This post has been edited a number of times to remove Clyde’s expletives. This is the best it is going to get.
Clyde has observed an energy-conservation technique humans use and come to one conclusion: It is a *uckload easier to say “can’t” than it is to try.
We witness this magnitude of lazy every single day. Our governments do it. Our neighbors do it. We do it.
In scanning our current laments, we often succumb to “I can’t change it.” Perhaps, we have heard the serenity prayer too often. For far too many people, “I can’t change it,” is a cop out and a lie. Whether conscious or unconscious, “I can’t” is often a lie. “I won’t” is the truth. “I don’t want to” is the truth. “I don’t know how” is the truth. “I can’t” is a lie.
A large group of our society is handicapped, genuinely unable to perform physical tasks. This “I can’t” is not a lie. It is a fact most of the time; however, there are grave instances when it is a lie.
For example, I am physically and emotionally handicapped, severely so on both scales. The words “I cannot” escape my lips very infrequently and most often in terms of being asked to lift or push something. I simply do not have the upper body strength or control to be more than a hindrance. Notwithstanding, I can hardly think of a day when I do not at least try something my doctor wishes I would not in the name of trying to maintain what I have left and in the hope of developing more power.
On the other foot, I face my emotional handicap nearly every day. Why? When someone asks for my help, I am loath to be the one to say, “I can’t.”
In my most recent episode of taking agoraphobia by the horns and giving it a firm shake, I am contracting a limited engagement speaking tour at local technical colleges. It stands to reason. These students read my book as part of their education. I should be available to stand behind the words I have written and answer their questions. I should help them. To merely say, “Read my book,” is inadequate when the help they need is my personal appearance. I refuse to say, “I can’t because…
- public places and crowds make me dysfunctional.
- I told you what you needed to know in the book.
- I prefer to stay away from people.
…or any of the 16 other buts which came to mind in the four nanoseconds following the request.
How many commercials, posters and billboards have you seen asking for help? Mother Nature ran her course in a place where humans have decided they wanted to live. Now those humans are in need of assistance in the aftermath. Was the first thing out of your mouth “I can’t”? Was the truth “I do not have the money”? That is not the same as “I can’t.”
How many times have you been hit with statistics about domestic violence (even here)? Organizations around the world are fighting domestic violence, and every single day they ask for help. Do you say “I can’t” when you really mean “I don’t know how”? Why? The cure for ignorance is information. There is no shame in being ignorant. Saying “I can’t” to avoid your responsibility to learn is shameful.
How often have you seen examples of teen parents, literally babies raising babies? Since it was not (or even was) your child did you say “I can’t” when asked to help stop the epidemic? Anyone with basic communication skills is capable of helping stem the tide of the demographic of grandparents raising grandchildren.
Does serenity truly lie in saying “I can’t”? Is it possible humans convince themselves they cannot to bring the serenity of absolving their inaction?
No one in their right mind would step in front of a runaway freight train with an outstretched hand to stop it. There are other solutions. Park a car on the tracks. Call ahead so engineers can pull switches to divert the train. Call authorities so they can lower crossing arms to protect pedestrians and traffic. How much serenity is there in watching the news coverage of the wreckage and saying, “I saw it. I couldn’t do a thing.”?
Just two more words from a wondering orangutan: Try, dammit.
Can you try to eliminate at least one “I can’t” from your life? Can you help someone whose only answer is “I can’t” to see the truth? Will you make a difference?
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© Red Dwyer 2013
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