The Art of Asking
A farmer is sitting on his porch in a chair, hanging out.
A friend walks up to the porch to say hello and hears an awful yelping, squealing sound coming from inside the house.
“What’s that terrifyin’ sound?” asks the friend.
“It’s my dog,” said the farmer. “He’s sittin’ on a nail.”
“Why doesn’t he just sit up and get off it?” asks the friend.
The farmer deliberates on this and replies:
“Doesn’t hurt enough yet.
Fraud police: We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we are taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.
Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.
Asking is like courtship; begging, you are already naked and panting.
The opposite of “Indian giver” would be something like “white man keeper”…that is, a person whose instinct is to remove property from circulation…The Indian giver (or the original one, at any rate) understood a cardinal property of the gift: whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again, not kept…The only essential is this:
The gift must always move.
The politician Tip O’Neill once said something along these lines: If you want to make someone your real friend, ask them for a favor.