HellPing

hellping
I remember when the road to Hell was barely a rough track, primarily paved with the odd good intention. Today, thanks to social media, the road’s more like an eight lane beltway, endlessly circling a burgeoning metropolis. You see, social media has given good intentions unprecedented reach. What was once no more than an occasional wink and nudge has become a continuous, unblinking stare and a disturbingly hard shove. The infrequent, useful ping has become an unrelenting HellPing, good advice morphed into a nasty vice, with advertisements attached.

I am flooded with exhortations, cursed with blessings, and smothered in insights. I continuously re-realize that I’m not the person I really could be and probably should be. I could change all that today, given that I apparently didn’t change all that yesterday. By this time tomorrow I could have (finally) harnessed that slumbering leader within and made a real difference in this world, like enticing ten thousand people to ‘like’ me. Usually, only a handful ever do.

Who elected me to replace Dale Carnegie? The harder I try to incite the best out of you, the noisier it seems to get for everyone involved. You can add to the noise by trying too, amplifying the noise to little positive effect. Perhaps advice might be a dish best served a la carte; not part of an unending feast, but as snack-sized nibbles, where the crunch and brininess awakens the senses rather than overwhelming them. Nobody needs their insights to arrive super-sized.

The You Can’t Tell Nobody Nuthin’ Rule renders moot even best intentions. It seems like you could tell anybody anything, but you just can’t. Telling proves to be one of the more reliable ways of accomplishing the opposite of your intentions. Adults especially find pleasure in disobeying direct orders, and we’re all expert at disobedience, with special mastery of deflection of anything purported to be good for us. Hinting yields equally lousy results, perhaps because, though the intensity’s muted, the depth of intention’s unaffected, and adults can sense this.

Under the Do For Rule, doing unto others too easily leaves them done for, producing the very helplessness the act was intended to reduce. I am never more at my most helpless than when someone’s leaning across their plate, cutting my meat for me. I might never feel as masterful than after the third time, having utterly failed on my own the first two times before finally figuring it out for myself.

We might have evolved into a life form primarily employed promoting interpersonal evolution toward ever higher life forms, though much of our current reportedly sorry state seems attractive enough. I am capable of curing my own frowns, though almost never by merely ‘turning them upside down,’ as my dear mother used to suggest. I assume quite joyfully, even understanding that I’m really making an ass out of you and me whenever I do. I can be a charming ass sometimes.

I don’t doubt the intentions, but I dare not ignore the paving they produce. I know full well that I really should take your advice like you should take mine, with a grain of fine, course-ground salt rendered from the tears of all the frustrated intentions before. But we produce such volumes of good advice now that even nibbling no more than every twentieth homily could pickle a stone.

I preach caution here, recognizing that I’m surely spitting into a very stiff wind. Don’t ever do anything I advise. No, wait, that didn’t come out quite right. Always let your own conscience be your guide. .. No, wait, ... ungh ... don’t even take my wooden nickel.

Am I making an ass of myself?

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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