the lost man chronicles

cut it out!

I had finished reading a Times Book Review editorial and thought someone at work might be interested in reading it because we had had a conversation about the matter a few weeks ago.

However, the newspaper was not mine. Thus, I thought it only proper to ask my friend if I could excerpt this particular piece.

My initial thought was to pose the question in the following manner: "Would you mind if I cut this article out? There's a guy at work who I thought might like to read it."

Then, I had second thoughts and debated whether or not I should substitute "guy" at work with "colleague." It would not only make the supplication more succinct, but also esoterically give more respect to the identity of the person. Subsequently, I then thought, "Well, perhaps I should then simply refer to him as an 'executive' instead."

This is where my internal debate heated up. For why was it necessary to "respect" this guy-cum-executive In the first place? In the most objective sense, my intentions were to share this piece merely as a friendly gesture, regardless of our respective positions at the company. It was not until I let self-conscious thought mar the pending act did I question whether or not I was acting as an obsequious subservient.

Nonetheless, why was it so important that my friend know who I was intending to give this to? Did I feel it would give my plea more weight, more credence? And, thus, I might feel less guilty about tearing out the piece? Or was there a touch of hubris involved here as well? (i.e. "It may not be clear, but, yes, as you may have inferred, I happen to have casual conversations with the executives at work.")

The more I dug deeper into my rationale and the underlying quagmire of sentiment, the more it seemed as if I were caught in cerebral quicksand.

Ultimately, I decided to omit and thus evade the conundrum entirely by asking, "If you've finished with this section, would you mind if I cut something out?"

It's amusing how the mind unnecessarily creates problems. I think this is particularly true when it involves others and their perception of who we are or who we would like them to believe we are.

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