Wednesday, January 16, 2013
On Being Lazy
My dad never picked favorites - whenever he was asked to do so he would flat-out refuse. He always said that designating a favorite would just make one seem better than another and that there was no point in that. - After years of hearing him say that, I knew better than to ever ask him to pick a favorite of one over another, but once during one of our middle of the night talks while he was sick, I asked him what he thought the worst quality in a person is. His reply: being lazy. I had to laugh, because that made me think about when remote controls first came out on the market for TV's and he thought they were ridiculous. "It's lazy enough just sitting there watching TV," he'd said, "but I can't imagine why someone couldn't get up off the couch every once in awhile to change the channel or adjust the volume!!" When he said being lazy was the worst trait a person could possess, though, just out of curiosity I asked him if he thought it was worse to be lazy than to be a liar or a thief. He thought for a minute and then, with a half-smile of his face and in a tone that left me wondering about whether or not he was kidding, he said, "Well, at least when a person does those things, he's putting some effort into it."
He also commented a lot over the years about how crazy (and by that I think he meant lazy) he thought it was when someone would drive around a parking lot in search of the perfect parking spot rather than just parking in the first available place they encountered and walking. It just wasn't something that he could make sense of, I guess, and he often pointed out that the people who do it at the gym are the worst!
I think Dad's distaste for laziness - which he thought of as a lack of activity or a lack of effort - made it harder for him to tolerate his physical condition and the challenges that came along with it when he was sick. I'm sure he didn't like having to be helped or having to wait for help doing things, and it didn't surprise anyone who knew him that he wanted a plan in place so he could "do something" every day to work towards getting better. When his health declined instead of improving as we'd been told it would with the treatment, though, I started to notice that he didn't comment nearly as much about wanting to have goals for himself or about needing help to do basic things. It was as if he had somehow resigned himself to his condition. I thought at the time that maybe he was just biding his time until he could be independent again. Now I wonder if he somehow saw letting us help him as trying to help us.