Terry is one of the smartest people I have ever met, but when it suits her, she can be utterly obtuse. ... She looks at me as if I am crazy. Slowly it dawns on her. “You think I did that on purpose?”
Well, of course I did think so. And we had another furious argument about that—about whether she had.
But I consider behavior purposeful, whether the purpose is acknowledged or not. Behavior is not random; it can be analyzed from the standpoint of purpose; it can be understood from the standpoint of purpose.
I have a red and black jacket that I like a lot.
A long time ago, something like two years ago, the lining of the jacket got caught on a hook and ripped. One afternoon someone I knew noticed the ripped lining. I explained that I liked the jacket a lot and was going to take it to a dry cleaners and have them sew up the ripped lining properly with strong thread.
That night, after that jacket conversation, I heard the person talking and they recounted how a friend of theirs thought that red and black jackets like mine, that particular brand, were “retarded.”
I’m not a hip or fashionable person and I’m certainly not in touch with current trends. I liked my red and black jacket, but I didn’t want people to consider me “retarded,” didn’t want people to think I was posturing, being an asshole, for wearing this-or-that brand of clothing.
So I put my red and black jacket off to the side in my closet. I still wore it now and then, but I didn’t wear it often. And I never took it to the dry cleaners to get repaired.
Something like two years have gone by. For the life of me, now, I can’t remember why I worried so much about being considered cool by someone who would indirectly—what neurolinguistic programmers call “quoting”—call me retarded.
I’m a very slow learner but in my own way at my own pace I get better.
Yesterday I took my red and black jacket that I still like a lot to a dry cleaners and paid $14 for them to repair the lining and clean it. Saturday I’ll pick up my jacket and it will be good as new.
The dry cleaners are fixing the rip in my jacket. I’m fixing the rip in me.