No Man is an Island

The title should be “No man should try to be an island, or he’ll perish”, but that just doesn’t flow. I’m sure there is a way to make it sound better, to flow, but its beyond me….maybe I should ask Anne Ramsey. (Let me know if you get the reference).

While I was down and out, I came to realize how much a person relies on others, no matter how independent they are. I’ve had friends and family rally around, offering everything to be done that I could possibly think of. Of course, being a rather independent family, my wife shouldered most of the effort, bless her soul.

As I was hobbling around, I heard her speaking with one of the accounts she handles from home, as she called to find out why they had yet to submit their monthly paperwork. The wife takes in financial statements from across the North American continent, and makes sure the data submitted all passes validity checks (such as ‘you cannot have a negative number in inventory’) before being added to the database.

My wife greeted the client, someone she speaks with less than once a month, and then only for a few minutes. What I heard of my wife’s conversation was one-sided, but I could guess the other side:

“Hello, this is Elizabeth, how are you?”
“And how is your mother doing, any improvements?”
“OH! I am so sorry to hear that.  Know that she is no longer suffering now. How are you holding up?”

The conversation then eased into work, as I marveled at my wife’s handling of an unfortunate, and uncomfortable situation…with a relative stranger. After the call, I found out that my wife barely knew this person, but, like all of her customers, tries to develop a bit of personal relationship with each, since she finds it makes resolving problems easier, as well as takes some of the grind out of the job for both parties.

I wonder if she learned if from me, or if I learned it from her….She IS a better teacher than I am….so that’s my guess.

I say that becasue I do the same thing with everyone I come into contact with on a regular basis. The butcher at the local grocery store, the guy that picks up my trash, a waitress at a restaurant we frequent, all get some personal interaction when I get the chance. People LIKE to know that they are appreciated. Nothing gets a conversation started faster than asking someone to tell you something about themselves. We are all a expert on the subject of ourselves, and love to tell you about it.

This leads me into the title. No matter where we are, or what we do, your lives will touch the lives of others. If you are reading this, you interacted with, as a minimum, the service provider geiving you internet access, the people behind the computer you are reading it on, the power comapny, and me. Nobody, no matter hoiw prepared, rough, tough, and gritty they are, can live without some form of human interaction….it just doesn’t work that way. In a systemic breakdown, be it utilities, economic, or political, we WILL need others to help us survive long term. You can get by, for a short period, on our own. It won’t be long until you need something you cannot make and do not have.

So do yoursefl a favor. Make you very next investment an investment in PEOPLE – build a relationship with someone that already touches your life. Ask your cashier how their dad is.  Find out how your mailman’s daughter is doing in softball. Find out about them, so they can learn something about you. Do something to put yourself into the lives of people that already help you. It makes the world a better place, and if you get into a bind, someone you are acquainted with is far more likely to lend a hand than someone you just know in passing.

We are all in this together folks, you may as well get to know those around you. Some day you might be glad you did. And if not, a little good will towards you fellow man can’t hurt anything, right?

And it always better to have a few extra friends, just in case.



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