If someone wants to do a counterpoint “you get blamed for” thread, have at it
Is there anything you find it odd that you get credit for? I’ll give you my example…
My best friend didn’t drive the first three years I knew her, deciding not to get her license until shortly before she graduated from college, so I did all the driving when we were much younger. Last winter she drove off the road and hit a tree. Besides some residual soreness to one ankle, she’s okay.
But she has repeatedly insisted that I probably saved her life…and I wasn’t even in the car!
How then? Her reasoning goes like this:
When she was growing up, her parents didn’t insist that she or her older sister use a seatbelt after they reached the age where they were no longer required (this used to be age 12 in NH, back when we were young. I think it’s 18 now). So she didn’t wear one. At least until she became a frequent passenger in my car - with the exception of my mom who is a hopeless case, I won’t drive without everyone wearing a seatbelt. She got used to having someone insist that seatbelts were required and once she got her license decided it was a good idea to always wear one too. Police told her if she hadn’t been wearing one in the accident, she probably would have been ejected from the car.
And I consider it a strange thing to get credit for. How about you, what do others insist you did for/to them that seemed like no big deal to you but very important to them?
Several coworkers, former and current, tell me I’m the reason they’re in school. I know of 7 currently in, and at least 4 more who at least made the attempt.
I juggled a third-shift full time job with school during the day and teaching in the evening. Every night at work, I brought my backpack and worked on homework at every possible free moment. Breaks, lunches, waiting for meetings to begin. I wasn’t stuck off by myself, but sat in the middle of the lunchroom and participated in the usual banter. If I went silent or focused, they knew that I was temporarily unavailable (and they served as watchdogs, keeping new hires from bothering me, since they didn’t know).
I wasn’t doing it to set an example or look studious, and certainly had no idea I’d inspired anyone. At best, I’d been mild entertainment, as they’d often watch when I would tackle a calculus or physics problem that would stretch across several pages.
It turned out that the whole thing turned on their own imaginations, that it would be possible to fit into their lives and around their schedules, that there was time to do schoolwork even if they had families or slept all day. I knew a couple had asked me questions when starting out, but when one recently wrote a note on his FB to specifically thank me for “getting” him to go to school, there were a number of responses from other coworkers that mentioned that I was their reason as well. It was pretty touching, but at the same time I think… no, you guys are the ones to thank for getting yourselves to go. I was just being a student.
A co-worker at IBM complimented me for being a wordsmith, meaning I had the ability to string together several well-constructed sentences in a row, with proper spelling and punctuation, so as to convey a particular idea.
I got a friend off welfare. Not that I tried to but her mother was on welfare, her grandmother had been on welfare, she knew no other life.
I was living in the city at the time and her side of the street was the projects, my side was all individual homes. We talked sometimes but not a whole lot. We weren’t really friends yet.
I bought a new truck and she asked me where I got it, how I paid for it, etc.
A few days later she comes over my house and she says, “I’ve been watching you, and I see what you do. You aren’t anything special, you’re no smarter than I am, you’re no better than I am, you just work for what you want.”
She went back to school, got her GED, got a job, and never looked back.
When I’m curling, there are occasions where the rock goes nowhere near where I want, but still winds up in a good position for the team. Actually won the spring tournament last year on a rock like that. People say “nice shot”, but it always feels a little odd to take credit for it.
Kinda small potatoes in the context of this thread, but it’s all I got.
I’ve been teaching various martial arts in various places over the years and I’ve seen some oddball stuff come and go in the industry. During the 80’s and 90’s there was a group touting Eighteen Martial Arts in One!:rolleyes: and they were rapidly expanding around the country – and just as rapidly getting run out of towns as a cult and/or a pyramid scheme. Some of the irritating advertising they put out would run from “My son’s concentration, coordination, behaviors, interpersonal skills, and academic grades have all miraculously improved since he started two months ago!” [Sorry, not a miracle; just the standard results of participating in any sport when it fits you well.] to “My husband had glaucoma, cataracts, and multiple sclerosis before joining this last year; now he’s stunt-flying jet planes!” [:dubious:Really?]
When I was getting married, I invited a couple of my old Tai Chi students with whom I had become really good friends outside of the class. At first they declined because she had just gotten over a stroke, then they later accepted because she was feeling good enough to make the drive to the town where I had relocated.
During the reception, my best man spent a half-hour embarrassing me and the maid of honor spent fifteen minutes praising my wife. Then, to our surprise, my former student stood up and told everyone what a miracle-worker I was because, after her stroke, she had restarted practicing the Tai Chi I had taught her and the doctors were convinced it was responsible for her rapid recovery.
So you’re forcing yourself to balance in weird poses and remembering positions and sequences. I can see how that’s good for the brain. But that’s not ME giving you that miracle.
Thanks, though. I was quite flattered.
Gonna need a miracle
'Cause it’s all on the line
And I won’t let you down
Someone on another internet message board who I’ve known for years was really into bodybuilding a while ago. So being sarcastic I would ridicule his efforts and mock his appearance. A year or so later he sent me a message thanking me for being so sarcastic. He said his pursuit was taking over his life and my ridicule allowed him to put things in perspective and step back from what was becoming an unhealthy obsession for him.
I think it is odd that people congratulate me on getting pregnant. I mean, millions of people get pregnant, and yes I know babies are cute and a blessing or whatever, but honestly all I did was get knocked up, nature is taking care of the rest.
After a childhood of being told that what I did had no merit while what other people did had, it’s nice to be praised for what I do - even if the raw ability to do it was the consequence of the genetic and socioeconomic lottery, I’m still making a choice to think about the problem and putting some effort into how to communicate the possible solution(s) in an effective way.
A few years back, I ran into the grandmother and eldest sister of an old classmate; I’ll call the sisters Carol and Jean (Jean being my classmate). The grandmother made the biggest fuss over me; Carol explained to me that, back when our reading teacher had paired us up and set me with Jean, Jean would try to teach to Carol what I was trying to teach her, every night. Back then the word didn’t exist, but the whole family is heavily dyslexic: the only ones who can read, and who have powers of attorney for relatives up to and including second cousins, are the two sisters.
She said that things such as “counting the number of sticks to differentiate between n and m” are very useful, but that the most helpful thing I taught Jean, and Jean to Carol, was “don’t be afraid to ask for help - I don’t know why you have so many problems reading, but you do, and since you do, sometimes you need help from someone who can read more easily. It’s the same as asking for help getting something from a shelf.” Nowadays that people have heard of dyslexia, everybody is happy to help, including some people who have a reputation for being as helpful as a rotten tooth.
All I remembered was having spent many hours sitting down with Jean working on “does it have anything sticking out?” and “how many vertical sticks does it have?” and, when we were older, telling her “someone who asks a question is not stupid - stupid is someone who doesn’t dare ask because she’s afraid of looking stupid” one time some classmates had tried to bully her about a question she’d asked in class and which wasn’t exactly obvious anyway. But for them the impact was enormous, and I had had no idea until that chance meeting.
April, they’re congratulating you, not praising you. It’s a desire that things will go well, not an “ohmygosh, that is amazing! I have no idea how you did it!” (uhm, the usual way?). Different things.
There’s nothing particular for me. Possibly when I solve a hard problem (either a maths-type problem or a life-type problem) the answer always seems obvious in retrospect, so I feel guilty for taking praise, even if it’s actually really hard finding which approach to try.
My friends mum saying “what was it about you that I liked … oh yes, you told my daughter she should go to college!” Somehow me saying it did the trick.
My friend with the humongous tits telling me “one thing I learned from you - let it all hang out” Bloody hell, I’m a 34b on a good day, hardly the person to give such advice but she’d been self conscious and the fact is you can’t hide them so just get on with it. I also pointed out that she’s got no arse, but funnily enough I didn’t get any credit for that gem.
This elder lady had come to work for me when I was in my mid 30’s. She was very proud of her son who had made a career out of marshall arts and body building. She explained to me that a bunch of hispanics had jumper her son out back of a skating rinc and beat the hell out of him. This inspired him to become the man he was today. He told her if he ever ran across this guy who kicked his ass he would thank him profusely before stomping him into the ground.
I recognised her sons name and just happened to know the true story. Her muscle bound son and 2 of his buddies had jumped on a skinny friend of mine and busted his nose, they proceeded to start kicking him while he was down. I knocked out his two buddies with one punch each and him and I went to town, I got him in a headlock and he thought I was ramming his head into a dumpster when in reality I was pulling a wrestling move and banging my arm first and then just barely hitting his head. He screamed for mercy that I was killing him and I let him go. End of that story.
A few years after his mother had left employment with me I did run into him in a bar. We are both now 40 years old, he is 6’2" and built like a brick shit house in perfect condition. I am 5"7" and have been training on whiskey and cigerettes for the past 20 years. He asked me my name and then told me who he was and what he had accomplished in life and let me know he wanted a rematch. I figured I owed it to him and agreed. I suggested we have a drink first on me. I proceeded to remind him why he got his ass kicked and also explained the move I did to protect his head while I was ramming it into a dumpster. The guy gave me a big hug, thanked me and bought the next round of drinks. Thank God!