(A rant that I fear doesn’t show my most likeable side.)
Sigh. Happened again. I got caught in a long, jaw-grinding, blood-pressure raising trap with a person who has zero sense of responsibility.
I’ve written before about my disgust for people who make commitments they then make no effort to keep — a problem that seems endemic among independent contractors. In fact, I even wrote about this particular person recently before I knew he was one of them. Turns out he’s one of the world champs of irresponsibility.
After too many bitter experiences, I made a general rule that the second time somebody makes a commitment and blows it off without a word, I cut him loose. Unfortunately several factors tied me to this guy for most of a month as he let me down, wasted my time, and demonstrated the futility of my persuasive powers again and again and again.
No use going into the details. These things are drearily the same. But when he finally showed up Saturday (sparing me a whole hour of his presence after my two weeks of begging), I was struck by how much he sounded like an Ayn Rand villain. You know — one of those guys who owns “Amalgamated” Something or Another or “Associated” Thingamabob. When they fail to deliver, they’re always going on about, “No one could have foreseen …” and “No one can blame me because I had the best of intentions …”
Except that Rand’s villains are whining and defensive when they go on like that. This dimwit, on the contrary, was extremely pleased with himself.
He clearly thought it was silly for anyone to be concerned about various projects being neglected and abandoned (e.g. the lawn he promised to mow every two weeks going on 3.5 weeks now and beginning to resemble the Amazon rain forest). He considered it absurd even to hint that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t developing into a good professional relationship. Because after all (he beamed chirpily and oh-so-reasuringly), “Of course I haven’t forgotten” and “I fully intend to do the work.”
Sometime. In the future. Whenever, y’know? It’s just that right now I have better things to do.
Apparently his mother never informed him where good intentions without actions lead.
But these days it doesn’t matter. Suffering consequences for being a wastrel is so old-fashioned.
There’s a little verse that runs through my head occasionally:
See the happy moron,
He doesn’t give a damn,
I wish I were a moron,
My God! perhaps I am!
While the possibility definitely exists that I’m a moron, it’ll never be because I don’t give a damn. My best virtue — and also my most probable cause of moronity — is that I give too damn many damns about too damn many things. (I expect many others hereabouts share this problem.)
The guy of whom I write, however, is definitely a moron and definitely doesn’t give a damn — about anything. Which just about made me hate him over the last four weeks — but which makes him one of life’s winners.
He’s relentlessly cheerful and upbeat. He’s a proud, playful father and happy husband. He’s got tons of friends. He doesn’t “waste” his time on planning, making to-do lists, or fretting about whether he might let somebody down. He brims with confidence no matter how bad a job he does. His self-esteem is top-of-the-line. Sunshine follows him everywhere he goes.
He is indeed a happy moron precisely because he doesn’t give a damn. He literally doesn’t even know — or care — how offensive repeated broken promises, no-shows, and abandoned projects are. He doesn’t even consider the possibility that his behavior may be anything other than pleasing to one and all. He is simply wunnnnnnderful!
Me, I’m merely a recovering grouch (having finally found a way to tell him to get lost after he — are we surprised? — abandoned the project he finally began on Saturday). And I’m not particularly liking myself for it.
How easy it was for this slob to jerk me this way and that for weeks without even trying! To tie me in knots. To leave me banging my head in a ridiculous effort to try to find words that would finally switch on a lightbulb over his skull. To remind me over and over of my worst self. In the end he won a moral victory over me. My belief in responsibility made me a jerk (though I tried not to show it on the surface) and a complete loser (since the projects didn’t get finished and my protestations made not the tiniest dent in his shiny bubble of perfection). But him? He came out of this crappy month as one of life’s amazingly content winners, utterly untouched by crass, ignoble concerns such as mine.
“See the happy moron … I wish I were a moron …”
That is, I sometimes wish I were his kind of moron, rather than the variety of moron I obviously am.