Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hand in my pocket

Laurie and I were talking about selfish people tonight – no particular reason really, we just ended up there as our ride home conversation unfolded. We started talking about Super Bowl XL. More specifically, we started talking about how we didn’t care about who won. The second half is well underway and we’re watching the judging part of Iron Chef America instead.

Back to the topic at had. In my opinion, everyone is a little selfish. We all have that voice in our heads that is looking out for number one – and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m often accused of only thinking about myself – that’s a half truth – I’m only thinking about my stomach and what I want to put into it. If someone recommends that we go to East Side Mario’s for lunch, well, I recommend we go somewhere else. I’m not trying to criticize East Side’s or people who eat there. I’m simply saying that I don’t like that place and I don’t want to go there. I also don’t want to criticize East Side Mario’s because it is possibly associated with organized crime. I’m not saying all generic Italian themed chain restaurants are mob shell companies, but really – how does Olive Garden afford to give those breadsticks away for free? They fell off the back of a truck down at the docks, that’s how.

Ok, I’m off topic again. Let’s recap:

- Everyone is a little selfish
- Alex does not like Italian food

Right. So everyone is a little selfish, but how many people can you really say are selfless? The two we could name, and in a completely non-ass kissing reference, are our parents. I can honestly say that my parents would do almost anything for me. Laurie says the same thing about her parents. I started thinking about that and I’m pretty sure almost (hopefully) everyone could say that about their parents. Then again, I’ve heard horror stories – the worst one was one woman found out her unborn kid had a birth defect and opted to put the kid up for adoption. The logic (?) being that raising a child with a disability would put to much strain on her marriage. Now that does sound absolutely fucking horrible – but you can’t really judge anyone. Maybe the kid will be better off – you just don’t know. I’m not sure how I’d react in a similar situation – but I know that, personally, there is no decision to make – it’s your child and that’s the end of it.True selflessness is something to be awed at. My friend Stuart basically put his life on hold for a good ten years to take care of his mother as she battled cancer. He moved back home, found a job that would make him happy, and did everything and anything he could for her. There are plenty of men and women out there that would do that – but to see it first hand is awe inspiring.

Let me break out the clichés – like all things in life, there is a balance between being selfish and selfless. You can’t give yourself 100% of the time – I’ve seen people do that and they end up as empty shells. There are people who have a cause they can’t give enough too. There are those who can’t let go – especially some parents who can’t let their children go. One guy I knew got married – only he didn’t just marry the girl – he got her mother too. When a fight broke out, he didn’t get to argue with his new wife – he argued with her mother. The girl would call her mom, tell her the details (her details) and then the mother would call this guy back. Insanity – and purely selfish on that mother’s part.There’s a difference between being selfless and being used too. That’s where the red devil on your left shoulder (unless you’re in Australia where it’s your right) comes in handy, letting you know that something is up and in the words of Ice Cube – "You need to check yo’self before you wreck yo’self".


Reverend Moloquin said...

To play devil's advocate, it has been stated that there is no such thing as a selfless act (see Mark Twain's "What is Man?). Just stirring it up a bit because it's in my nature, and I'm bitter because I miss my shoes.

Nice touch with the picture of Mao Tse Tsung.

Nicole said...

I can say with 100% certainty my Dad would take a bullet for a stranger and yet, I know seemingly great parents who in the heat of a moment would not save their kid before themselves. In the words of Depeche Mode, "People are people."

Stuart C. said...

Dude, what you wrote was really nice. But hey, as you said, our folks will/would have done the same for us.

One time when my Mom was pregnant with me, she decided the piano was on the wrong side of the room. So, after moving it halfway across the apartment, she realized it wasn't a good idea for her to be doing this--being pregnant and all--and that my Dad to be would be coming home, and she knew he'd be upset because she tried to do it herself (Harry S. Clarry Jr. had a temper).

So anyway, she calls my Grandparents, and they say they will come help her. This being Brooklyn in the '60's, they didn't drive, so they had to take a couple buses. So while waiting for the second bus, in the cold winter, on Linden Blvd, suddenly, BANG!!! and whiff, off flies my Grandpa's hat. Anyway, he bends over to pick it up and there's a bullet hole right through both sides. I've seen the hat, complete with hole. My grandma almost killed my Mom for almost getting her husband shot dead. Pop moved the piano for his little girl, and my Dad never found out, at least as far as I know. There has to be something selfless in there somewhere...