Not Alone

Harry Drabik

I think it’s a bet I’d win saying I’ll wager there are a lot of us who rise to occasions under pressure. Something I’m supposed to do will hang over me for a long time until I’m ready to pounce. Might be part of devious human nature to procrastinate or maybe it’s simply a device to keep us from acting too hastily. It’s human to claim operation on plan or reason, but observation shows “feelings” play a more than minor role. Emotional response to Hillary, Obama, or Trump comes before whatever basis is used to support the emotion.

Looking back (and no one taught or encouraged me) the process of holding back (diplomatic for procrastination) was with me early and strong. In Grade Eleven Solid Geometry (mathematical I am not) a three dimensional project was one class requirement. I decided on a scale house made of paper. My tool and die maker father was also a draftsman so I had the tools needed for the drawing. After that I coasted. A day or so before due date I rose to the task of converting the plan to a model. Frankly, the model meant little to me. In honesty I intended to do as little as possible to create it. After scale drawing everything and cutting the walls, partitions, openings, and etc.my plan was put the thing together with clear tape. This was a flaw. Had I used stiff pasteboard I might have succeeded, but flimsy typing paper wasn’t at all cooperative. I gobbed together what became progressively more of an awful mess before coming up with a Hail Mary that would be a last minute solution. My model house went into a large brown grocery bag and I went to the bus where by tragic accident my project was crushed. I turned in decent set of scale drawings and a flattened bag with my supposed model inside. The instructor looked at me and in the bag. He may have known, but let me get away with it. To me putting my model in a bag and flattening it was a practical solution to an immediate problem. Procrastination, a flattering term for laziness, was an issue I set aside.

Even well, well after the event I could make a lengthy defense of my adolescent actions. I knew an elderly woman who repeatedly told of “snitching” several eggs from a farmer’s coop while on a visit to her sister. Each time her account gave the act of theft a solid reason; “You couldn’t get a fresh egg in New York City.” The presumed truth in that defense in no way changes the fact the eggs were stolen. A plausible defense from a little old lady was sufficient to let the matter slide by without need to call her thief every time the story came up. On average out kind seems quite ready to look aside or gloss over our personal foibles and often times those of others. It is kindness to let some things pass, but it is just as possible for our kind to jump on things to make the minor into catastrophic and never-ever fail to sneak it into our remarks. We’re demonically good at not letting go whether it is to defend egg stealing or denouncing the thief as a major felon.

I’m not alone sharing the traits of humanity, and I doubt I’m alone feeling great unease at the tone and content of so much of the discourse hurtling around us. Where’s the MUTE or PAUSE button that might allow a chance to consider during the hail of verbiage? Well as you know there isn’t one. For perspective and calm in the riot of justifications, allegations, and assumptions we have only whatever resources we can give ourselves. I remember thinking during the War on Drugs (there have been quite a few of these over time) a warning strategy would never be a success, but level-headed information about the effects, especially in terms of living and working with “users” could be helpful. But it is a lot easier and convenient to promote Just Say No and go away feeling accomplished than get into the wrangle of what dependency does to individuals and those near-dear or at work. Am I alone suspecting our kind prefers a clear and simple solution to one that’s going to be a boogey to work through? And yet, what’s gained not addressing issues or problems straightforwardly? We can feel sympathy for the homeless, but if that group is largely (some say predominantly) made of addicts and mentally disturbed then what do we accomplish other than move their suffering into nicer quarters? In other words, one tactic to pause or mute discordant notions is to reject the premise being yowled about. If people want your help with a problem they are mislabeling tell them to come back when they have it figured out. There is no benefit for you, them, or society to work a false trail.

I hope I’m not alone finding some peace in public life sorting out projections from verifiable info. When projection is used it often tells a great deal more about the one making the statement than the subject. This is easy to spot when the projection is spooks hiding under the bed and far more difficult to sort in a more serious projection such as commies, Nazis, or racists. Commie hunters warning of takeovers wanted their own takeover. Projection is funny that way. It accuses others of what they’re doing, though with a twist such as followers of Marx dividing along socialist versus communist with essentially the same goal. In the present climate I see claims of racism against the array of non-discrimination laws. I’m also inclined to view as racist those who make frequent reference or accusation about race as standing a much stronger chance of such prejudice than those not doing so. Everyone has preferences/biases. It is how we act on them that can be discriminatory. Judging others based on our assumptions about color, income, etc. is itself a form of the behavior being called out.