Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.
It’s good to be back with you. Yes, I took a week off. This would not be the time to say, “You were gone?” Writers have fragile feelings. We like to think people are hanging on every word and can’t wait to read more from us. Okay, stand-up comedy made my feelings a little less fragile. It all changed the night some guy in the back of a sold-out crowd yelled, “You suck!”
I think I’ve told that story before, so I won’t go into it now. The point is, I lived through it. And after that night, I was never again afraid of somebody sharing their own thoughts so vocally. In fact, I almost looked forward to it. That’s what happens when you have a six-hour drive home to lick your wounds and come up with all kinds of vile expressions to put somebody in their place.
Thankfully, I never had to use any of them, because it never happened again. It’s hard to believe that, in fifteen years of comedy across most of the nation, nobody else felt the need to humiliate me in front of a crowd. I guess when you’re ready for them, you have this look on your face that says, “Go for it!” Kids always do behave better when mom has a wooden spoon.
Having a thick skin is one of those things that can be good or bad, depending on the situation. When your grandchild is crying because of a popped balloon, that’s a time for compassion. When they’re crying because you took away their steak knife, sympathy is a little harder to find. And then they say, “I don’t like you!” and you start crying. Oh well.
We’re living in a time when we all need that perfect balance of compassion and a thick skin. People around us are hurting. They’re sick. They’re afraid. They need comfort, not some jackass telling them to “suck it up, buttercup!” Yes, life can be tough. They know that. They don’t need a reminder. What they need is somebody to say, “I’m here. How can I help?”
That doesn’t mean we take the world’s problems as our own, but to the extent that one of us is hurting, we’re all hurting. When a player gets hurt on the field, the team circles in to protect them, because even the most uncelebrated lineman is just as important as the quarterback. Try playing without a few of those linemen and you’ll see what I mean.
To be sure, there are times when the best thing we can do for somebody is to make them stand on their own. Even the Bible tells us, give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day – teach a man to fish and he’ll buy a boat and you’ll never see him again. Well, something like that. Which explains why my wife gave me a copy of “Fishing for Dummies.” Point taken.
Your first day on the job, you needed somebody to show you the ropes. Hopefully somebody was willing to help. And there’s little doubt some hotshot was standing off to the side, making snide remarks and waiting for you to fail. Every company has at least one. So, here’s the question – which one of those people made the biggest difference, for you and for the team?
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And sure, it may be easier to just cut that link out and cast it aside, but what you end up with is a shorter chain. It makes more sense to beef up that weak link and make it as strong as the rest. In fact, if you could do the same with all those weak links somebody else tossed aside, you’d have the biggest and strongest chain around.
We can’t solve the world’s problems on our own, but looking the other way won’t make them magically disappear. Like anything else, if we each take a small bite out of the problem, it becomes that much more manageable. Help those who can’t help themselves and encourage those who can.
The best pitcher can’t win a game without an equally strong catcher. And even the guy in right field (you know, where the dandelions grow) is just as critical to the team’s success. There are no unnecessary players – in sports, or in life. Winning teams aren’t built by exclusion – they’re the natural result of each person helping every other person become the very best they can be.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reservedFollow @dglardon