Two Approaches to Humility
The Hard One
Real humility is a virtuous ideal embraced by most religions and theologies. There are spiritual exercises and practices designed to engender humility in the individual seeking enlightenment and improvement. Humility is a virtue, a first step, a fundamental principle. Humility is the foundation for charity, piety, discernment, justice, and even faith.
… And the One Most Frequently Taken
Sometimes though, we don’t really come by humility honestly. Rather we have it shoved down our throats by circumstances. This doesn’t make us any less humble, although it does require a certain getting over the essential unfairness of it. Learning to embrace a humility you didn’t really ask for, nor even want, is an exercise in … well, humility.
Herewith then are six ways to achieve humility without any real effort. Doesn’t mean it will be easy … only that you won’t have to put a lot of thought or planning into the process:
1. Unemployment. Losing your job is a good way to get humble. Doesn’t even have to be your fault. Some other bozo—prolly one in upper management—will fuck things up for you, but it’s you who’s gonna pay the piper and you who’s gonna take the blame for being a loser. Suck it up, Baby. There’s not a damn thing you can do about it. The real kicker comes when you learn that the same management bozo(s) is(are) now taking credit for making the ‘hard decisions’ about right sizing the payroll. Rest assured they will never take credit for the bone headed ones that made this necessary.
2. Poverty. Penury often goes along with joblessness, but these two conditions occasionally exist independent of one another. Either way poverty sucks. The real problem with poverty isn’t that you haven’t put any points on the score board. It’s rather that the plays and resources available to you—the kinds of things that would enable you to put up some points—are extremely limited to non-existent. Simple things like adequate nutrition, a basic education, or even a proper haircut are a struggle to the extent they are possible at all. And then, as if that weren’t bad enough, some conservative and allegedly Christian wag is going to take you to task for your bad ‘choices’ when you know in your heart that you didn’t have a choice at all. You are just being shunted around like a pinball in someone else’s game. TILT!
3. A Shit Car. Nothing says ‘loser’ like a rusty econo-box of an automobile. On the other hand, nothing says you’ve got game quite like a flash ride. The first thing almost everyone does when they strike it rich is to upgrade their car. A luxury automobile is to success as a swank vocabulary is to a good education. It’s defining. Conversely, a beater bucket is a sure sign of some deep-rooted personal inadequacy. Not only that, if opportunity ever does come knocking, the damn thing prolly won’t start.
4. Ugly and/or Stupid Children. This is a sad one to mention, but true nonetheless. Stupid, ugly children can trip up even those who are gainfully employed at high paying jobs to which they drive in expensive cars. What I mean is, you can have all the other trappings of success and still be brought low by your kids. Admittedly, this is kind of a crap shoot, but there are things you can do to minimize the fallout. This is why you see well-heeled moms and dads sweating the details and the fees at exclusive pre-schools, fancy extra curricular activities, designer children’s clothiers, orthodontists, dermatologists, fat camps, and elaborate birthday parties. When your kids become accessories, you’re in a whole new level of score-keeping and you’d better pay attention. If you don’t, you’re in for some serious humility and your kids are going to suffer for it.
5. Bar Fights. Any kind of physical altercation will do, really. Win or lose, you’re going to come away with some evidence. Like the philosophical old pharmacist in my home town used to say: “You can wrestle with a turd all day long, and no matter how bad you whup it, you’re still going to get a little on you.” Trouble is, when people see what you got on you, they are going to assume the worst. It’s only natural. It’s bad enough if you actually got your ass handed to you in a dive bar. That’s both humbling and instructive. But … if you won the fight, you’re still going to suffer at the hands of your friends and acquaintances. You’ll find out just how much everyone you know loves to speculate at your expense, to your face and behind your back. It takes months to come back from a good fight, even when the cuts and scrapes only take a few days.
6. Cancer. A deadly disease is an equal opportunity humbler. When you get cancer, for instance, all your wealth and success are to no avail. Even your smart, beautiful children will not be able to help you. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men may move the needle a few months, but they’re not going to save your ass if cancer wants it. It must be really galling to have literal billions in the bank and to realize that you are no better off with cancer than the miserable, homeless, uninsured dimwit down the hall from you private room. You’re still gonna die, and some other miserable, ignorant dimwit is going to get all your money and your stuff—prolly one of your dumb, ugly kids. Man, that is humbling.
And then of Course: My Personal Journey
As I made this list, I realized that I am personally four for six. I have smart, beautiful children and I have never been in a bar fight. This makes me pretty humble in the scheme of things. In fact, I may be the most humble person anywhere. Seriously. Who is more humble than I? No one I know. I’m reminded of the story of a fellow who had a superiority complex mixed with narcissistic tendencies. He went to a therapist who fixed these pesky neuroses, and now he is absolutely perfect in every way. That’s me—perfectly humble in every way.
As Usual, if your sense of humor was piqued in anyway by this nonsense, please consider sharing the post with your friends by clicking on one of the social media buttons below. I’m seriously looking for a way out of all this forced humility, and a big audience coupled with a lot of book sales would go a long way toward that lofty goal. Thanks for your support.