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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015

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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Keeping Score

I thought this was going to be a two-part topic, then I thought of another part, and now I'm just thinking it is a theme I'll return to periodically. Bear with me.

As we move toward the Big Game (you can't use the word S----L unless you are licensed by the NFL) everybody is interested in what the score is. The score enables us to determine winners and losers. Who won last Saturday? The Seahawks by 6 points. If we didn't keep score, the game would lose meaning. Who gets paid the most? Peyton Manning, of course, unless he doesn't. Then it's Carson Palmer, but that's not guaranteed. Of course if he makes his minimum bonuses over the next two years, then it's Asomugha. You have to keep score. Frankly, I don't even know who's playing.

Which brings me to the futility of keeping score if you aren't in the game. Take life, for instance. I'll help you Saturday if you'll help me Sunday. I'll invite you to my house the same number of times (plus 1) that you invite me to your house. I'll review your book if you review my book. I'll unload the dishwasher today if you unloaded it yesterday. In my life, keeping score has gotten so complicated that I've given it up.

If you need something and I can give it to you without harming myself or someone else, you've got it.

Big, bold statement, and you have to understand that some things might bring me mental, physical, emotional, relationship, or financial harm. I have to be reasonable and take care of myself before I can take care of you. But there's a lot of room to give there. What you won't find is me saying, "But I've already taken you to the airport three times. When are you going to take me someplace?" It's a simple yes or no. I can or I can't do it.

Keeping score in relationships is probably the hardest thing to give up. Whether I'm counting housekeeping chores, sex, childcare, TV shows, or private time, if I try to keep score I will always find that people owe me. What's more, other people will always find that I owe them. And if I think you owe me, that gives me some kind of entitlement. It starts extending to everything else. I deserve some kind of special treatment because the world owes me. It's like saying, "I always stop at traffic lights and everyone else just barrels through. This time I'm just ignoring the signal. The world owes me one." Those could be your last words, or the last words before a ticket is issued. Whether or not I stop at the signal is not dependent on the behavior of others.

I'm not keeping score.

(Tomorrow, "Lest we remember.")

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