Shrek and Reciprocity

“Thank you gentlemen. Some day I will repay you. Unless, of course I can’t find you, or if I forget.”

I love the scene in Shrek 2 when Shrek has turned into a handsome man in an effort to fit into Fiona’s world.  Because he is no longer a big ogre, his clothes hang loosely on him. He, therefore,  robs a passing carriage and takes the man’s clothes.  As he rides off, he hollers back the famous line of vague gratitude and an empty promise.

While, very amusing in the movie, it might not be so amusing when we become the one carelessly taken advantage of by a friend, family member or acquaintance.  Have you ever loaned something to someone and they never returned it or mentioned it again?  Maybe they’re thinking, “Well, she has plenty, she doesn’t need it back.” Or “He doesn’t use that, so I don’t need to return it.”  These are assumptions we shouldn’t make.  If we borrow something or ask a favor, we need an understanding of what is expected: will this be returned, replaced or is it a gift.  Pausing to be sure everyone is on the same page could probably have saved many families a feud over the years.

And, what about  when we are the one’s that have taken advantage of someone else?  I think we tend to do this more to family because we think, “Hey, they’re family, they should share/give/do for us without expecting repayment.”  And maybe that’s true in some families, but no one wants to be taken for granted.  And, it goes both ways.  Are we willing to give, share or do, for our family and friends without expectations of repayment?  Do we do things to help and support one another simply out of love and kindness, or does there have to be something in it for us?

It’s always easier to remember when we have been intentionally used, or simply taken for granted, but are we aware of our own lack of reciprocity?

Sometimes it doesn’t take more than a heartfelt “thank you.”  Other times it requires returning the favor, and certainly returning something that we may have borrowed.

If ever I’m in need,  I hope I am seen as someone that can be counted on to appreciate a favor, to return things borrowed and reciprocate in kind.  If I have neglected to be that way, I’m sorry.  I couldn’t find you, or I forgot…


Not Fat Enough

drawing of lady talkingI think it was Homer Simpson who once said “Surround yourself with people smarter  than you.” Or it might have been Kanye. I’m not sure. But if you’re smart, or at least have smart friends, you can learn from them if you slow down enough to catch their words of wisdom.

For instance, I once met someone through a mutual friend at a dinner party.  She seemed nice enough and we all had a good time. Or, so I thought. It turns out though that her friend hated me.

“She hates me?” I asked in disbelief “What did I do? I thought everything went fine.”

“She hates you because you’re successful.”

My jaw dropped open and a high pitched “What?” came out. “I’m not successful. My husband is successful.  I have an endless list of failures.”

“I know.” she said “It doesn’t matter. You’re skinny.”

“I am NOT skinny!” I said.

She nodded her head in agreement.

“I do have fat, I just hide it under my clothes.”

“She doesn’t like your clothes either. She thinks you’re flaunting your money by wearing that fancy jacket you had on.”

“I got that blazer at a thrift store when I was buying clothes for the school play.” I said incredulously. “I even said so!”

“Yeah, she was just looking for excuses to not like you.”

“Is that a thing?” I queried.

“Wake-up dummy.  People are so unhappy with their own lives they have to tear down others to make themselves feel better.”

I thought about it for several moments. This is where I was suppose to receive those words of wisdom my friend had just shared, but I didn’t hear that part.

“I don’t see how that could work.” I said cluelessly.

“It doesn’t, so they stay miserable, have no friends and drive their spouses to drink or divorce them.”

“She doesn’t hate you.” I said slightly jealous.

“She probably does, but she needs me to give her son a ride home from band practice on Mondays.” she said.  “The kids!” she screamed, jumping to her feet, her eyes opening so wide she was momentarily paralyzed.  “I forgot about the kids!”

“No!” I blurted, pushing her back onto the sofa and running for the door. “I’m going! Text me her address!” I hollered over my shoulder.

“What are you gonna do?” she screamed in a panic scrambling up off the sofa.

“I’m gonna kill her (yanking open the car door) with kindness (jumping in the driver’s seat) until she likes me!” I finished with a determined slam of my car door.

I couldn’t hear what she was saying as I sped off.  It was probably something like “You don’t know what her son looks like.”  or “They won’t let a stranger pick up her nine-year old.” I didn’t catch it.  I was so excited to be on my quest to turn the other cheek, that I may have shown my bum.