Clyde Says Try Dammit

Right turn, Clyde.

Right turn, Clyde.

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.


Handicapped Parking

No Parking. Get doing.

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.”

T3 coverIn 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.

Enter Ape

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?

train-wreck.jpgNo 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?

Hashtags: #makeadifference #Ican

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  1. I can
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Love is Love..My Profile

  2. I can too. Damn right I can ride my bicycle. I did it three times last week for a mile and a half each time. The first half is uphill and tough. The middle part is pure yahoo, god invented hills and gravity so I can fly down the road at 20 mph or so without pedaling (my reward).

    My girls worry about me keeping my balance. Not to worry. I won’t fall.

    Not this week though. Can’t is temporary until the side effects of my latest chemo treatments wear off a little.

    When someone tells me I can’t, I get stubborn. Wanna bet? Dammit, who says I can’t.
    John McDevitt recently posted..Flash Fiction: The ChosenMy Profile

    • I know you can. I have seen you enough times. Hope you are well beyond on the mend. I need to check in to see what you are doing these days. I hate when I am gone this long.

  3. I can’t. Or, more accurately, I can’t be bothered.
    Binky recently posted..Wombania Fan Art Video IVMy Profile

  4. Very true Red! 🙂

    I have been through Hell because I helped others and now I limit my aid to friends because all too often I help and the person comes to rely on my always being there for them rather than help themselves.

    Now it is less of ‘can’t’ and more of ‘won’t’.

    You make me proud to know you my friend! 🙂

    Love and hugs to you and yours always!

    Prenin recently posted..Thursday – Shopping in the rain.My Profile

  5. I learned quite a few years ago that saying “I can’t” meant having to do pushups. “I can’t” was never accepted for “I won’t try”.

    Try, was all we were asked to do.
    C. Brown recently posted..What Is He ThinkingMy Profile

  6. Sometimes, it isn’t “I can’t”. Sometimes that is an excuse for other things, things that are much different than, “I can’t”.

    “I don’t want to.”
    “I can’t be bothered.”
    “I am afraid.”
    “I don’t care enough.”
    “I don’t care at all.”
    “It simply doesn’t matter to me.”
    “I don’t have it (whatever it is).”

    Sometimes, “I can’t” has other meanings and it is important we find out what they are. Sometimes it really is, “I can’t” and that is frightening, especially if the person saying it use to say “I can”. Maybe what they are really saying is, “I can’t anymore”.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Fall Flash 12My Profile

    • Exactly.

      And when “I can’t” really means “I don’t know how,” it’s best to move on, for when one doesn’t know how, but doesn’t admit it, any effort could result in disappointment, failure, and even disaster. The lineman who came out to view the torn electric wire (tree fell on it one night during a winter storm) who said “I can hook it back into the box” was overly optimistic. The guts of the box had been ripped out, and his attempt might have burned down the house and us in it.

    • I think “I can’t anymore” is sadder than all the others. It has a ring of unrequited (concern, love, friendship). xxx

  7. I learned years ago how limiting “I can’t” really is. I made lists with pros and cons and found ways that I CAN. Fear is the unknown. Sometimes you just have to face down the enemy and DO it. 🙂 Make a plan and the unknown is doable. 🙂
    Tess Kann recently posted..Hot Flash – ReachMy Profile

  8. Excellent post, Red.

    Can’t believe it’s been so long since I was here! I was reading Valentine, & she pointed this way.

    It IS a hell of a lot easier to not do, oh yes oh yes it is.

    I can. I’m blessed with health & intelligence, so I bloody better!
    Noeleen recently posted..Slowpoke Rodriguez – and Sorry About the Loud SexMy Profile

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