To do one thing Well…like take a shower

by genspecial

A little while ago, Jeremi Suri wrote a NY Times Op-Ed called “America the Overcommitted,” in which he argued that as a country we are so overextended between the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, that we’re accomplishing nothing.  People of Specialville, I ask you: if our very country is completely overextended, how can we, its minions, hope to possibly focus on one thing?

The solution is not simple.  The country wants to stabilize the Middle East, wants to help out the people of Darfur, wants to protect women’s rights in Pakistan, wants to help Japan recover from the Tsunami, wants, wants wants to do these things for good reasons.  And people in these countries NEED our help, which is what makes it so impossible not to reach out.  Similarly, you, I, and Special People everywhere want to follow up on that Action Alert we get from Amnesty, or Move On, or Puppies in Trouble, want to start printing tee-shirts with the great slogans we thought of, want to add to this website about 2,000 alternate uses for peanut butter (like putting in the shoes of one of our more-successful rivals), want to fold our laundry nicely, want to put together that Ikea TV stand which at this stage we maybe should’ve had delivered with assembly, want to go to Synagogue at some point other than once a year, want to spend time with the people we love, want, want, want!

Like our poor country, we want.  We always want.  And we try.  But we can’t do everything.  And when we get overcommitted, like our country, we sputter, and sometimes we stop doing anything.

Today I’m committing myself to doing ONE thing very well: taking a good shower (I’m starting simple—reduces pressure!).  Everything else is going to go to pot.  So if you have plans with me today, and you’re not my shower, you are in trouble,  because I will not be there for you.  I’m doing one thing.  It’s one very easy thing.  But I’m going to really do it, which isn’t easy.

Says Suri in the Op-Ed, “To re-establish leadership, the nation needs the courage to say it will do some things well, while practicing self-restraint everywhere else.”

I am going to start basic.  I am not going to save the world today.  I am not going to move mountains.  I’m going to take a shower.  Saving the world will come later.  I’m looking forward to my shower.  While there, I’m going to breathe, feel the heat, focus on cleaning, and take my time.  I am not special.

Illustration from Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

My favorite person who wore too many hats