A Quote For Thought


Occasionally I come across a quote . . . I wonder is funny . . . or just dumb. 

“I don’t exactly hate you, but if you were on fire and I had water, I’d drink it” seems to be a bit of a head scratcher. Initially, it did pull me up a bit short and I could see the humor in it, but . . .  If someone said that to me, I honestly don’t know what I’d think or do . . . maybe laugh . . . and maybe inquire as to why it was said, maybe shrug it off or perhaps reply, “Good to know.”

Of course, it depends upon who said it . . . and my particular mood at the moment.

There’s a major difference in responses depending upon the age group. Since I’m a mature adult, I don’t particularly care what others say or think of me. Well, that’s on a good day. If I’m down and feeling insecure, I might take it to heart and wonder why it was said. Of course, I’d dissect it word for word.

 “I don’t exactly hate you . . .” That’s positive . . . but back-handed to a degree . . . maybe even wimpy.

“but if you were on fire and I had water, I’d drink it.” Whoa! That’s mean spirited. It contradicts the beginning of the sentence of not exactly hating me . . . so, I couldn’t expect help from this person . . . Almost like Nero playing the violin while Rome burned. 

Perhaps the amount of water this person had wasn’t enough to put out the fire . . . or there was a message for me to bring my own water in case of such an event. It’s always good to be prepared.

So, possible responses would be:

  • Good to know.
  • Thanks for the warning.
  • Really?
  • Having a bad day?
  • What brought this on?

You see, for me, this seems to reflect more on the person making the comment than it reflected on me. I would wonder if they were just trying to be funny . . . or there was a deep seeded meaning behind it. Had I offended this person in some way? Would it be wise to engage him/her in conversation . . . or shrug it off?

Too often we don’t know the best comment. And, there are many factors to consider — how well we know the person and if it is worthwhile to pursue a friendship with him/her or was the person “grand standing” with friends?

Bullying has never been my strong suit — not in being a bully and not handling bullying very well. All I know is to ignore it and not allow it to get under my skin. I honestly don’t remember being bullied . . . I walked around with my head in the clouds most of the time. And if I was bullied, I ignored it . . . because I didn’t hear it.

When I was growing up, my family moved around a lot. I was always the new kid . . . so I had a lot on my mind . . . remembering my schedule, locker combination, or the location of the rest rooms. Some kids were nice and friendly . . . and then there were others . . . they were full of themselves and didn’t really pay attention to the rest of us . . . and if they chose to pick on me, I’d be preoccupied with the various thoughts that would ramble through my mind: 

  • what’s for lunch?
  • what bus am I to ride home?
  • and if I didn’t ride the bus, would I remember my way home?

I’d be thinking about my homework . . . song lyrics . . . or whatever popped into my head. Sometimes I’d notice my feet hurt from the shoes I was wearing and how I was getting a blister on my heal . . . and if I had a band-aide or needed to get one from the nurse’s office. 

Yes, I was a geeky kid . . . I made friends easily . . . but the older I got, the more difficult . . . but there were many who hadn’t grown up there . . . or didn’t fit in . . . I guess it’s more of a “thing” for kids today than it was back in my day. But, there was still a degree of bullying.

Isn’t that a sad commentary on modern society?

I don’t have any great advice on the subject or why I’m writing this . . . or picked that quote . . . at first it amused me, but now I’m no longer amused. Maybe my choosing it or writing about it has to do with something I heard on the radio . . . or in passing when I was running errands . . . or just one of those random thoughts that stuck in my mind . . . 

Maybe it was a message I heard in church on the subject of “forgiveness.” We are to forgive, but not necessarily to forget. I may have heard it wrong when I was growing up or the message was wrong or I have it wrong now. Forgiving seems much easier than forgetting. The remembering gives us the lessons to grow . . . to mature . . . maybe even develop a tough skin so we aren’t easily offended and allow others to be and live as they choose without judgment. And not to go around with a chip on our shoulder.

When you stop to think of it . . . most conflicts in families and friendships stem from someone not forgiving and not forgetting . . . but allowing it to fester . . . and grow into something ugly . . . Jealousy comes to mind . . . I have a neighbor who is into one-up-man-ship, she always has to be right and always has to be better than me. That’s fine with me . . . it’s a waste of time for me to dwell upon such a thing. If it makes her feel good, good for her. I guess I’m just not that competitive or care. I’m confident with who I am. I have nothing to prove. She’s a fine woman with a loving husband and two grown children and I don’t know how many grandchildren, but she’ll remind me the next time I see her . . . 

Isn’t life much easier when we follow the “golden rule” broadly translated to “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.”

That seems to apply to everything . . . especially bullying . . . unless the bully wants to be bullied . . . but I don’t choose to be a bully . . . that would just keep the cycle going . . . or playing this senseless game with my neighbor . . . it’s a total waste of my time and energy . . . Obviously, in these two examples, the bully and the neighbor aren’t following the golden rule . . . and neither are others who use such tactics as lies, posturing and bullying to get what they want . . . and ruin others in the process . . . yes, you know who they may be . . . people at work, school, clubs, church . . . or even family members . . . and former friends . . .

Isn’t it remarkable that something so simple could truly make the world a much safer and healthier place?