Humans are amazing buttheads
I’ve been thinking about what to post post-Harvey and here are my two major observations: our generosity and hearts are so big, and ironically, we are also amazing buttheads. I am referring to humans.
Before, during and after the “800 year storm,” I paid attention to the behaviors on social media, of my friends, and, of course, myself. Housebound and bored (but safe), I immediately began to brand the storm and attempt to save the world with a t-shirt.
“Are you branding the storm?” my wife asked.
“No, I’m trying to help!” I rebuked.
“Be careful, babe,” she said knowingly.
I came up with “Houston Rises” as a play on words and reflection on how Houstonians immediately rose to the challenge. I became obsessed. I acted as if the most important thing was to get these shirts out into the world. Was it a good cause? Of course. But was I passionately promoting it for the greater good or because I was in love with my own idea? I even mentally poo-poo’d the countless other shirts that were raising money for the exact same cause. I was being competitive in a situation that needed compassion. That’s weird. I was being a bonafide butthead.
Social media is a great place to share pictures of tearing down drywall, passing out water and giving back to the community we care so much about. It’s awesome. But are we just volunteering so we can show others we are helping? Maybe, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think we all want to help and feel a tad guilty and lost on how to help. Almost everyone I know was fine except for a few. One was my buddy, Aaron. He’s one of the nicest and all around best people I have ever known and he lost everything. EVERYTHING. I headed over and helped demo his house. I was most impressed that over half of the people working on his house were total strangers. Those people rule. It was a back-breaking four hours for me when I decided to head home. Really, my energy is best used designing t-shirts.
What’s more dangerous than ‘helpies’ (a selfie when you’re helping) is questioning the motives of those who do help, picking on people who take a picture of their demo crew in action, ridiculing celebrities for not giving enough money, harassing pastors who should have opened their doors sooner and sitting on our keister, arms folded, casting judgement on total strangers. That’s butt behavior.
Houston and the surrounding areas absolutely rose to the occasion. I know my little 5 + 8 team got after it. Jeff went full on Cajun Navy rescuing people from their homes. Paulina handed out snacks at the city’s largest shelter. Housebound Linda Ho assembled mega-couch (all her sofas pushed together) and watched all of Big Little Lies (which is a darn good show). As soon as the water dissipated, Linda went out and demo’d a total stranger’s house.
Everyone I know that could do something, did something.
I don’t actually think humans are butts. I think we’re self-absorbed and we feel guilty that we’re not doing enough. So, we act butty about others. I think we just need to give ourselves and everyone else a break. We’re super imperfect. Nobody has to do anything for anyone else. Still, in the last month, I’ve never witnessed so much generosity, care, sacrifice and goodwill toward others in my entire life. We are amazing buttheads, but every 800 years or so, we’re simply amazing.