Saturday, June 23, 2012
Talk Thursday (on Saturday): Six Words and Enabling
I married Joan. My life's complete.
Okay, that's a statement of fact, not a story, but I'm sticking to it. Besides, I'm up against Hemingway, King and some very big wheels who have written extremely good six-word stories. A long-winded person like me should stick to 109,000-word stories, approximately. Besides, my favorite six-word story ever is by my friend Suzy, and it will be hard to top:
Voice-activated wishing machine? Hell. Oops.
Did I say softball game?! Yeah, I kinda did. Somehow I got talked into joining the Law Firm Softball Team. We are the mighty Law Dogs, and in our inaugural opening game against Got the Runs (I don't make up these names; I just show up) we went boldly into the field and, uh, got clobbered 16-5. Which is, as Wayne would say, both bogus and sad. But, it was fun. Yours truly actually hit the ball her first time up and made it something like 2/3 of the way to first base before being called out. I have an Actual Position (catcher) and by the fourth or fifth inning I was, you know, catching things. I think I stopped balls with basically every part of my body except the glove, but that's not the point. (I have all these little round bruises all over my arms and legs. Hmm.)
So about this enabling thing. Which has nothing to do with softball (or maybe it does; we shall see). Enabling is where you do something that lets someone else continue his or her bad behavior, generally an addiction of some kind but could also be rudeness, narcissism, grandiosity or any of a long list of character defects. I'm of the opinion that the two most obnoxious character defects of human beings are entitlement and hypocrisy. Why I've fixated on those two, I don't know, but it's interesting that when I was breaking up with The Boyfriend I did plenty to let him continue feeling entitled and never called him on his hypocrisy.
Like, for example, here's a chain of events that's fairly easy to understand: If you quit your job, and then fail to look for another job (because you're too good to work at McDonald's), you will eventually run out of money to pay your bills. If you run out of money to pay your bills, you will not be able to make your car payments. If you don't make your car payments, the people to whom you owe money will repossess your car. And then you won't have a car. Fairly easy to understand, right? Well. At every point along the way, I not only didn't point out reality, I kept feeding into the entitlement. Of course he was doing the right thing by quitting his job; his boss was completely unreasonable. Of course he shouldn't take a job at McDonald's; he had two years of college, he was above all that now. Of course the car loan people were being ridiculous and arbitrary; they'd never treat a __________(fill in the blank with an income level, skin color, ethnic origin and/or religion different from my boyfriend; last time I got "middle-class dark brown Sikh Baha'i") like this. And when that car got repossessed, nobody was more surprised than I was.
Or was I? I was trying to break up with him, after all. Was I perhaps just trying to ensure that he no longer had transportation, so that he could not continue to stalk me? It's hard to stalk from a public bus. And I am, at times, a devious little weasel. Which would also make me--a hypocrite. Who no doubt felt entitled not to be stalked. No wonder those character defects bother me so much.
Other stuff that could be considered enabling: Your husband repeatedly passes out drunk on the living room floor, and you go get him up, get him out of his clothes, and put him to bed. Your kid, whom you suspect is a heroin addict, keeps coming to you for money, and you keep handing it over "because at least she's not stealing or prostituting herself." Your toddler kicks and screams when he doesn't get his way, and you end up giving him what he wants to "avoid a scene." What you're supposed to do, according to the People Who Know This Stuff, is leave the husband on the floor, tell your kid no and inform him or her that he or she can't drop by unexpectedly anymore, and let the toddler kick and scream to his heart's content. Unless, of course, you're on an airplane, and you're surrounded by hundreds of angry people who feel that they are entitled to a quiet flight. In which case, you have to break all the rules and give the kid whatever he wants. You hypocrite.
Well, that's about it. I don't know how to wrap this up, so I'll go for another six-word story:
Dumping the boyfriend. I'm a lesbian.
Seriously, I'd have had a lot easier time in my 20s if I'd figured that out sooner.