MORNING COFFEE 5 - linguistical amusement

by Susan Weber

It was not Cedar Point, but a place like that where tribal groups roam around in search of entertainment. An older man, primed and pumped, came my way. “You look like a person who knows how to take a good picture,” he said, thrusting his device at me, his entourage congealing in a winning pose. “And you look like a guy who never asked a favor in his life,” I said. That is, I considered saying it. Instead I reached for the phone.

So he didn’t ask. He assumed I would yield to his flattery and frothy smile. I played the game, I took the shot, and walked away irked at myself for going along with this nonsense. I was a traitor to the cause of civil decency.

Asking is tough on certain people. It places the power squarely with the one who might deny the request. Never mind most people like to be helpful. Some can't abide this transfer of power. What if they can't get it back?

Another version of the non-ask, “I need your help with this,” abuses the honest intentions of words like need and help. Any lack on the part of the alleged helpee, any choice on the part of the assumed helper are missing in action. We all know it's alpha talk for "Do this now.” The power equation remains unchanged.

Do we think ask-avoiders are defending frail egos while askers are self-aware stalwarts of grace? I'll leave that to the professionals. But I find it refreshing when people ask. They make it more fun to say yes.

Photo by Gregory Varnum CC BY-SA 4.0