Archive for the 'Re-Blogger' Category


The Should-Be

Often I hear people say things like: “They shouldn’t be treating people that way”; “Guys should know to put the toilet seat down after you’re finished peeing”; “Popey’s should’ve had plenty of chicken stocked up” (funny youtube video); “That’s just not the way things are supposed to be.”

Well how should they be? And, more importantly, according to whom? The should-be is a widely used, specifically subjective term. The way things ‘should be’ to me – a southern, middle-class, mildly conservative male who likes Pork Chops and Succotash with his stove-top, hot sauce and beer – would be drastically different than a Petit English woman named Ms. Gertrude Prudey, whom prefers non-fat Jam on her crumpet, which she enjoys daily with a small glass of pinky-finger-raised hot tea. How different is the should-be for a 17 year old Somali pirate on the verge of starvation and beyond the outer limits of hope. How should things be if you were the mother of an Arab terrorist that is under a waterboard, on a table, in the middle of a windowless torture-for-vital-info room? But we will get to that shortly; for now, on the lighter side, let’s consider the Toilet Seat example.

I have never been able to understand, for the life of me, why women make such a big deal about us putting the toilet seat down once we are finished with our “number one” sequence. It is as if all women, once they reach the threshold of the bathroom, instantly become blinded as they approach that fickle little porcelin hole in the floor.  Apparently, they don’t have the where-with-all to even see whether the seat is up before they sit down. Or, providing the benifit of the doubt, maybe, yall (women) approach the toilet as if you were a defensive back – backpedaling, eyes strait ahead, hip to back at a perfect nnety degree angle, until your butt just happens to reach the toilet. And once you sit down, unbeknownst of the present position of the toilet seat, you have a 50-50 chance of falling in. Do woman actually do this? Has a woman actually sat down into a bowl full of toilet water? It’s hard for me to believe. Maybe. But, I don’t think so.

I think that the reason why they make such a big deal about it is because of a social disconnect that exists between men and woman. They (woman) take our (men) leaving the toilet seat up as an inconsiderate and dis-respectful thing to do. While some of the threshold-blinded-defensive-back women may actually end up with wet-ass-syndrome, most of the commotion as it relates to upright toilet seats can be attributed to a misunderstanding of cross cultural perspectives.  It is this social disconnect that I am concerned with as it relates to the should-be.

In college, while at Georgia Southern, a speaker in an introductory business class said, “We see the world through cultural lenses” – Changai Mwetti.  I feel like he meant that all people see all aspects of their life according to the culmination of experiences that have shaped their current view of the world. Furthermore; by nature, we are subjective beings and we judge others’ actions according to what we know as REAL – what ‘I would do’ and what ‘should be.’

Back to the Toilet Seat Example, the social or cultural disconnect between what should be from the perspective of the Man and the Woman is rooted in incentives that have been reinforced or challenged via experience throughout the course of the given person’s life. Me, as a man, thinking logically and in my own best interest, think to myself upon shaking it, zipping it, and buttoning it: “it sure is a good thing that I put the toilet seat up because otherwise I would have gotten a little bit of over spray on the seat and no-one wants to sit in that. Not that I’m too lazy to put it back down, but I’ll just leave it up so that it can dry before the next person comes in here.” As I walk out I pass a beautiful nice-butted brown-haired woman. She, being a sort of female anomaly that is neither blinded at the threshold nor feels the need to back peddle toward the toilet, sees the upward oriented seat and thinks to herself: “Even though that guy was ruggedly good looking, he has terrible manners. Why wouldn’t he just put the seat back down when he is finished? How freaking hard is that?”

Each player in this example has a completely different idea of what should-be; of what is GOOD. Notice that we have created our conception of the right way things should be done according to incentives that meet our best interest. Being that either up or down toilet seats for men and women respectively suit his or her best interest, consider the idea that such a conception is constantly reinforced on average, about 4 – 5 times per day.

Another example, would you steel if it were the only way you could eat? Would you steel if it were the only way your family could eat? Somalians, as do the inhabitants of many communities all over the world, live in a hopeless poverty that I cannot even fathom. In a society where genocide is commonplace, where can a young man be expected to find his place; where can he find a common ground with life; can he see a light at the end of his dreary, dark tunnel? The answer for many men and women all over the world is that they there is no way to make an honest life via hard work and education.

So they steel. At first, at six, a loaf of bread. Later, at twelve years old, a pick-pocketed wallet. As a man, at seventeen, much larger opportunities arise. All his life, the only way he has known is to steal. This is his should-be. To him, a man who isn’t expected to live past nineteen, hijacking cargo ships is a ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ opportunity to really live. It doesn’t matter to him that US Marines can blow his head clean off from 450 yards away. Economically speaking, he is risking a two year loss versus a fifty plus year gain. To him, pirating is the only way. To him, this is a GOOD should-be..

Now, a personal question: how is your should-be? How is your should-be when it comes to using torture techniques such as waterboarding in order to obtain vital information? Think about the person you love the most. Picture their smiling face. Think back on the last time you saw them and what they were doing and what you were doing with them. Now, imagine that he or she has been kidnapped and is being held in a very unpleasant place like the girl in “Taken” . You know that if you don’t find him or her soon, they will be killed or worse. Finally, imagine that a man sits in front of you tied, hands behind his back, and he knows exactly where to find your missing loved one. What should-be done to find out what you need to know?

It’s a matter of perspective.  I can look at the front of building with it’s grey marble facade and tall glass doors from corner to corner and all the way up, but that’s not the whole building.  There are three other sides to that building and a floor plan and an interior and four elevators that reach fifty-nine stories, each with offices and closets and restrooms and nooks and crannies that I could not even imagine from the spot on the sidewalk that I stand looking at it’s front door and corner to corner and up squinting from the glare of the sun that shines from the clouds.

What should-be is,

so then why not just

focus on the IS, respecting

each other’s perspectives

and learning and growing together.

Do More Now.


My Previous Vocabulary.

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