Talking About Yourself in the 3rd Person

I used to see people talking about themselves in the 3rd person and think, “Wow, that person is really full of themselves.” It would usually be an athlete or celebrity of some sort that had obviously lost touch with all reality over the years.

Some person (let’s call him John Doe) would be interviewed on a talk show or in a press conference, and he would say something like, “John Doe just has to keep working hard, and good things will come to John Doe. John Doe has been blessed with a gift, and it would be a shame if John Doe didn’t take advantage of that blessing.” Seriously? Do you not know what pronouns are? Let’s come back down to earth a little bit.

For a taste of this, check out this scene from The Replacements (this movie is one of my guilty pleasures). I think we can all agree the Orlando Jones’ character deserved to be pushed into the locker.

I’ve noticed something over the past few months though. I do this all the time. What’s worse, I don’t even use my real name. Let me give you a few examples.

Let’s say my son comes out of nowhere, sits down on my lap, and says, “Daddy, I love you.” My response is usually, “Daddy loves you too.” Wait, what? I’m his daddy. Why am I talking about myself like I’m someone else?

Let’s say that I find our daughter coloring on the wall. During the conversation that follows, I’ll probably break out “Daddy is very disappointed in you.” What’s going on here? Maybe I don’t know what pronouns are. (side note: I just googled pronouns, and it turns out that I did know what they are.)

Why do I do this? Is it because I want to make sure the kids know who I am? I don’t think so. Do I think it’s cute? Ok, maybe just a little. Am I a pretentious jerk that has lost touch with reality? I certainly don’t think so, but you should ask my wife just to be sure.

I think the answer is that I’m a parent, and that’s what parents do. We do baby talk, and make weird faces, and all sorts of ridiculous things because the kids enjoy it. It’s part of the parent code that you have to be sworn into after your first child is born. Article III, Section 8, Paragraph 15, Subparagraph 3C clearly states, “Thou shalt talk about thyself in the 3rd person at all times while addressing one of thine children. Under no circumstances shalt thou use thy real name while doing so. Thou shalt substitute ‘daddy,’ ‘mommy,’ or any derivative thereof as long as said name is cute and cuddly.”

Maybe, I was wrong about all of those celebrities and athletes. Maybe, they were just really good parents and weren’t able to turn it off for the press. Maybe, they have their own code with a similar rule. Military Dad should probably stop judging people.

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