Thursday, September 7, 2006

Thanks, I'm Fine

Other mortals may welcome “help”.
They may look upon “help” as a lessening of their earthly burden and a balm to the stress of daily life.

That must be bliss.

To me, “help” is a glaring signal of a lack of care on my part. A place where I have been personally deficient. “Help” actually causes stress for me, especially when it happens without my consent.

Coming home to find that a guest has cleaned the catboxes, done the dishes, swept the porch, and put the clean laundry on my bed is a red beacon of reminder that I did not clean the catboxes, do the dishes, sweep the porch, and put the clean laundry on the bed.

That is not to say that I do not enjoy helping others. I do, in fact, gain much personal fulfillment and satisfaction from helping others where I know that they actually require help and that help is within my means. It would be nice to claim a selfless beneficence, but that is, I think, rarely the case with humans. If a friend needs something that is not within his or her scope to procure, but it is within mine, I will do my best to provide it. I will not sacrifice more than I can afford either in strength or resources because it would merely render me, eventually, less capable of self reliance and therefore less capable of lending subsequent aid.

One must know one’s limits.

I do not apply my standards to the lives of others. Lest someone read this and believe me to be advocating a sort of laissez faire approach to social welfare. That is not the case. Were the society in which I live a utopia of equality and opportunity for all enforced by a legal, legislative, and executive authority with a sense of compassion, then perhaps I could adhere to the notion that America is, as Thomas Jefferson fervently believed, a “meritocracy”. That plainly not being the case, society and government must compensate.

Help, then, becomes relative.

At present, being born into the race and class position that I was, I do not require “help” from the government or society, be that help a program such as food stamps or a simple act of unsolicited kindness such as a simple household chore. At some point, life could throw me a curve that would require such aid, but for now, I’m good.

But cleaning the catboxes for me just makes me feel like an asshole.

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