and speculation as to its outcome.
Everyone has a story.
Some folks write their own and some write the stories of others.
It is the story of "others" that caught my attention a couple of weeks ago.
F. Barton Grimes was the son of Dice and Olive Kinnison Grimes.ﾠ Dice owned and operated the Marlinton Electric Shoe Shop in the "old Peacock building" on the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue.ﾠ Dice's wife operated the Annette Beauty Shoppe in the back of the building.
According to Pocahontas County History, 1981, Barton was born in Marlinton in 1919. He attended the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia.ﾠ While at UVA he met and married Virginia "Ginger" Evans.ﾠ They moved to St. Petersburg where he received his BS and Doctor of Optometry Degrees from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.
"My hobbies were music, painting, reading, collecting books and fishing.ﾠ The best days of fishing however were in Pocahontas.ﾠ There are fond memories associated with the Greenbrier, Cranberry, Elk and especially Williams River which provided an unforgettable experience," he writes.
Although Barton left Marlinton in 1950, he left behind a gift that records a little-known bit of Marlinton's history.ﾠ A gift that has been saved by a few of his friends, such as Keith Moore and Grimes' former neighbor June Wagner, who still lives on Second Avenue in Marlinton.
Grimes wrote of a man named Jack O'Ferrell who lived, for a time, in the town of Marlinton.
It is a story so well written that it begs to be shared. So well written that you can almost picture O'Ferrell as he made his way, with a skip in his step, around the town. You can almost hear him, and, I do declare, you will surely shiver at the end of his story.
Over the next few weeks we will learn O'Ferrell's story.
Herewith we begin the "serial" of:
"Old Jack," by F. Barton Grimes.
Old Jack was a character, Well-known in town.
He cut up kindling And hauled it around.
He'd sell a basket here And two or three there.
Always gave a measure That was honest and fair.
He gathered his wood And stacked it to dry,
Cut it up fine, Piled the baskets high.
A bushel for a dime, Two-bits for three,
But to some sick "widder,' A basket was free.
No one knew Where Jack came from,
He jumped from a freight And lit on the run,
A-scattering gravel on the right-of-way,
He liked our town and decided to stay.
He slept neath the bridge That the train runs through,
On the banks of the creek, Right next to a slue.
He'd catch a fish, or a turtle, Or maybe a hare,
Put it on a fire And eat it right there.
But when winter approached And the cold wind blew,
Old Jack shiveredﾠ And he finally knew
He'd have to find shelter From the icy blast -
So he moved to the stock pen, His home, at last.
T'was rumored around town, But a rumor was all,
That he fled the scene of a hobo brawl,
Where a heated fight and a flashing blade
Left several men cut, and one man "daid."
To be continued....
What's the Word?
When I first began to work on the word for this week, we were in the midst of a too dry summer.
There is a country song, the chorus of which says, "There's only two things that money can't buy, and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes."
But there are many things that money can't buy, not the least of which is a day or two of a good, steady rain.
When the rain returned, briefly, on Saturday, gratitude was, quite naturally, added to the mix.
It can put a farmer behind, it can put him ahead, and though farmers are experts at adjustingﾠto their circumstances, there is, in the midst of that, a bit of worry.
Edgar Watson Howe is quoted as saying, "Farmers only worry during the growing season, but townspeople worry all the time."
It appears that weathermen never worry about the lack of rain.ﾠ They smile and proclaim, "We can look forward to another beautiful day. No rain in sight."ﾠ They are fortunate that farmers can't reach them through the TV screen.
But farmers are said to be an "optimistic lot.ﾠ They find it less wearing to shrug their shoulders than to beat their breast."
Although we are dry here, we are in better shape than some other states that are enduring the worst drought in many years.
Offering hope to farmers in early July, Jaime McLeod wrote on her Farmer's Almanac Blog, "July 15 is St. Swithin's Day, a church holiday honoring St. Swithin (also spelled Swithun), a medieval Anglo-Saxon bishop, and the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, England."
Folklore holds that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, the rain will continue for 40 days.
Based on Jason Bauserman's July weather report, that didn't happen.
According to Bauserman, "Nearly 1.5 inches of rain fell [in the upper end of the county] around the 4th of July. The rest of the month produced just over one half of an inch for a total of only 2.19 inches for the month."
A too wet spring this year made for aﾠfirst cutting of hay that was heavier than normal.ﾠ A second cutting looks iffy, at best. But with the return of the rain, hopefully pastures will hold out until late fall.
John F. Kennedy said "The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
There is no freight to be paid for rain, but the date for its delivery is out of our hands.
While we wait for its arrival, we watch the sky for "red in the morning," we check the grass in the morning for dew, we listen for the tree frog's song, and often hear, "In dry weather, all signs fail."
In Psalm 65 we read, "You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly...You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance...The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing."
Although farmers may not be prone to shouting for joy and singing, there was surely more than one "Thank, God," whispered in gratitude as the rain began to fall.
And rightfully so, as gratitude is experienced when we receive a valuable gift from a benevolent giver, who asks for nothing in return.
What's the Word
Definition - Love of self
Looking at synonyms of narcissism, we find egomania, self-absorption, self-centeredness, self-concern, selfishness and self-preoccupation, just to name a few.
In today's slang those translate into "it's all about me!"
Narcissism is in no way a new ailment or plague on society.
In the Bible, II Timothy 3:1-7 speaks of such characteristics.
"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure...Avoid such people."
Obviously, these are not the last days, but it is a good idea to "avoid such people."
Philippians 2:3 is the antidote to narcissism as it is the primary verse that addresses the remedy for selfishness.
The Apostle Paul says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."
In the past few years psychological tests designed to detect narcissism have shown a dramatic increase in the scores of the people in this country.
A recent article onﾠ msnbc.com reported that the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due out in 2013, won't include narcissistic personality disorder.
It went on to say that "maybe narcissistic personality disorder is getting ousted from the DSM because those who suffer from it often don't really suffer. Everybody else does."
Sad to say, some experts believe that there are a large number of pathological narcissists at work in the most influential reaches of our society - in politics, finance and medicine.
And the term "narcissism" came about because of Narcissus who, in Greek mythology, was himself a pathologically self-absorbed young man who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool.
Seeing his reflection in the water, and having no understanding of reflections, Narcissus fell in love and started talking to it. His love was not reciprocated, thus he "pined away" there, eventually turning into a flower.
The most popular version of the story tells that he "took out his hunting knife and stabbed himself through the heart." The drops of blood fell to the ground and brought forth the first daffodil, also known as the flower - Narcissus
There is a benefit to healthy narcissism, where one values their abilities, and balances those values with concern and consideration of others.
In the realm of relationships most folks have a real concern for others and their ideas.ﾠ But the narcissist is limited to giving socially appropriate responses, and they will exploit others without suffering any feelings of remorse.
Narcissism is a sister to egotism -"the glue with which people get stuck on themselves."
In several news stories the media has used the term "narcissism," including the recent coverage of Robert Murdoch's response to the British News Corp. fiasco where he deftly put the blame on everyone but himself.
Then there was BP CEO Tony Hayward's remarks following last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hayward "wanted his life back," and wondered "what did we do to deserve this?"
But TV shows have given us some of the best examples of narcissism and may have fueled the rise in narcissism scores of real people.
One of the most memorable to a certain generation was Larry Hagman's character, J. R. Ewing, on the hit show "Dallas."
He was the man everyone loved to hate.
It is interesting to note that in today's society many of the recorded quotes about narcissism are attributed to, or about, those whom we call "stars."
I don't watch much TV, but I read about a show called " Web Therapy," starring Lisa Kudrow, formerly of "Friends."
The promo for "Web Therapy" says that Kudrow's character is "the world's most narcissistic counselor."
In a sitcom, narcissism might be entertaining.
But in real life - it is best to "avoid such people."