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" …I'm likely to just give her what I think she wants to receive in return,
and that without even asking her what answer she wants."

A quarter of a century or so ago, my dear friend Wayne Strider caught me inflicting help. He patiently explained to me that most help works better if one remembers to first ask the target if they want help. Simply seeming to need help doesn't mean that someone wants it. He'd caught me presuming. I think of myself as a helpful do-gooder type, delighted to assist, sometimes altogether too delighted to just jump in and assist without first asking for permission. Maybe that kind of help might be better classified as self-help, the sort of help one provides to feed their own need to feel helpful. It's one of the more popular ways to drive others crazy, a benevolent double-bind, like insisting that another put on their sweater because I'M cold.

Let's call this curious assistance GooDooding.
Wayne tried for years to woo his true love by preparing steaming pots of one of his very favorite dishes, lentil soup. He firmly believed that if Eileen truly loved him, she'd quite naturally also love his lentil soup, but Eileen had hated lentil soup since before she'd even met Wayne, and meeting him had not changed her opinion of the stuff. I think Wayne became more sensitive to GooDooding after his true love had a pointed sit-down with him to 'splain the story. He had no choice, other than deciding that she didn't really love him, but to swallow her explanation. He swallowed.

I find evangelicals to be among the most offensive GooDooders. They've not only found their true purpose of life but somehow concluded that their true purpose came fully transferrable to others. Their one size supposedly fits all, or should. Those who won't accept this great gift are simply dismissed as damned, as if their only choice was to make the only choice that wouldn't entail a choice, another double bind. For the presumed sinner, choosing to be 'saved' amounts to perhaps a more virulent form of damnation than choosing not to choose, the alternative being a choiceness choice, even if it comes presented as smothered in grace. These transactions come across as a big fat game of Now I've Got You, You Son Of A Bitch, with punishment humbly provided until repentance ensues.

I love The Muse, and she sometimes chooses to dispense unrequested good advice, a bloodless form of GooDooding. Her charter doesn't require her to fulfill the role of Helpful Hinting Heloise, but I suppose proximity alone makes this role-play inevitable. She's the one who observed me adding a dash of salt to an entree, so who else could knowingly remind me that limiting my salt intake could help better regulate my blood pressure? This sort of good advice leaves me wanting to binge my way through a two pound box of Leslie's Kosher, but I swallow extra hard and somehow retain my usual bland passivity, even thanking her after a fashion. I'm no saint in this regard, either, for I drop the occasional intended-to-be-helpful hint, myself, which generally prompt the same sort of reaction her helpful hints spark in me. I understand that it could be suicidal to ask first if she'd like my honest evaluation of the morning's fashion choice. I can swallow my advice without hardly wincing. When she wants my perspective she can, and often does, ask for it, though I'm likely to just give her what I think she wants to receive in return, and that without even asking her what answer she wants. I'm a GooDooder almost all the way down.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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