Can I Help You With That?

One of my most troublesome attributes is my persistent helpfulness.  It can be a real burden for me and even more so for the good people I try to impose it upon.

You wouldn’t think so, really, would you?  You’d tend to reckon, “Helpfulness, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?” and normally you wouldn’t be wrong.  But this is me we’re talking about and nobody can turn a good deed into a crisis like wot I can.

Where does it come from, this chronic helpfulness?  I've thought about this quite a bit.  

I reckon it’s a little rebellion against the religion I was raised in.  Us Catholic-Types, we’ve got this neat get-out-clause when we do something a bit wrong, like when we miss mass or murder someone. We get to confess our sins to God, (via an old bloke in a dark box) and then they’re all gone.

I never bought into this.  Never-ever. 

To me, it’s just too bloody convenient.  My instinct has always been that if you do something wrong (and you’re bothered) you can really only begin to sort it out by making some kind of reparation.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a religious tenet, it just seems a bit logical to me.  I mean, if you break a window with your football and you go into a wee box and tell the man all about it… well, it doesn’t fix the damn window, does it?  You’ve got to get some glass and putty and gloves – don’t forget gloves - and you’ve got to fix it up.

It therefore follows that, because I mess-up on almost a daily basis, I am also in an almost-constant state of doing reparation. Because I wouldn’t know how to repair a broken window, I try to find other ways to restore the balance of my wrongdoing.  I’m always sub-consciously on the lookout for little ways to make up for the shit I may have done.

This has developed into a mis-apprehension that, whenever somebody asks me to do something, they are an instrument offering me an opportunity to do a bit of repairing.  That’s why I find it very hard to say no to people when they ask me to do stuff for them.  Please don’t use this nugget of information to your advantage.

So why is my being a helpful-little-soul such a pain in the arse?

Well, one of the more obvious reasons is that I generally make a balls-up out of every good deed I try to do.  There are few exceptions to this rule.  Pretty-much every good deed I do will eventually turn to dust in my hands.  Still I keep trying… and trying… and…

Last week, for instance, I was walking home from work as I usually do.  I was walking along a deserted street, quite happily, when I realised the street wasn’t quite as deserted as I thought.  Way on up ahead, struggling gamely, was a little-old-lady with some heavy baggage.

As I quickly gained on her, I realised a couple of things; a) I didn’t know her, 2) her baggage looked very heavy and iii) I am no good at numbering points.  I resolved to offer my help as soon as I drew up level with her.  I could offer to carry her bags home. I mean, she was a little old lady with heavy bags - how far away could she live?

(One other thing I should mention about me.  Once I resolve to do something, I find it very hard not to see it through, no matter what happens.)

I had just-about drawn level with this nice old lady when she, rather unexpectedly, stopped, dropped both her carrier bags to the pavement, hiked up her coat and skirt and started adjusting her bloomers. I guess they must have been slipping down what with the friction of the carrying of the_ well, I don’t bloody know, do I??

I should have walked on by, 'looked the other way.

But I was on auto-pilot, you see.  I had already committed to my Kamikaze-Dive of Helpfulness and it was just too late to pull out.

I drew alongside the lady.

“You look like you need some help with that.” I said.

I was referring to the bags, of course, but the little old lady still had bunches of her knickers gathered up in both hands.

It was all most unfortunate.

“No,” she said, peering owl-like from behind her glasses, “I’m fine.”

I walked on.

Hopefully this illustrates that, should you ask me for help, I will probably oblige.

But all I’m saying is, it may not go well.


Ben Keenan said...

Love it :-)

Sam Wyld said...

What a daft woman, turning you down like that.

Jim Murdoch said...

You couldn't make this up. (You didn't make this up, did you?)

Buzzing J said...

It would be real funny if she had held up her hands and accept your offer to help.

Pam Nash said...

As ever, you made me smile! :o)

hope said...

You are victim of the same curse my Mom used on me....swearing her mother had used it on her.

If a job is once begun
never leave it til it's done.
Be the labor great or small
Do it well or not at all.

Sadly, once I start I CAN'T if the world will rotate off it's axis and plummet.

I've learned to be careful about my offers...and yet that little voice inside is always offering, "Can I help you with that?"

Carry on. :)

Hanna said...

You're just such a nice guy! But I am laughing very hard at the fact that the little old lady probably thought you meant helping her with the bloomers ;o)

Art Durkee said...

It's all about the timing, ennit?

Laura said...

A fine handsome Irishman like yourself she should have taken you up on the offer. Given you the luggage to carry and then lead you to the bedroom to get into some real underwear adjusting. Seems a win-win situation for her. But ummm... you're kind of stuck being nice and following through. Nice of you.