September 01, 2004

What does "pathetic" look like?

Maybe it's the economy, or maybe it's the political climate, but the last week or so it seems like everywhere I turn I'm running across people who feel completely dissatisfied with themselves. "I'm tired of being so pathetic," Piro cries out in the most recent Megatokyo, and right about now it looks like a whole lot of people are echoing that sentiment.


There have been many times in my life when I felt deeply depressed but never once in my life have I looked in a mirror and said to myself, "Brian, you are so pathetic!"

I'm not "pathetic". I've never met anyone who is. I've met people who are down on their luck, I've met people with emotional, physical, or intellectual disabilities, or even some combination of the three, but I have never met a person I would label "pathetic". Perhaps my English is not quite up to par. Most Americans, after all, are far from literate. So maybe the problem is I don't really understand the idea of "pathetic". I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but my definition has always been really simple: unwilling to free one's self of an undesirable situation!

I've met a lot of "challenged" people, as we say in today's world, but all of them were either fighting hard to get along despite their limitations, or using their limitations to explain away their failures. All of them were more than willing to change their circumstances, but they couldn't. There is nothing pathetic about being socially deficient, emotionally immature, or even intellectually impaired. If the world will not let you spread your wings and fly, it is not your fault, so why would you call yourself "pathetic"?

There is nothing wrong with being less than perfect. Reality is never perfect, even though there are some people who would like you to believe they are somehow closer to perfect than you are, and therefore you are less human than they are, that does not make it real. Generally speaking I don't listen to those people, it's too depressing. I've beaten a few of them bloody, been beaten bloody by a few, yelled at some, been yelled at by some, humiliated more than my share, and been humiliated by more than my share. In many cases, they have passed on while I am still here, even though they were undoubtedly "better" people than I could ever dream of becoming. They were richer, prettier, taller, stronger, smarter, more insightful, or whatever, but they are now six feet under while I am still above ground kicking, screaming, causing a fuss, and every once in a great while, being fussed over.

So, tell me, what does "pathetic" look like? I know it doesn't look like me, and I can guarantee you this: it doesn't look like you, either!