What to Do When the World Wants to Pass You By

by Maurice Bernier about a year ago in advice

Simple: Don't Worry. Be Happy.

What to Do When the World Wants to Pass You By
Photo by NASA on unsplash.com

Science has taught me THREE things about life.

  1. There are nine planets in this solar system.
  2. There are billions of people on this very planet.
  3. There are 365 days in a year.

I taught myself only ONE thing about life: If people don't like me, what I do or what I stand for, I don't care!

That being said, to me, life is way too short for me to sit around, and worry about things. I don't have the time, and/or the patience to deal with it. My days are presently packed with tons of activities, with very little time for me to take care of myself. In addition to working almost every day, I have to read, in order to keep up with the news, shop mostly for food (I do get hungry from time-to-time), and honor any commitments I have made to friends in order to take care of important stuff. I have no time for someone else to bring me their unwanted (by me) problems. I don't need that stuff.

For examples, look at these actual stories from MY life:

A) I pity the fool who won't leave me alone!

Did you ever have a person who would not leave you alone when you did not want to be bothered? I HAD someone like that in my life. His name was Petey Pest. Actually, that is obviously not his real name. Even though I like calling him by that name, I am just using it to get my point across.

From the very outset, I knew that Petey would be a pain to my lower regions. Why? He was always too playful. Okay, once in a while is fine. All the time is just too much. What he failed to realize is that I had a life, too. My life is filled with important things to do, and sometimes, they must be done right away, and without delay.

As a school teacher, I have many responsibilities. One of them is to study on a daily basis. I need to be ready for classes at any and all times. It comes with the job. One Friday night after a long day and a very difficult week, I decided to settle in, take care of myself and do my studying for the coming week. I bought some food from a nearby burger joint, some fries, and a nice drink. This would be called dinner. I was all set for my book and my burger. Then, the dreaded phone rang. My peace and solitude were now destroyed.

Against my better judgment, I decided to answer the black plastic monstrosity. It was Petey.

Me: What?

Petey: Whatcha doing tonight?

Me: Studying and enjoying my dinner before it gets cold.

Petey: Forget all of that. Come on out, and play pool with us.

Me: No. I really need to study, so that I can get all of my work done.

Petey: You don't need to do all of that. Just give them A's, and come hang out with us.

Me: Again, no! I take my job very seriously. I need to read each and every paper in front of me. It will take me all night. Then, I want to go to bed. I had a tough week.

Petey: Why are you so tired? Your job is not hard. Your job is easy. Anyone could do your job. Stop complaining.

It was at this point that I wanted to rip the dang phone outta the wall, hop in my car, kick Petey's apartment door down and wrap that phone cord rather tightly around his neck.

That was my FIRST potential response. Then I came up with something much better and far more effective. I stopped all forms of communication with him. I blocked his email address. I also blocked him on Facebook. I even stopped answering his phone calls. As I look back on it, it was the best decision I ever made regarding him. It was much better than serving time in jail for murdering the fool. That was back in 2000. I haven't heard from him since and no longer wish to hear from him anymore.

B) I am not your magic chariot, woman!

Some people just can't get by in life without annoying someone like ME!!! Sometimes, I think that some people exist just to annoy me. I have no other simple explanation for it. If there is another explanation, please send it to me so that I can ignore it.

Every once in a while, we teachers have to attend book fairs and stuff so that we can learn about new materials out there and/or new teaching methods. It is the nature of our job. While I was walking around this huge exhibit somewhere here in New York City, a former colleague approached me. Remember that she is a FORMER colleague. Turns out that she needed a lift home. Here is how THAT conversation went.

LaNeedy: Hi, Mr. B. How are you?

Me: I am fine.

(Wait for it).

LaNeedy: That's good. Nice stuff here.

Me: Yes. It is a very nice place.

(Again, wait for it).

LaNeedy: What time are you leaving?

(There it is).

Me: Why do you want to know?

LaNeedy: I need a lift home.

Me: Well, that is too bad. It looks like you still don't have a way to get home.

LaNeedy: Huh?

Me: I said that you still do not have a way to get home, because I am not taking you home. I have a full car. The only passengers I am driving home are me, myself, and I.

LaNeedy: But, Mr. B., you have to be a gentleman and offer a lady a ride.

Me: I am being a gentleman. I am telling you very nicely that I am not taking you anywhere.

LaNeedy: But, Mr. B., how am I supposed to get home?

Me: I don't know. Do I look like your Uber driver? How did you get here anyway?

LaNeedy: My husband brought me here.

Me: Then, it is your husband's responsibility to pick you up. It is NOT my problem.

This was my greatest moment, because I never heard from her again. She stopped asking for favors and other stuff. It's a shame because she called me a "friend," but she never extended herself like a friend. Furthermore, she could not even tell me my birthday, or, worse yet, spell my last name correctly. Some "friend" she was. However, it did not stop there.

LaNaz: Hello, Mr. B.

Me: Hello.

LaNaz: Mr. B, a friend and I were wondering if we could get a ride home with you.

Me: No, that is not possible.

LaNaz: Why not?

Me: Well, as I told your "friend," I have no room, because I am only hauling me, myself, and I.

LaNaz: Mr. B., that is just one person-you.

Me: Yup.

LaNaz: Mr. B., it is just five minutes out of your way.

Me: Do you know exactly where I live? No. How do you know that it is only five minutes out of my way? You don't. You just assumed that I live in the area. For all you know, it could be five hours, or even five days out of my way.

LaNaz: Mr. B, you are just being ridiculous!

Me: No, I am not. The message that I am trying to give you is that I do not wish to be someone else's cab ride home. Your friend got here somehow, and she needs to figure out how she is to get home. I am NOT an option. I am not her Uber driver. I will not comply! Period!

Yup, it was a pushy former colleague of ours who decided to intercede on LaNeedy's behalf. I saw right through it when she tried to use that "my friend" routine.

C) Fitting in With the 'In" Crowd

Actually, this one has two, non-connected parts. The first involved part of my grade school, and high school periods. It dealt with clothes. According to a group I used to hang with (PLEASE do not call them my "friends." They were no friends to me. I will explain more about it in another article.) back in grade school. We attended a Catholic grade school. So, it was incumbent upon all of us to wear the school uniform. However, outside of school property and hours, our attire was up to us.

We grew up, for the most part, in the urban jungle of Queens, New York. We were fortunate enough to have parents who cared for us, and did what they could at all times. We did not dress as miniature bums. We had nice clothes and everything else. In short, we were not poor, but we weren't rich, either. That was fine by me. I could not complain. When the guys got together, it was like a military inspection. Our colleagues looked us up and down to see what we were wearing that day. The three biggest items were sharkskin pants, Playboy shoes, and Keds or Converse sneakers. The pants had to completely cover your socks so that they never showed, even when you were walking somewhere. The Playboy shoes had to be genuine, and not some knockoff. The sneakers had to be clearly labeled as such, or they were called Skippies, which is another way to label them as very cheap knockoffs. Such pressure at the age of 13.

Even as a grown adult, I never owned a pair of sharkskin pants. They were too expensive anyway. They also looked too fragile, because I feared that they would have been accidentally torn if I did not watch how I moved. I also feared getting robbed and somebody holding me up in the street just to take my silk-looking pants. The Playboy shoes were just too expensive as well. They, like the pants, were just an expensive fad. Once worn down, they could not be repaired anyway. At least, my other shoes found a second or third life after I got back from the shoe repair shop. The only one of the items that I found of any value were the Converse sneakers. Still, life went on.

Did any of these items change my life for the better? No, they did not. Did it change anyone else's life for the better? Nope. They were just expensive items for folks to brag about. I did not need them. I am glad I learned that lesson early. If I didn't, my wallet would have been on life support a long time ago.

The one item, which did leave an impression on my life was cigarettes. I saw my parents smoke like winter chimneys. Although I was quite concerned about their health, I tried to not bother them about it; a decision I wish I had acted on every time I visit their graves. I remember one day in high school when one of the guys who attended the same grammar school I attended (Yes, he wore the sharkskin pants and the Playboy shoes) told me that the only way to hang out with him and the other guys is to learn how to smoke. At the time he told me, I was just beginning to study the trumpet and I had no need to challenge my lungs with tobacco. So, I respectfully declined and decided that this would be the opportunity to make new friends while discarding old friends.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. As of today, most, not all, of the guys I grew up with are now pushing up daisies somewhere thanks to cancer and emphysema. Most did not even manage to finish their 30s. I am fortunate as I can brag, if I wanted to, that I am over double their ages. I don't brag, but I am glad that I did the right thing when it came to smoking and stuff. I may have looked stupid, but I wasn't going to act stupidly.

In conclusion, I wasn't going to let life trample all over me. When one sees a boulder heading their way, the best thing to do is just step aside, and let it continue its journey. If it isn't going to impact my journey, so be it. It was a rather easy lesson to learn. Someone once said to "pick your battles carefully." I say that, "If it is not my war, why should I take part?" I think that I made the best decision... for ME!

Photo by MJ Tangonan on unsplash.com

Maurice Bernier
Maurice Bernier
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Maurice Bernier

I am a diehard New Yorker! I was born in, raised in and love my NYC. My blood bleeds orange & blue for my New York Mets. I hope that you like my work. I am cranking them out as fast as I can. Please enjoy & share with your friends.

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