According to Merriam-Webster it is:

2. a : one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual b (1) : a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories; also : a group or kind so separated <advertising of a very primitive character> (2) : the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes (3) : the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type <a wine of great character> c : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation <the character of the American people> d : main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish <excess sewage gradually changed the character of the lake>
3. position, capacity <his character as a town official>
5. reputation <the scandal has damaged his character and image>
6: moral excellence and firmness <a man of sound character>
7 a : a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits <quite a character> b : one of the persons of a drama or novel c : the personality or part which an actor recreates <an actress who can create a character convincingly> d : characterization especially in drama or fiction e : person, individual <a suspicious character>
8 : a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type — char·ac·ter·less \-lə?s\ adjective — in character : in accord with a person’s usual qualities or traits <behaving in character> — out of character : not in accord with a person’s usual qualities or traits <his rudeness was completely out of character>

Origin of CHARACTER
Middle English caracter, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality,from Greek charaktēer, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian žerti to scratch
First Known Use: 14th century

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I think about my character all the time.  I analyze the character of others all the time.  I look for the good.  I find myself making excuses or rationalizing away flaws in others.  I find this need to come up with logical reasons that fit a behavior to explain the bad.   I am the type that needs answers to my questions. 
I like to think we all have a common goal.  That we are all inherently good and want to improve ourselves.

Who doesn’t want to be the best that they can be?  Why wouldn’t you want to self-sacrifice and help others?

I love characters in books.  I am learning how to write and form characters in my stories.  I look for traits and flaws.  I wonder about the people around me.  What is the make up of their character? For the most part I find people forgivable and endearing.   It has taken me about eleven years to learn how to read clients.  I get better and better at it on every file and every case.  I learn how to read a judge or another attorney’s face.

I still have to remind myself that there are people inherently toxic, selfish, self-centered and truly evil.

In pondering all of this Pat Conroy must have been thinking the same thing when he wrote sections of his South of Broad.  It is beautifully written and I fell in love with this section when I read it:

“How do I know if I can trust you?”

“You don’t.  You got to look at me.  Study me, and come to some
decision about me.  Is this a man I want to charge the sniper’s nest
with, or a Judas who will sell his soul for thirty pieces of silver?
Or is this a Simon who will help Jesus carry the cross up to Calvary?
You got to make a decision about me.  And you got to do it fast.”

So I ask you the reader: Who are you?  Are you the leader of the snipers?  A Judas?  A Simon?
Are you trustworthy?  How do I know?  How can I tell?  What is it that I am supposed to do?  Do I take one look, close my eyes and just leap?

I really try to figure all of this out.  I look to the person’s occupation.  I look at the person’s family history.  I look to hear what other’s have to say about this person.  I even ask the person directly. 

I am wondering who is this person—really?

In my personal life I am not so good in figuring out a man’s character.  I know we are all on our best behavior when we date.  It’s the daily contact that grinds like sandpaper.  When we are all tired, hungry, and had a long day at work when our inner monsters come out.   

It’s when you are changing a flat tire and out of frustration a can of fix-a-flat has been chucked at your head.

I have a monster too–I know it’s not very big and it rarely comes out.  So small that it won’t even chuck the can of fix-a- flat back.

Ultimately, I close my eyes and try to feel the character of the person.  I ask my inner voice what it has to say. 

  
My Jen tells me I need to learn how to pour a beer over a man’s head.  My Kate tells me I need to start on the premise that all people are evil until they prove otherwise.  The problem I have is even when I turn to punch my self defense instructor in the face all he can do is laugh.   “Everyone Look!  It’s Monty Python’s killer rabbit.”

I am not mean.  I can’t pull it off.

They know me.  My cuteness and goodness  become character flaws.  These traits are used against me.  The line in the sand can be erased, discussed, redrawn and negotiated.   

My professor friend suggested it really is Darwin at work.  Our ability to look at people and decide if they are healthy or not.  He explains that once you get past the packaging we have to see if the product is going to make us sick. 

I am kept wondering when I am going to have the allergic reaction.

So I ask the professor: “Who are you really?” Are you the leader of the snipers?  A Judas?  A Simon?

He just simply answers, “I am a professor.”

I resign.  I acknowledge that I am flawed in the Darwin department.  I need product labels that show me content.  I need ingredients listed.  I need expiration dates.  I am convinced that somewhere in my gene pool I was gypped.  

Unless warned otherwise, I am the little girl that would help the serial killer find his lost dog.

I don’t want to waste a perfectly good beer by dumping it over someone’s head.  They aren’t worth my time nor the effort.  I want a graceful exit out.  

I just have never had the desire to key a car, pour sugar in a gas tank or punch someone in the face.  Darwin did not give me that kind of nature. 

So I understand that I need to go about self -correcting.  I think I should be like Lisabeth Salander and carry a hammer in my purse.

I wonder if I use my words if that would help.  I could wear a F.U.C.K. Y.O.U. tee-shirt.  I wonder if that would convince, be of some assistance, or help.

I doubt it. 

My shirt would be pink and white.  The profanity would be written in glitter.