On a bad day, I’m not much fun to be around.

I’m disagreeable, argumentative, surly. I’m looking for a fight.

On a bad day, I’m unfaithful in thought and word. Lascivious. My mind and my heart can wander, undisciplined and out of control. I abandon allegiance to people and things that are dear to me. I want what I do not have.

On a bad day, I put my own needs ahead of my family. I’m selfish with my time and my money. I’m self-centered and greedy. It’s my money. I worked for it. I’ll spend it any way I want. Don’t tell me what to do.

On a bad day, I’m not to be trusted. I’m deceitful and wicked. I lie. I’m corrupt, plotting. I won’t give you an honest day’s work for a day’s wage. I will intentionally mislead you. I crack under pressure and lash out at those around me.

On a bad day, my needs and wants come first. I’ll cut you off in traffic. I won’t hold the door open for you. I can be vindictive and vengeful. On a bad day I wish the worse for you. I’m sour. I’m disconsolate. I’m unrepentant. On a bad day I laugh at your calamity as I step over you and move on to my next victim.

On a bad day, I’m envious and spiteful. I’m jealous and covetous. I’m resentful of those who have more than I do, those who have a higher station in life. Not only do I want what you have, I hate you because you have it.

On a bad day, I’m disrespectful, to the law, to my superiors, to my colleagues and to my underlings. I bristle against those who have authority over me, who have control over me.

On a bad day I’m shiftless and lazy. I’m manipulative. Let somebody else do the hard work. Let somebody else clean up my mess. It’s not my problem.

On a bad day, I can sear my conscience. I’m beyond feeling, beyond caring. Without compassion. A truce-breaker. Addictive, gluttonous, compulsive. I hoard the best and leave you with the remnants. Get a job, you bum. And take a bath.

On a bad day, I’m a racist, a supremacist, a bigot. I’m better than you.

On a bad day, I will insult you and cut you down with my words. I will wound you with my acerbic wit. In a crowd, I will make you the center of unwanted attention. I will humiliate, eviscerate and denigrate you. Make you wish you were anywhere else in the world.

On a bad day, I’m self-destructive. I eat too much. I refuse to take my medication. Bad habits, long suppressed, resurface in an instant on a bad day. I’m tempted to have a drink even though I haven’t had one since 1983.

On a bad day, I look with disdain on that close group of friends, the click, the in-crowd. I do not want to be invited to this group. I do not want to penetrate. I want to obliterate.

But on a bad day, even on my very worst day, I have never, not even for an instant, contemplated picking up a loaded gun and walking into a college, high school, a mall, a town hall or a workplace with bad intent, shooting everyone I see, taking out anyone in my line of fire and, in the end, killing myself.

Dennis Shaughnessey’s e-mail address is

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