"I Know This Guy Joe …"

My economics prof introduced me to "Joe" years ago. He called it the "I know a man who" theory. I'll comment, "Statistically more lefthanders per capita get into injury-causing accidents." To which you respond, "Yeah, but my best friend, Alonzo, is a leftie without a mar on his record at age 32." In your mind, Alonzo overrides my analysis based on, say, a 3,000-accident sample.

I felt like Man-who Joe had me in an armlock the other day. I was tweeting about the economic value of kindness, thoughtfulness, etc. To which someone responded with a short list of names of wildly successful entrepreneurs and artists (symphony conductors) who are out-and-out jerks.

I know such folk, too. Many thereof. Yet my "defense"—which I fervently believe—was: "Yup, X & Y & Z are indeed v. successful jerks.

"But ...

"But you and I and the vast majority of us are simply not good enough to be able to overcome significant jerk-hood. That is, for those of us who are mortal (let's say 99% ++), thoughtfulness-kindness-attentiveness is a winning strategy, perhaps the only possible winning strategy."

I refuse to be trapped by "I know this guy Joe"!