Some folks is sufferin’ a bit more than others.
“I cain’t believe what I just heard,” said the old woman, and she bolted through the screen door.
“Cain’t believe what?” asked the old man, not really sure he wanted to know the answer.
“I just came from a meetin’ and you know gratitude is supposed to be a big deal,” replied the old woman. “But I tell you, I just don’t know sometimes.”
“Well, you just cain’t explain some folks, sometimes,” said the old man, kinda hopin’ that would end it.”
“I mean there’s a lot of folks havin’ a hard time these days,” said the old woman. “People are sufferin’ all over, but this lady really took the cake.”
“You ain’t judgin’, are you?” asked the old man.
“Maybe a little, but this lady was complainin’ about how tough this here economy has gotten on her. She was goin’ on and on.
“She said the world was getting’ so tough she and her husband were gonna have to start rentin’ out their high-rise beachfront condo.
“She said they was gonna have to live in their condo in the high-falutin’ gated golf resort.”
“Yep, things is tough all over,” said the old man.
“She went on to say they may even have to trade in their fancy Range Rover for a smaller Mercedes and they may not be able to spend the summer on Nantucket.”
“Well, summers is actually pretty nice around here,” said the old man. “Long as there ain’t any hurrakins.”
“That’s not the point,” shot back the old woman. “It’s just astounds me that some folks is so arrogant they think sufferin’ is havin’ to rent out one of their two Florida homes and live in only one.”
“Let me try to explain sumpthin to you,” said the old man. “To a great large degree, it was arrogance that got us into this mess in the first place.
“You see, somewhere along the line we stopped thinkin’ ‘bout what best for us all together and started thinkin’ only ‘bout what best for ME. If it’s good for me, than it ought to be good.
“We sorta became our own gods in that way. We started thinkin’ ‘bout how I can git my boat to float higher and figurin’ all the other boats would handle things on their own.”
“We somehow we forgot that not all boats float higher on a risin’ tide, ‘cause some boats have leaks in ‘em.”
“We just became a whole culture of me-thinkers.”
“What’s a me-thinker?” said the old woman.
“It’s real simple,” said the old man. “Some folks is me-thinkers and some folks is we-thinkers.”
“What’s a we-thinker?” asked the old woman.
“A we-thinker is somebody who thinks first about how their attitudes or actions might affect the folks around ‘em. A me-thinker doesn’t think about the folks around ‘em at all - or if they do, they figure their own me-thinkin’ will be just fine for them other folks.
“And it’s just a fact of human nature that once me-thinkers take over, they start cravin’ more and more me and really don’t care what happens to the we. It’s a kinda mental instability, really, and definitely a spiritual malady.”
“But the me-thinkers always win,” said the old woman. “‘Cause they make up the rules.”
“Well,” said the old man. “First, it ain’t really about winnin’ so much as it is surrenderin’ — surrenderin’ to the fact that ultimate justice makes the me-thinkers lose it all, anyway.
“Maybe it’s a good thing all this money collapse has shook up the whole world. Maybe this’ll give a chance for the we-thinkers to shape the future. Heck, who knows? Maybe all this sufferin’ might even convert some me-thinkers into we-thinkers.”
Steve Hart is a sailor, angler, explorer, raconteur, amateur citrus-grower and semi-professional theologian who masqueraded as a Florida journalist and pundit for the last 25 years. A fifth-generation Floridian, Hart comes from solid cracker stock but revels in the changing face of 21st century Florida and its patchwork quilt of people, their cultures, traditions, shades and ideas. His book, “Tales from Down Yonder, Florida,” is available in local bookstores and on the Web at downyonderflorida.com.