Saturday, March 21, 2009

The boy who cried lamb

We all know the story about the boy who cried wolf, right? Is there a comparable story for the person who says she'll do something, commits to do something, nay, even promises to do something . . . and then doesn't? Because I think that's an important parable to tell as well. As a matter of fact, I think it's a more important parable to tell.

And that's my pet peeve of the day, although merely dubbing it a "pet peeve" is too gentle. When I think of pets, I think of spunky puppies or self-righteous cats or even iguanas and goldfish. Occasionally, you even get the person who thinks a boa constrictor is cute. But "pet" isn't the word for my peevishness over this issue, unless you're talking about pets that go ballistic on you, like chimpanzees or tigers.

Even "peeve" is wrong. It goes nicely with "pet," of course, but my irritation with people who say they will do something and then don't do it goes way past the definition of a vexation or a grievance.

I can keep this brief, believe it or not.

All of you out there who make a commitment . . . KEEP IT! I don't care if you were tired or if you decided to have dinner out with your family instead or if, when the moment rolled around for you to act, you decided you just didn't feel like it. I don't even care if you overextended yourself and it's going to be harder than you thought it would be to do what you said you would do. KEEP IT! It's called being responsible. It's called realizing you're not four years old anymore and your parents aren't following around after you to clean up your messes. You know what the word I'm looking for is? Adult. So grow up. You want to be a child again? Then go back to sucking your thumb and cuddling up with a blanket and your mom, because the rest of us grown-ups out here? If you don't do what you said you would do--or even find someone else to do it for you (a completely acceptable alternative as far as I'm concerned)--who does do it? Us! Got that? The responsibility you blew off doesn't just magically disintegrate and float away with the next wind gust. It gets passed on to the next unsuspecting person in line who has likely already made a commitment or 500.

And like the boy who cried lamb, next time you say you'll do something, we won't believe you. And if that was your intent all along, then at least be honest enough with the rest of us, show us some respect, and try this: "I can't help." We might not like hearing that, but at least we'll be able to find someone else we can rely on.


gin said...

What was that? Do I know? If I guess, am I probably right?

Bobbie said...

No, this wasn't based on anyone you know--just a couple of frustrating experiences I had within a short time of each other.