Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's help worth?

I was reading something today that reminded me of an opinion I have long held (also reminded me of a "what if?" situation for a novel plot) for some time.

You know when there's a death in the family or someone's been in an accident or in the hospital or some such, and everyone calls and says, "What can I do to help?" If things are not too bad and you can cope, of course you would rather do things yourself. But if you're really strung out, you grab for kind offers.

So you say, "Yes! Thank you, Helma, you can help! If I shoot you a list of telephone numbers, can you call all these people right away and tell them Uncle Henry died and when the funeral is? We have only two days until the funeral so they have to be notified right away. And can you ask Jim and Hank if they will be pall bearers? Thank you sooooo much!"

The next morning, after spending the night helping Aunt Minerva select a suit and take it to the funeral home and visit the pastor and reserve the church, you call Helma and ask if she had any trouble contacting anyone, and she says, "Oh, you know, I had to drive the girls to their ballet lesson and Herman got home late from work so supper was late and by then it was 9:30 and I thought that was too late to call, but I'll get on it right away this morning."

So at noon you call Helma (between ordering flowers, finding soloists, and contacting the Church Circle for lunch) and you ask her how it went, and Helma says, "Oh, my, I'm sorry, you hit me at such a busy time. I'm on it right now, though; I've set aside time."

You tell her forget it, you'll do it. Your voice is grim. And five will get you ten she is offended and says something like, "Well! That's the last time I offer to help!"

Something like this has happened to me several times and I've learned my lesson. Let people view me as someone who won't accept help from her friends; from now on I'm only accepting help from what? overachievers? true friends? non-morons?

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