~Col. James P. Hart
Those words came to mind the other day when I was trying to make sense of a weird thing that had happened between an acquaintance and a friend. It occurred to me that trying to apply logic to an illogical situation was no more productive than trying to open a jar of pickles with olive oil smeared on one's hands.
The other morning, I shambled into the bathroom. It was still dark out and the unmistakable odor of Eau de Skunk wafted through the open window. I heard the Colonel's voice in my head and I knew what to do.
The situation also involved me, and that sure didn't make me happy, but I also realized I had a responsibility to both people, and especially to myself. My "Just Say No" campaign was being threatened, and doggone it, I was doing pretty well with it. Now was not the time to backslide!
Being a problem-solver sort, and employing a fair amount of logic to said problems, I did a little research on a medical condition that was being blamed for the erratic and unkind behavior being visited upon my friend and me by said acquaintance. Maybe it's my dyed in the wool Unitarian response or my need to do research before I write. Whatever. I read up and realized there are mitigating circumstances, but the percentages are awfully low. Then today, an article supplied by another friend offered the thought that extreme weather can also play a part. (There was no extreme weather at the time of the unkind act.)
Anyway, with due diligence completed, I crafted a response to an apology. The upshot was a sort of 'don't call me, I'll call you' thing, but I did pledge polite behavior on my part, and I am honoring that pledge. No point in being unkind in return, after all.
Over the last several years, I have had to deal with people who simply have issues. Now Remona will tell you, "If you're breathing, you've got issues." And she is absolutely spot on. But I'm finally at a point in my life where I can see my way clear to sweeping those issue-ridden folks out of my path. I no longer feel the need to tough it out in the name of being understanding, kind, or open-minded. That's mostly because I've entered the age of funerals, not to mention a better idea of the law of diminishing returns.
Let me explain. In our 40s and 50s, we start the process of needing to attend the funerals of various grandparental units, parental units, and families of our friends. Sometimes it's colleagues or co-workers who pass away, and we don the appropriate dark clothing and show up. By the time our 60s loom on the horizon, we're old hands at the funeral industry, and we're getting a pretty clear picture of what kind of a legal scam it is. Still, we have to honor the wishes of the dearly departed. We cremate, bury, scatter ashes, and so on.
The idea of time passing and the unfinished business of our loved ones makes us think - at least it's made ME think. I don't want to waste my time on things that do not feed my spirit, or bring me a sense of satisfaction. I do not want to walk around with the burden of grudges. Those things weigh a ton! So I began a campaign of Just Say No. It caused a 40 year old gal pal to giggle, but she has been holding my feet to the fire, and I'm being diligent. She can cut to the chase, and I'm not in need of her raised eyebrow, y'know?
When the entire mess erupted, no one talked to the perpetrator about what she did. No one knew what to say! It was that mean! She rightly complained that if someone had an issue they needed to bring it to her. But then she compounded the sin and things really got out of hand.
That's when I smelled the skunk and the sage advice of BGF's dear ole dad came into my head. I heard his voice and if there is anything I've learned, do not ignore the voice of experience, even if he's speaking from the grave!
Don't engage with someone who doesn't fight fairly. Don't belabor a situation that cannot be repaired. If duct tape, WD40, a coat hanger, and a big black trash bag can't fix it, then put it in the shredder and let it go.
Somebody oughta explain this to #45.