Checked Out Characters.

I have this remarkable young friend who keeps stumping me with singular insights and terminology that sometimes zaps me. We were discussing some personalities yesterday and he came up with a description of two people I know as Checked Out Characters. In my opinion, very apt but, perhaps for my readers a little explanation is necessary.

The two personalities that I was discussing yesterday are from a sub group of Indians who due to education and with the help of some assistance from providence, have moved out of their base group and moved into Β the so called elite of our society. Somewhat akin to the nouveau rich or the upwardly mobile in the social sense of the term.

Let us take some examples. I have cousins who went to schools that taught little English language and so condemned them to a life of lower middle class. On the other hand, I have cousins who went to schools which taught in the English medium which enabled them to go on to study Engineering or Medicine or to get into the Civil Services etc. Both sets of cousins come from the same stock and background in terms of religion, caste, economy etc, but one set simply due to the accident of one type of education took of on a tangent different from the other.

So far so good. The problem with the latter group of cousins is that they look down upon the former as being somehow inferior and avoid socialising with them to the extent possible. The former on the other hand having seen this phenomenon, struggle to put their children through the English medium schools and at considerable sacrifice succeed. Both sets of cousins now have their children qualified and very likely working in the Silicon Valley as computer coolies but sending money back home.

The divergent cousins now converge and strut around in relative prosperity and look down on the less fortunate ones.

My young friend called these characters as Checked Out characters implying that they have checked out of their roots and pretend to be something other than what they are.

I can come up with people from all walks of life who fit into this description. I love it. I intend not only using it to describe people but also to take some people down a few pegs.

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22 Responses to Checked Out Characters.

  1. nick says:

    I often meet people who’ve “checked out”. I just laugh inwardly at their pretensions and move on. It must take an awful lot of emotional energy to keep pretending you’re a cut above everyone else.
    nick recently posted..Fleeting glimpses

    • Ursula says:

      Can you really say, hand on heart, that you are not, just a teensy weensy little bit, the product of a country, the most class ridden country in the whole of Europe? The UK where everyone knows their “place” and strides to move one up? Just look at the ladder: Working class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class, lower upper class, upper class; after upper class there is that class you can’t join other than by marriage or being born, largely a product of incest, into it, namely the aristocracy. Even language bears it out: Us and Them. Obviously, everyone knows who “Us” are; but who are Them – on either side of the divide?

      Even if you don’t say it out loud, Nick, I guarantee you that, inside, you think of yourself as, I don’t know, say, lower upper middle class. I guarantee you that even you will have fleeting moments when you feel a teensy weensy superior to the inhabitant of a cardboard box in the freezing cold on the streets of, yes, the most class ridden – yet a rich one – countries in Europe. I suppose you have to be a “foreigner” like I have been for most my adult life to see it from the outside in; you may claim you don’t make these distinctions. If you do [claim] so I am afraid I don’t believe you.

      Seriously, Nick, you’d be superhuman if you didn’t have pretensions of your own. We all do – some more, some less. Some hide them well, some parade them.

      U
      Ursula recently posted..Alternative Comment Box – Health Warning

    • I am different. I can outsnob the biggest of the snobs and love to puncture their balloons.

  2. shackman says:

    I too know people who have checked out – some due to blind faced luck. Interestingly enough, that group often exercises what I call unwarranted arrogance. It sounds like it is a universal phenomona

  3. tammy j says:

    it reminds me of that old saying…
    “if you could buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth you would make a fortune!”
    did I say that right? I usually never do. sort of like ‘get off your high hog.’
    I suppose the class system everywhere will be alive and well as long as humans are around. someone always has to feel they’re better than their fellows.
    our preppies are still alive and well in the hallowed halls of the ivy leagues. old money quiet and refined VS new money and all the glitz and loudness associated with it. the McMansions who think they’ve “arrived Baby!”
    they are all very interesting as sociology but boring at the same time.
    same song just second verse. πŸ™‚
    tammy j recently posted..and the soul of a horse

  4. Wisewebwoman says:

    Pretensions. Aspirations. Was it ever thus. And so transparent. Good character is left behind.

    I like the terminology.

    XO
    WWW
    Wisewebwoman recently posted..Crossing the Rubicon

  5. I think pretentiousness and snobbery is silly, just another way we humans are a bunch of nuts.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Another Nice Day

  6. Ursula says:

    Ramana, on first reading I laughed. I laughed, and I loved the sound of “having checked out”. It’s brilliant.

    Then I stopped laughing. And thought about it. My comment to Nick, addressed to him since, apart from WWW, he is the only British commentator here, may explain some of my thinking. Though dare say, after following your descriptions of India over the years, your caste system is even more pronounced, painfully so, and evident to the naked eye than the British one.

    That it is abominable when we try and deny our roots is self understood. And yet, I have seen it in action – here in England as part of the system (for heaven’s sake people can’t even help themselves to mention the school they went to thirty years ago or the school they send their own children to – providing, of course, it’s the “right” school; otherwise the lest said the better).

    It’s a fascinating subject, Ramana, you have brokered here. Alas, as so often, I need to contain my enthusiasm and word count. And yes, “checked out character” will definitely join the many marvellous expressions in my language store – if only to test it on some fine specimens of the concept by way of conversation opener.

    U
    Ursula recently posted..Alternative Comment Box – Health Warning

  7. Kaitlin says:

    A very apt term. I had not heard of it before either, and intend on using it.

  8. interesting comments… most have covered at least some of my thoughts.

    sometimes here it’s not the education you have, but rather the wealth you have or not have…

    and not whether you have used it for the the right reasons…

  9. Max Coutinho says:

    Rummy,

    I love the term “Checked out Characters” it describes them fairly well. I might translate it into Portuguese as there are also plenty of them not only in Portugal but also in the former Portuguese colonies.
    G-d bless your friend for his creativity.

    Cheers
    Max Coutinho recently posted..Pre-War in Gaza Border: Beginning of the Fall of ‘Palestine’

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