Thursday, November 17, 2011

Talking and Doing

I was reading months back during one of my thousand hospital visits over the summer that people who talk about things they plan to do, usually never get them completed. 
The study indicated that when people announce a goal, they receive immediate satisfaction for simply having the goal that actually achieving it is no longer necessary. 
I’ve seen this in action in my own life and in the lives of people over the last few months.  When my mom was sick and then soon after she died people from all over offered to do “anything” to help.  I am a person who likes to do things myself but there has been a couple of things that I simply cannot do on my own.  Each time I’ve called on someone to help, I realized that people have varying views of what “anything” meant in terms of actually helping.  I can say confidently that I’ve not received any help that I’ve asked for.  Pretty interesting huh?

Now given what I know about this study, me expecting any actual help is my failing, not theirs.   I should’ve known that people who offered were simply being nice.  There’s nothing wrong with this either.  At a low point in my life, people giving me nice gestures was a positive thing.  Things only went badly when my expectations of their gesture were more literal and less symbolic.
So I’ve thought about a few questions that beg to be asked:
  1. Is there any use in talking about what you want to do at all?
  2. Why not simply meet a need that is in your ability without fanfare?
  3. Would you do what needs to be done if nobody ever knew about it?
It goes beyond my own personal example and swells into personal goals.  I see someone announce on their social networking that they’re on a diet and are trying to lose 25 pounds.  The applause that follow in the comments session dismantle the goal before it began. 

I’ve been excited to talk about a few things I’ve been working on over the last year but I do not dare.  Either people won’t care and that will discourage me or people will pretend to care and my brain will put up the Mission Accomplished banner on my project and I’ll start fitting myself for a flight suit.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

An evening with Spider-Man and Curious George

The weather was particularly good for Halloween this year and for once it accommodated trick-or-treating.  It’s always a challenge to get the right costume in the Pacific Northwest as the weather is generally cold and pissy.
Last night I was going to walk around my neighborhood with Spider-Man and Curious George.  Each of them had their own challenges that made the next two hours scarier than any horror movie.

1.  Spider-Man has a nervous stomach.  Once in costume he decided he needed to stay inside for the evening while throwing up.  I finally convinced Spider-Man to go with me and George and he could keep his mask half-off in the event he needed to honk.

2.  Curious George is willing to walk but chooses his own direction too often to keep tabs on him at night while reminding Spider-Man to say “thank you” after each visit and pointing out bushes he can puke in.  26 pounds of George will be carried through several blocks.

We get two houses down from ours and Spider-Man starts howling at the leaves on the ground.  I knew he’d get over it so we wiped the gooey strands dangling from his mouth and pressed on.  With tears in his eyes he went to about 6 or 7 front doors with George before Spidey announced that he had to pee and couldn’t wait.

Me:  You’re going to have to wait.

Spider-Man:  I can’t hold it!  I’m starting to pee a little

Our neighbor opened her door to the sight of Spider-Man holding his crotch while jumping up and down next to a giggling monkey.  “You can use my bathroom, come on in!” She said mercifully.

I needed to go in and help since Spidey wasn’t able to get enough of his costume off .  We walked into our neighbor’s downstairs water closet where George started to empty his bucket of treats into the toilet while Peter Puker started throwing up into the sink. 

With my left leg held out I kept George away from the toilet which looked like the neighbor’s had already placed a large tootsie-roll and had forgotten to flush.  With my left hand I got Spider-Man released from his costume and with my right hand I rinsed out our neighbor’s sink.  While the toilet flushes, Spider-Man looks down to button his pants and his mask cascades off of the top of his head into the bowl of now clean water.  So far we’re off to a good start. 

My wife messages my phone and asks if we’re having fun.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a free hand to reply and let her know that Spider-Man and George have nearly devastated the bathroom of  one of our neighbor’s, in less than a minute.

After saying thank you to our friendly neighbors for the use of their water closet, the three of us trudged on into the night without incident.  We returned home about an hour later with about seven pounds of chocolate and high fructose corn syrup.