Wednesday, December 26, 2018

David Copperfield Postscript

Some might read my last posting and think to themselves:
“How are strangers supposed to KNOW you’re an expert unless you spell it out? It’s ridiculous to assume they’ll hang on the word of some random stranger. In fact, this sounds like mental illness, walking around sulking about how people don’t magically recognize your well-hidden supposed awesomeness.

Either man up and boast (or at least state your credentials), or else reconcile yourself to being an ignored random shmo.“
Indeed, it’s a symptom of both autism and schizophrenia to expect strangers to recognize one's inner life (and to feel hostile when they fail to register one's self-imagined specialness). I don’t believe I have that illusion, nor is this my point.

I certainly don’t expect people to intuit my expertise and listen raptly. I just question why it cuts so extremely the other way. That’s the interesting question requiring the lengthy answer.

Again, we expect awesomeness to arrive with shiny veneer and gravitas. Without those markers, we actively reject, not just passively ignore. And that’s an instinct to be overcome, because toothy David Copperfields in well-pressed tuxedos will never show up to help you. Those cultivators-of-image are strictly transactional. Helpers, by contrast, are there (usually briefly) for you, not for them. Neither glossy nor suave, they project no cultivated image because image is for the vain and selfish, and projection is for those with agendas.

One can’t possibly know who I am or what I know, obviously. But when I shyly pipe up or chip in (stammering a bit and displaying a rattling intensity, because everything’s the most critical thing in the world) and you squint your eyes to size me up, maybe, just maybe, you’re looking for the wrong stuff. Apparently so, given how those size-ups pan out. Most often, I never get the chance to even imagine stating my credentials. I'm doomed from the first word because I am not the thing you're looking for - i.e. someone with gravitas and sparkle (this, btw, is a great example of the Visualization Fallacy I once wrote about!).

Listen, if I offer, say, chow tips but your spidey sense tells you “Hell no!”, you’re gonna miss out, that’s all. People sometimes need to override their innate spidey sense, much as they’ve learned to modulate their innate lust and aggression.

I don’t have a fraught need to be of service, so none of this is frustrating on my end. Its just a shame for you! I don’t sulk over rejection, because I have nothing at stake. I’m not seeking praise, gratitude, or new friends, just glad to help and get you back on your way. I’m available....though seldom used. And the world is quietly full of us. So I’m letting you know.

People recoil from help while ruing the heaven that ignores their prayers. It’s a nutty state of affairs. But the dilemma is your’s, not ours. It’s not that we need better ID badges, it’s that everyone ought to stop overlooking life’s manifold gifts and chasing preconceived empty images. Help is at hand (the answer blows in the wind!) and we actively, stubbornly, maddeningly repel it!

tl;dr: Just stop spurning creation’s gifts, that’s all.


Display Name said...

I think Joseph Campbell had a quote in one of his books about the muses leading those who will follow and dragging the rest of us. My friend was under the weather but past the contagious part and restless for a little outing. We went to dogtown a rescue near us that had a scruffy dog named brussels who had recently had his eye removed. We wanted to see if he was available for adoption yet. Dogtown has a pleather couch for prospective adopters to interact with the pups. Brussels was still on the mend and my friend was like "ready to go"? And I doomed us by saying that if we were already here we should ask to see the elderly chicahua mix hanging out behind the counter. Well they let the little terror loose and he jumped on my lap in one fluid motion and started to kiss my face. And he smiled at me. The staff was astonished and the one woman exclaimed "well that is impressive! I looked confused and she explained that he doesn't like everyone. I was helpless and that is how I ended up with a grinchy chichaha snoring on my lap.

Jim Leff said...

Thanks for the Campbell quote; it’s a good one

Display Name said...

didn't ben franklin say that beer was proof that god loves us? do you still use that email Jim? Was pestering you about beer selections from Well Crafted in Lansdale.

Jim Leff said...

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the offerings at Well Crafted.

Display Name said...

You need to remedy that stat!

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