Home>Feature>The O’Toole Chronicles: Karen, meet STAN

Kevin J. O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former New Jersey State Senator. (Photo: Kevin J. O'Toole.)

The O’Toole Chronicles: Karen, meet STAN

By Kevin O'Toole, March 24 2021 12:01 am

We have been witness to recent acts of social unrest and ugliness. The name “Karen” is synonymous with the state of affairs of our society and demonstrates a certain level of social contempt or discord.  In fairness to the Karens out there, I have decided to air out another social indignity that merits a name to describe a certain type of behavior and a type of person.

We all know that individual who has to always get the last word in, and always makes it about himself (or herself). Annoying.

Enter STAN.

You can talk about some event or some trauma and inevitably that loudmouth will make it about them. Example: you are having a causal conversation and someone in the group offers up that they took an interesting hike up to Pike’s Peak. Most would react and say, “Wow. That’s amazing.” Not STAN. This opinionated person, who manages to always make it about themselves responds with, “Pikes Peak, huh? I hiked Kilimanjaro last summer.” The attention quickly shifts, and it is all focused on that walk in Tanzania.

In politics we all know at least one STAN. They have run in impossible elections. Raised more money than anyone else – ever. Been out spent 10-1 and yet managed to slay Goliath. Every time you talk about a competitive election or difficult situation, you can bank on them to try and outdo you. If you are around them long enough, the story gets bigger and bigger. The mountain goes from Kilimanjaro to Everest. The fundraising deficit is no longer 10-1, its 20-1. Suddenly they are Walter Mondale running against Ronald Reagan – except they win.

Every politician has a desire to show just how formidable they are. To show that they, their team, their message, their record, can overcome any onslaught as if they were in the Battle of Agincourt. The reality is that not everyone is Steve Sweeney withstanding the NJEA’s $5 million onslaught in a $15 million campaign that goes down in history as one of the most brutal and expensive; but it’s fun for some to pretend.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has experiences. Most have fought for what they’ve earned. Some harder than others. But nobody likes a STAN.

For those who haven’t figured it out, STAN is an acronym for: Sh*t That Ain’t Nothing.  Don’t be a STAN.

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