Stay connected. Seems like a good idea. After all, it was Aristotle who observed almost 2,400 years ago that man is a social animal. We may not be doing such a good job of being sociable nowadays but neither did they back then.
There are times, unfortunately, when you might think, “Enough of this SHIT.” So let me share what helps me. Indeed it keeps me a happy camper in some respects.
Without meaning to, I feel I’m always coming out ahead in all my personal relationships. If I think that Joe or Sally out there has taken advantage of me and that the balance is now in my favor, it doesn’t take much reflection on my part to change my mind. “I owe them!” Plain and simple. That’s the I O in the title.
I was told as a kid “Neither a borrower nor lender be.” But if you were in a place where you need to borrow, you darn well made sure to repay your debt. No stiffing or default. An honest person pays in full. There’s no room for sweeping the chips off the table and running.
I know that I didn’t grow the lettuce in the salad I’m eating tonight with a winter storm raging outside. Nor did I make the veggie burger that I’ll chomp on as the entrée. And I didn’t brew the beer started at Happy Hour with my wife. Didn’t know and didn’t thank all of those in the supply chain and the bookkeeping track of what I owe my wife and family is humongous. So I owe them and You (U) too (2).
I don’t find these obligations depressing. They’re just part of people being interdependent. I lean on them and they lean on me. I know they’d want it that way if they would give it a little thought. Some people grew the lettuce, others made the burger, and brewed the beer without asking me about my politics, noticing the color of my skin, bothering about my religion, or caring bugger-all about a long list of things that keep people apart. And don’t forget all the people involved in the infrastructure – building the highways, transporting the goods, drilling oil wells, and refining the gasoline. Wow – and that’s just a start on who I owe.
Yeah, so I owe them and will hang in here as long as I can, trying my best to work off this debt of being human. And I O U 2. So stick around here buddy and we’ll work on this together. Maybe we can negotiate a repayment plan, and get a discount for a couple of jokes. Don’t forget I can shovel my neighbor’s walk, and he can get on the phone with someone in Arizona, who can in turn send a small package of cumquats to someone in Iowa. Interdependency – we connect with others and it’ll work out.
Oops. I almost forgot to tell you: Smiles and acts of kindness will get you a 10% discount from the get-go.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at email@example.com.
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