From My Post Road Window / Nicholas Troilo
Published 3:28 pm, Thursday, September 23, 2010
I've been agonizing over it all week. "Tell him," I would say to myself. Then, an instant later, "Don't do it, Nick."
Another day. "Just send a polite message stating your disagreement."
Then, a pull towards principle, "No, you must say how outraged you are. There is no room for being polite. Insult him the way you felt insulted"
Still another. "The press is a powerful voice. Write a letter to the editor." Then, a second thought, "This is between you and him. Keep it private."
I felt like Pinocchio -- not about to tell a lie -- but at decision time with Jiminy Cricket sitting on my shoulder pulling me one way when I wanted to go another.
It is agonizing. I haven't found a solution.
I've had some comfort. My wife offered sage advice. "Sometimes his point of view is difficult to accept," she said. "He just needs to learn how to say it in a nicer way."
My first retort was, "Well, I'll teach him a thing or two." A few moments later, calmer, I took a more forgiving stance.
A friend helped too. We were on our way to New York City and I explained the situation. "Why bother," she said. "Will it really get you anywhere if you tell him off?"
"No," I said, "but I have the need tell him I don't like his ways. It will make me feel better."
That's when I realized that my ego was getting in the way and I had to get it under control.
So I've been sitting with an issue all week. And the agony of keeping silent is torturing me. Think of it. Right at this moment I have the opportunity to spill out my point of view in 700 words or so, make my case, close the book, get on with my life and think no more of it.
I could wallow in self righteousness and feel the shallow victor. You know the feeling. The one when you've made your point; told someone off; spoke as viciously insulting as you've been spoken to; put an end to the relationship and not care.
Then I turn my head to the left and there he is: Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder. He smiles. He leans close to my ear. He whispers. He offers encouragement. He tells me I am man of principle. He suggests the better course is to remain silent. He proclaims me the better man for my silence.
And today while I am more tempted then ever to pounce on an issue that has kept me awake a night or two; I have decided to take a quiet, personal, internal approach. I'm going to keep quite and that is a big decision for me.
With that decision, however, I have made myself the victor. The annoyance is gone. The desire to retort to the series of egotistical proclamations that had upset me at the beginning of the week is gone. I have not, will not and shall not blast back with my own egocentric diatribe.
My silence has won the fight. Victory is mine in both the battle between me and another and the battle between mien Es, mien Ich und mien Ǘber-Ich. It's over.
But I can tell you one thing, God. I'm not going to call you about what I heard one of your representatives say. I'm not going to write a letter to the editor about what you let them do. I'm not going to use my skills as a writer to denounce their narrow-minded point of view. I'm going to keep this private. Just between you and me.
But I will tell you this God, I look to you for some management of these reps of yours, and if you don't get them under control, then you and I God, yes, you and me, are no more. We're through. Kaput. Over. Finished. Done.
It only takes a snap of the finger to flick Jiminy Cricket away. Life might be easier without him hanging around.