I’m one of those people who feels compelled to help other people.
If I don’t feel like I’m helping other people, I feel as if I have no purpose.
And this is why I often have had jobs which paid very little money because helping people is not what people do to make money.
In any case, my compulsion to help brought about a strange situation last week.
It’s still winter. The roads are still fucked. And, because of this, a car was super stuck outside as it tried to get out of a horizontal parking spot on the side of the street.
Our apartment’s walls are largely decorative so it was as if the car was in the apartment with me.
In physical reality, they were just outside, furiously accelerating without going anywhere.
In my warped brain, that 👆 sound is essentially the sound of someone struggling and I must help them.
Wanting to help is a nice compulsion.
Our former neighbor, who at the time was in bed trying to recover from “overdoing it” as usual, told me that, if other people helped more, “people like us wouldn’t have to kill ourselves in our efforts to help.”
She was a notch away from hospice so I nodded but also thought, “If I was in your shoes, I’d be helping a lot less.”
But what I said was: “Well, yes, but helping can get you killed.”
She blinked at me.
Remember the serial killer Ted Bundy? He relied on some people’s compulsion to help in order to snare them.
He’d pretend he was hurt and needed help loading stuff into his car.
And then he’d kidnap the helper and…
They paid homage to this shitty practice in Silence of the Lambs with the fictional serial killer Buffalo Bill snagging his hapless victim by asking her for help in loading a couch into the back of his van.
Consequently, if survival is a priority, helping becomes a dark art.
Therefore, in order to better navigate the situation, I creeped over to the window, grimacing, and saw the stuck car – blowing smoke and shit everywhere – desperately trying to free itself from the snow.
I gripped the molding of the window and continued to watch them struggle.
Standing there witnessing struggle was killing me so I thought seriously about putting pants on and going out to help them.
But I was wary.
Therefore, I created a “help criteria”.
I decided I needed the driver of the stuck car to be an old person or a woman or otherwise I wouldn’t put on pants and go outside to help them.
I stood in my window, careful to not allow the driver to see me just standing there, watching them, waiting to see what physical type they were so I could decide whether or not to help them.
And, as I lurked in the window, I saw the driver get out and… he was a middle-aged, bald, white man in a track suit.
No, I was not going to help a middle-aged white man. He did not fit my help criteria.
At the same time, the bald white man in track suit introduced a new variable into the help equation so I contemplated expanding it because I had also made the baseless assumption that he was Russian mafia and
maybe I should help him.
Because… word gets around that I helped Russian mafia, maybe good things happen to me.
However, I then saw the track suit guy also had a shovel.
So what exactly did I think I could contribute to this situation?
I could contribute Jack shit.
So I watched the man make a call on his phone and then turned away from the window and went back to dancing to Daft Punk as I had been enjoying a mental health day until some annoying person needed help.
Helping is great. More people should help.
However, just make sure you stay wary enough and flexible in your approach so your helping doesn’t get you killed.
That way, if you did do the right thing, and you felt you were being super savvy and yet the serial killer still out-witted you, then you can at least know, while you’re bound in a sound-proof basement, you did the right thing.
Helping may be about to get you killed but at least you weren’t stupid about it.
In other news, thank you, subscribers!!!!
Since I wrote a blog about it, I figured I’d share the crap news. I found out today I did not get the prison job.
I wanted to start emotional education programs and help inmates tell their stories.
But it was not to be. Thankfully, today is Tuesday and thus it’s “Post Blog” day and I had roughly 400 Microsoft Paint illustrations to create for this week’s blog so no time for a pity party.
When you don’t feel you have purpose and meaning in life…
create it. I’ll find a way to make money but money cannot always give you identity or the will to make you keep getting up in the morning.
Thanks for reading this and giving me purpose and the feeling that, if I’m not helping anyone else, I am at minimum helping me (the “oxygen mask” concept). 🖤