If I disappeared Would You Notice
I have been meaning to write about this for a while now. Each week I play in a regular game of pickup basketball. After the games we retreat to the steam room where we engage in all sorts of macho nonsense. Or should I say there is a lot of storytelling going on and not all of it is believable or nice.
One of the guys that I play with is having problems with his teenage son. I don’t know all the details and it is not really my business but if the man is who I think he is the problem is him. You can’t be a friend to your childen until they grow up, try to be their buddy and you set yourself up for a problem.
Let’s cut to the chase here. The man told his son that if he (son) disappeared he wouldn’t notice. What a horrible thing to say. When I heard it I considered punching him in the mouth because it sickened me to hear it. I understand fighting between parents and siblings, my parents and I went through it. I expect to deal with it as a parent, but I promise that my child will never hear that out of my mouth.
To make a long story longer I asked him if he meant it and he said yes. And then I asked him what he thought people’s reactions would be if he suddenly disappeared and he said that no one would care because the world doesn’t care about people.
And I realized that he was in a tremendous amount of pain. And my anger softened a little. I still cannot accept saying anything like that to a child, but in context it made more sense. While I sat there schvitzing I wondered to myself what would happen if I suddenly disappeared. I made it an exercise of sorts, concentric circles of relationships.
First I considered what would happen if my blog suddenly disappeared. Would there be any sort of outcry, would people wonder or would they just shrug their shoulders and move on.
Then I thought about the people at the office. If I left for lunch and never returned would it make a difference
That followed with considering how my friends would react if I was suddenly removed from their lives.
And then finally I thought about my family and the impact it would make upon them.
The answer was and is that I am important to people. Not that it has ever been a problem for me. I don’t have self esteem issues, but I think that it is healthy to consider these things and remind ourselves that we matter and that what we do impacts the people we love and care about.
It is a good feeling to know that you belong to someone and that you are loved.
It is too bad that so many people have problems feeling this way.
Irina Tsukerman February 27, 2005 at 8:53 pm
Your post reminded me of Antonioni’s film “L’Avventura”, which gives a sobering if pessimistic look at what happens when someone disappears suddenly.
The Misanthrope February 27, 2005 at 7:47 pm
I definitely believe we matter, each and every one of us. One person does make a difference all the way down the line.
Most importantly in this post is that parents cannot be friends with their children. Children look for boundries, to a child this means you care. My daughter who will turn 21 this summer asked me last year to give her a curfew again. I laughed and told her I would like her home by 1 a.m. any later it wakes me up. It was my way of giving her a reason to have a time limit. Also, I leave the bedroom door ajar and when she comes home she closes it. That way if I don’t hear her, when I wake up I can tell if she is home or not. It is so sad that so many parents should not be parents because they are much too selfish to provide the love and attention a child needs for many years, and probably throughout life.