Skip to main content

"If You Didn't Want Me To Kill Him . . . . ": Problem Solved

"If you didn't want me to kill him, why'd you leave me alone with him?"

-- Mouse (portrayed brilliantly by Don Cheadle) to Easy Rawlins (portrayed by Denzel Washington), from Devil in a Blue Dress

I so relate to that quote. I definitely suffer from "Mouse Syndrome" -- if you present me with a problem, I'm apt to solve it in my fashion, whether you like it or not. It's one of my character flaws that clearly still needs work.

A friend of mine called recently to vent anger and frustration about a problem. The problem then made me angry and frustrated, and I approached solving it in a manner far different from the more reasoned and diplomatic manner my friend would have employed, upsetting my friend. We go back over twenty years. I haven't changed. I guess I need to.

You see, I'm not the kind of person who can simply listen and commiserate when you tell me about a problem that is upsetting you. My instinct is to solve the freakin' problem. In my own fashion. The bigger problem is that I'm not nice or diplomatic when I solve the problem, but I get results. For example:

- When friends of mine I served with on the board of a non-profit complained that the president needed to step down at the end of his/her term but probably wouldn't, I solved the problem in my own manner: I went to the president's house, told the president that he/she needed to step down at the end of his/her term, and, in any event, I would be running for his/her seat at the end of his/her term. I did. I won. Problem solved.

-- When my sister complained that five cruise tickets I had bought for her, my mother, and my aunts had not arrived three days before the cruise, I called the cruise line and told them that if those tickets weren't delivered the next day, I'd be serving them with a civil complaint the day after. It was not a threat. The tickets arrived the next day. When my sister asked me how I was able to get the tickets to them in time for their flight to Miami, and I told her what I'd done, she was horrified. My response: If you didn't want me to solve the problem, you shouldn't have told me. You should be happy I solved the problem. Problem solved.

--When a relative of mine complained about her adult son not having a job and living off her, my response was curt: Put his ass out. Problem solved.

I just can't help it, and I come by it naturally. My parents are the same way.

My father was the kind of father who had little compassion for weakness. If you got in a fight and lost, his response was don't come home until you kick that kid's ass, and if you don't kick his ass, I'm gonna kick yours. Problem solved.

My mother was the kind of woman who didn't have patience for venting. Once my aunt, her best friend, "vented" about all the bad things her kids were doing and how her blood pressure had shot up because of their shenanigans. My mother calmly picked up her purse and keys and, while still in her slippers, went to my aunt's house, cussed out my cousins, and told them, "I'm not going to let you niggers kill my sister." Problem solved. At least for a while.

So if you tell me your boyfriend's beating you, I'm not commiserating. I'm downloading the form for a restraining order.

If you tell me that your ex-husband hit you when picking up your child for visitation, I'm not commiserating. I'm helping you draft your declaration and motion to re-open your custody and visitation agreement.

But commiserate while you vent? I'm so not the one, and I just can't help it. So just don't tell me unless you want me to solve the problem. And it won't be nice, but I always get results.


Popular posts from this blog

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.