Understanding Difficult People   3 comments

I sometimes come across inspirational stories or provocative ideas that I want to share.  Check out his website if you are interested.

Ransome lived down the street from me when I was a small boy. He was a friend of sorts. We competed over everything and it must have appeared to onlookers that we were more foes than friends. Ransome was athletic. He could chin himself on a bar fifty or sixty times. I struggled (with sweaty palms) to lift myself over the bar even once. He could run fast, faster than any kid his age. I was slow, a turtle of sorts; the kind of kid who always got caught in a game of tag. Ransome had fabulous eye-hand coordination. He could catch baseballs thrown by older kids and was often invited to join their pick-up teams. I closed my eyes whenever a baseball was thrown too hard. I was rarely asked to join the older boy’s teams (and was usually glad for it). Ransome caught the only baseball I ever hit toward the center field fence. He said I had the weakest swing of any kid in the neighborhood and from that day on, I never wanted to play baseball again.

Ransome was smart too. He knew facts about everything and always managed to correct me when I least wanted to be corrected. I remember telling a little girl (who I secretly loved) that several of the U.S. presidents were born in Europe. He corrected me and called me an “idiot.” In truth, none of the U.S. presidents were born outside of the United States. Ransome was right (again). I was wrong (again). On those occasions when I did know something of importance, Ransome always said, “I could have told you that.”

I was jealous of Ransome. I tried to defeat him on the playing field but he was always one move better, one leg faster. I tried to defeat him in school, but he was always a little smarter. Ransome seemed one better at everything.

And then one day I visited Ransome’s house in the middle of the afternoon. Ransome’s mother was sitting in her night clothes on the living room sofa. She spoke of lewd things, awful things, dark things. It was clear she was drunk. She told Ransome that she was ashamed of him because he had forgotten to clean his room and that his father was a loser. I saw on Ransome’s face an indescribable shame and horror. I saw his head drop and for the first time in my life, I saw in his eyes defeat. From that moment on, I no longer wanted to defeat Ransome. I could see clearly that his competitiveness on the playing field and in the classroom was a way of avoiding his trouble at home. At a very early age, Ransome was trying to answer a question we all must answer: if I am not good at what I do, if I am not successful, will I be loved?


From “The Man with a Black Belt in Intellect” by David Pitonyak

Click to access BlackBelt2.pdf


Posted February 2, 2011 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Understanding Difficult People

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  1. really like this post…and David’s post. also appreciate this blog. come here when i feel like digging. thanks so much for your authenticity.

  2. Thanks sh1879, it encourages me to continue when folks let me know it is a blessing to them.

  3. great post:) so true!

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