Monday, September 30, 2013

"I," Me," and "Everybody Else"

For absolutely no reason I’m aware of, I found myself pondering the difficulties in really, really grasping the difference between the elemental concepts of "I/me", "you," "them/they." All my life I’ve been painfully aware of these differences, and that there is me, and then there's everybody else in the world. I am in fact outnumbered seven-billion-or-so-and-counting to one.  (Go, Breeders!) 

Few people are very good at philosophizing, and I certainly am not one of them. The problem with the "I"/"me" and "everybody else" issue lies in fully recognizing that every other human on the planet is an "I"/"me", facing the same odds as I. 

The fact is there is only one human being in the entire world truly qualified to use the words "me," "myself," and "I," and that is the individual using them. The circumference of the concept that every human being has that exact same exclusive right is far too large for us to wrap our ams, let alone our mind, around. As Yul Brynner said, in The King and I, "Tis a puzzlement."

We go through life with the totally baseless and easily disproven assumption that life is supposed to be easy. I suspect it derived from our perspective of "me" and "everyone else." From my perspective, life is easy for everyone but me. I constantly find myself caught up in one Wagnerian tempest after another, while watching "everyone else" sail effortlessly through calm seas. 

From the perspective of "I", "everyone else" appears to somehow be a single unit; members of a gigantic club to which I do not belong. I look around at the seven billion "you,"s, "them"s and "they"s and, not surprisingly, feel totally surrounded, overwhelmed, and hopelessly intimidated. There is the inescapable assumption that all those "you"s are privy to an infinite number of things of which "I/me" have been deprived. 

I as an individual have always thought of myself in effect sitting alone under a tree eating a bologna sandwich while "everyone else," steeped in camaraderie good fellowship and a sense of belonging is enjoying a vast pot-luck where each one has brought an exotic dish to pass. 

"Everyone else" seems to go through life with astonishing ease. "They" don't make stupid mistakes. "They" almost never get frustrated over little things, or snap at someone who doesn't deserve to be snapped at, or say or do stupid and embarrassing things they would give anything in the world to unsay or undo. In short, "they" have mastered the rules of the game of life which are written in some alien language I can never hope to comprehend, let alone speak.  "They" always seem to be able to cope with almost any given situation with absolute ease, and are possessed of a poise which has always escaped me. "They" have an absolutely wonderful time at any gathering. They completely understand everything that is going on. They sing and dance and share jokes and stories which too often confuse or dumbfound me.

There are, however, two simple words which can bridge the gap between "I"/"me," and "everybody else" for those willing to put the effort into their construction. Those words are "us" and "we." And I really must learn to take my own advice.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (


Kage Alan said...

Life could be simpler. I do believe that. However, they and sometimes we make it complicated. More them. If the 'I's took more of the 'we's' into consideration, it would help things considerably.

Breda Shannon said...

Enjoyed the disinterring of the concepts.


Breda Shannon said...

Enjoyed your disinterring of the concepts.


Breda Shannon said...

I enjoyed your disinterring of the concepts.