Weeping, wailing, sobbing, crying.
Hurtful pain and deadly dying.
Anger, rage, and bitterness,
A cold and dreary wilderness
Where darkness darkly shadows me
And sorrow mourns and pities me.
The bleakest blackness,
Take me there.
I sure hate papercuts.
Sometimes things seem terrible and bleak when we’re locked inside our own heads. If we could step back and imagine ourselves as someone else watching the drama of our little tragedy, it might seem a little less serious. The tough guy in this poem probably pushes himself hard lifting weights and does things in the gym that would make other people cry and beg for mercy, but this tiny papercut puts him over the edge somehow. You may have heard the phrase “make a mountain out of a mole hill”. I think this phrase applies well to the overreacting papercut guy. Sometimes we become so fragile to discomfort and changes in our lives that even a tiny mole hill looks like a mountain we can’t climb, or a papercut becomes a horrific, crippling, canyon of a wound that keeps us from going to work the next day. A little perspective can help here. Maybe pause and pull out the tape measure to get an objective look at that mole hill. How tall is it really? The tape measure won’t lie to you. If you don’t have a tape measure handy, maybe you can ask a friend nearby, “does this look big to you? Am I overreacting?” A good friend will tell you when you’re making too big a deal of something. They may also have some advice on how to handle the situation.
All that said, keep in mind that we shouldn’t make harsh judgements about other people’s difficulties. There is usually background information that you don’t have. It may be tempting to think that this guy is being a big baby and tell him so, but do you really know how he feels? Maybe he has a rare nerve condition that makes papercuts feel like his finger has been ripped off. Maybe he once had a papercut that really was bleeding so badly he almost died. It’s unlikely, and he probably is being a wimp, but it doesn’t hurt you to show a little compassion and bring him a bandaid. If he brings up the papercut 10 more times that week, okay, then you can tell him to suck it up. But it’s better to start with the assumption that his suffering is more than you know and give they muscle-bound cry-baby a little break. Maybe he’ll be more inclined to give YOU a break when you whine about doing your taxes.