How many times have you found yourself saying, “I tried to help them…” in instances where someone you were trying to assist put forth no effort to help themselves?
“SK” seemed like a nice enough man. Upper 40’s, divorced, and on disability after a nearly fatal motorcycle crash. He’d moved to the area in an attempt to start his life over, get a change of scenery and get back on his feet. When the disability money had run out, he secured a job as a salesman but wasn’t very good at the job. He was computer illiterate, had short term memory problems, and unrealistic expectations of salary. Within days of starting work, he began tuning out and lost all enthusiasm.
He shared his story with me, venting that he just wanted to get his life back after the divorce, the accident, the vagrancy and the long string of “bad luck” that had befallen him. Shortly thereafter, he was thrown out of the motel he was living in for dealing drugs on the premises and had moved to another motel. When he came to me asking for advice and help and telling me he only had $11.00 to his name and no place to go, it sounded as if he was going to be one of those men who just wanted someone to latch onto for support.
I know the type, I’ve ended up with them many times in the past but I thankfully learned from those mistakes and did not let my heart be affected by his attempts. Instead, I gave him phone numbers and addresses of my landlord who has affordable apartments in the area and who would work with him, of the local outreach center who could provide food, clothing and other basic services, and to other places that could help him with his immediate needs. I even gave him my personal card letting him know I was available if he needed someone to talk to or to help him find additional assistance.
Well, the day after he was evicted from his motel room, he also lost the job he’d just started. At that time, I believe he also lost all hope and I felt very sorry for him. That was until I helped clear out his work area and found that not only had he left behind all the valuable information I’d given him for shelter, food and clothing, even my card – he’d thrown the information in the trash. Seeing that immediately changed my opinion of him and validated my gut instinct that this person did not want to do anything for himself. The opportunities he was given received zero effort from him (including the job).
It disgusts me that there are so many good people in the world who try to help others less fortunate by giving them the tools they need to help themselves yet the people they’re trying to help end up completely unappreciative of the help they’re given. I don’t know if it amounts to laziness, arrogance, selfishness, or all of the above, but these people who only seek to take what they can from others without any effort on their own part are just dirt in my opinion. They’ve no appreciation for the time and energy others are willing to put into them and do not deserve any sort of welfare or assistance until they are willing to do something for themselves.
That’s my vent for the day.
This post comes about after the Internet – this mysterious web that connects virtually every person and everything in the world – claims yet another victim, this time a 22 year old friendship; one that began long before Facebook or MySpace were so much as a thought, even before the practicality of personal computers came to light. It began back in high school between two girls on the road to finding themselves. This road was full of testing twists and turns, hills, valleys, and a few mountains that seemed to appear out of nowhere. It was a road of bonding and rebellion, of pacts and backstabbing, even of forks that strayed from the other side, often for a decade. One thing was certain – it always met back up in the middle.
Now, after all the years behind this road trip, it seems to have come to a screeching halt, twisted violently into irrepairably damaged shards of what it once was. One friend shared her joy, one shared her sadness. And with only two innocent, self-feeling words from the latter, “wouldn’t know,” the bomb was dropped that destroyed the delicate fabric that held together these two paths. Without compassion, the joyful girl without warning turned words to poison as she proceeded to attack the other, her life, her very feelings, dredging up vile phrases which had in fact nothing to do with the originating topic of conversation. It was as if something cracked in that pretty outer shell that she’d erected and out came the deluge of the pure ugliness within. Ah… now *there’s* the real Her. Shame it won’t be missed.
It shocked quite a few people, this sudden turn of attack. However, after 22 years, one does tend to be able to tell within a person what is real within them. This did not come as much of a surprise to the girl who attempted to share herself and came under attack, because this is how she always remembered the attacker – as one never to be trusted. Words of defense were uttered (read: typed), and that was it. More than two decades were simply erased with the clicking of “Delete.” Now, the fallout of such an event will no doubt continue to ripple on for days as news of it continues to pour into her e-mail in-box long after the deed was done. Certainly they don’t realize she can still see the talk behind her back while lurking in the e-shadows watching the comments fly… or, more than likely they do, in some ways, hope that the words do get back to her, if only for their own opinions to be heard as they jump on the Petty Train. But nevermind, she’s already moved on.
This would not likely have happened were these two friends in the same room, and the same two words had been uttered. Perhaps there may have been a glare, or compassion, or a quiet talk. But that’s the charm of the Internet. One may appear as deep as they desire but in reality, they only hold as much depth as the screen on which they write. It takes personal contact to find the true depth within a person. Online, we are but shallow waters in the sea of pixels. The ability to hide behind a screen makes people – pardon my language – pretty shitty – because there is no real recourse, no judgement, no penalty. Pixelife goes on unfettered, safe in the shallow end.
~~~ …and now, for something completely different. ~~~