Me: Stop picking at me. [As we argue about how the silverware is stacked in the drawer.]
SH: I'm not picking at you. This isn't real criticism. I'm trying to take you from good to better. Isn't that noble?
SH: I am trying to do the right thing.
Me: You're not.
SH: I was raised on criticism.
Me: I know.
SH: It's amazing I didn't turn out to be a real jerk.* When I first got to college, people didn't like me. I thought being right was really important and that I was superior.
Me: What changed your mind?
SH: I decided I wanted to be better liked. I liked people and they didn't like it when I was critical.
* It really is. His father is a flaming jerk. I mean, so much on fire that an ocean could not put him out. So flaming that I would not cross the street to - well, you know. So it is truly amazing that SH is not more like his father, who has no friends. Except SH actually realized that he was being a jerk and took steps to stop being a jerk, whereas his father, at the age of 80, remains convinced of his superiority and has no interest in changing.