Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No Whining Please

I admit it. I do not like whining. I don't like it when I do it and can't stand it when others do it. I think it is important to know the difference between a real problem and a slight inconvenience. Some folks just cannot seem to understand the difference.

One of my favorite stories is one told by Robert Fulghum about himself. Fulghum is famous for his funny and thoughtful books like All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Fulgum tells about his first real job out of college as a horse wrangler on a resort ranch in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The owners were real penny pincher's when it came to paying the help and feeding them. One night Robert was ranting about the wieners and sauerkraut that they had been fed for lunch for nine straight days and then to top it off the lunches were deducted from their meager pay. Robert went on and on about how unfair it all was and how steamed he was and how he was going to quit this lousy job. Eventually no one was left to listen to his rantings except the night auditor, Sigmond Wolman. Wolman was a quiet, hard working man who patiently listened to all Robert's complaints without a word. Robert liked Wolman and respected him. He had no idea that Wolman was a survivor of the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz. Finally the quiet Wolman could take it no more and he spoke; "Lissen, Fulghum. You know what's wrong with you? You do not know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, --- you have a problem. Everything else is just an inconvenience. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer and happier. And you will not annoy people like me. Good night." He walked out of the room. Robert Fulghum never forgot that night.

Life is lumpy but a lump in your oatmeal and a lump in the breast are not the same thing.

A friend of mine is making a journey of grief. His dear wife of 30 plus years died a year ago. That is a real problem. My frustrations with the sluggish economy are just an inconvenience. When I think of him crawling into that empty bed at night and his broken heart that is slowly mending, it puts it all in such clear perspective.

No whining for me.

Just thinking, Steve

No comments:

Post a Comment