Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why Does It Always Have to be About Winning?

It was the regular argument over whether or not Cheryl was too sick to go to work. You see, for me, there are two things going on here. The first is the fact that nurses and teachers are the worst two groups for admitting that they’re sick and calling in. I know from my 19 years as a teacher that it’s often easier to be wheeled in on a gurney and teach than to write stand-up for someone else…especially in a class that’s largely personality-driven, and has no textbook. With nurses it’s always the knowledge that they’re understaffed to begin with, and not wanting to “let the team down” by calling in with the plague.

The second is Jim Henson. I remember very well that Jim Henson “wasn’t all that sick” and didn’t want to put anyone out of their way when he died at age 53. I live in constant terror of Cheryl being “not all that sick.” I’ve told her that if she dies from not being willing to admit that she’s sick, I’m gonna be soooo pissed. Jim Henson was a general tragedy. Cheryl would be specific and extremely personal.

But then she said something that made me change my mind about her going in to work when she obviously wasn’t well:

I work in a hospital. If I’m that sick, that’s the best place to be, because I’m already there.


Excellent point.

I hadn’t thought of that before.

And then I said the three words that are the reason that I’m writing this:

OK. You win.

I wasn’t expecting what came next. I was expecting her to graciously accept the fact that I had conceded defeat on that point. Instead, she said, “Why does it always have to be about winning and losing for you?”

Whoa! Wait a minute. My sister asks me the same thing. Thing is, though, that it’s not always about winning and losing. Many things, in fact, probably most things are simply differences of opinion where it doesn’t matter either way. Can you really win or lose over whether Applebee’s or Chili’s is the better restaurant? It all depends on your personal taste; although, you can win or lose the coin toss over which one to eat at that night. However, in the things where it is a matter of winning and losing for me, they notice, and think that I’m that way about everything.

But I’m not. This one seemed like a very simple case of someone being right and someone being wrong. She was right about the hospital being the better place to be if you’re sick in the first place, so she won. Makes sense to me. Had we been talking about going to work in a salt mine when you’re sick, I’d be right, and I’d win. Or at least I should win.

As I said, not everything in my life is a matter of winning and losing, but the things that are, clearly are. What are some other examples?

How about when you’ve been emotionally abused, stabbed in the back, had your heart ripped out and stomped on, been thrown under the bus by people you trusted; or any combination of these…leading you to be left as metaphorical roadkill…and then not only merely survive, but thrive? To me, that comeback, that being able to say, “Ha! You thought I was down for the count, but now I’m doing better than ever!” is a definite, and much-needed win. I’ve had my share of those, and I suspect that it’s my talking about those wins that make some people think that for me it’s always about winning or losing.

But they’re wrong.

And if I can convince you to agree with me about this, then I’ve won.

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