On Paragons of Virtue

Anyone who has spent some time around me at events knows that I can be full of laughter, joy, bad jokes and the odd shenanigans. More recently I have been using the term Paragon of Virtue as part of my schtick and like most things I do, it serves a few different purposes. I thought it time I shared my thoughts and intents here.

If you’ve spent some time at events with or around me, you may have heard me bantering to friends about being a Paragon of Virtue, and how respected Peers, Baronages and populace from all over the Kingdom have said the words “Amos is a Paragon of Virtue”. It normally ends up with a few laughs, and very occasionally a spit-take. But it has an origin and a purpose.

It originally started as a mental health aide. I spend a lot of time ribbing with good friends who can give as well as they can take and there is a time and a place for that in good fun, but I also noticed an increasing trend on myself to focus on self-depreciating humour, getting to levels where people would either take me seriously when I would attempt to make a negative joke about myself or I would start genuinely feeling that about myself.

So in light of this, I decided to look at myself, the SCA and see if I couldn’t come up with something new to joke about myself that wasn’t self-deprecating, or at least as self-deprecating and thus Amos as a Paragon of Virtue was born.

Like a lot of things I try to do, it hits many birds with one stone. Being called or self labeling as a Paragon of Virtue is obviously about as far from self depreciation as possible. It also forms a little bit of Satire on the SCA itself. One of the things I love about the SCA is the balance of serious and solemn moments and teaching vs the outright joy and fun of mischief and people getting up to all kinds of shenanigans. When we talk about Virtues in the SCA in my opinion we tend to drift too far into serious and solemn discussion and forget that we are supposed to be coming together for fun and shared love of what we do.

When people ask me about what Virtues I’m a Paragon of, I have a set of flippant answers, and more rarely some serious ones. In jest, I will talk about how Patience and Mercy are Virtues, and I inspire them frequently – in everyone who has an interaction with me. In seriousness, I will freely admit Paragon is too strong a term. I struggle with a positive self image of myself on the best of days. I don’t even believe I am a good person. I do believe I am a better person than I have been in the past and one of my core goals and values is to always attempt to be a better person.

In my eyes, that’s about the best I can expect to do.

There are many moral and social Virtues I believe I follow and can hopefully inspire in others, if not now then one day in the future.

I still have a bit of a tendency towards self-deprecating humour, and I struggle to accept compliments as anything more than flattery. These are my flaws that I am attempting to work on.

In the near short term, I will continue my Paragon of Virtue routine as long as it brings smiles and laughter to peoples faces and in turn puts one on mine. If you hear me saying it, please don’t think me any more arrogant or serious than I maybe – it is entirely in jest and with my tongue firmly in cheek.

In closing, I’ll leave a small piece of wisdom I was given:

Teach people how to treat you. If you can’t be bothered to say nice things about yourself, why should anyone else?

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