A Choice Turn of Phrase

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reading the following Carolyn Hax column (subscription required) in Saturday's Houston Chronicle, I enjoyed the turn of phrase in bold below, which nicely underscored the usual excellent advice:


My loving boyfriend of eight months recently informed me that he is the father of a 2-year-old son, whom he has been financially supporting for the duration of our relationship. He didn't tell me earlier for a whole host of reasons, some reasonable and some simply cowardly. I feel lied to, yet at the same time I feel so understanding. How do I know if I'm willing to move on from this?

Oh, and also, due to complicated circumstances involving immigration, etc., he married the mother, whom he barely knew, and is in the process now of securing a divorce. My mom insists I never would have tolerated this from anyone else (and she's right) and that I'm being "bamboozled." I say that I love him and this massive mistake doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to be loved.

Only 24

Oh, and also, here's what this person just told you: When he feels he has something to lose, he will lie at your expense to protect himself and his interests.

People do get into complicated situations, yes, and do make massive mistakes; you're right that it doesn't make them undeserving of love.

When their mistakes include long-standing, self-serving whoppers that involve the denial of the existence of a person he helped create, however, it does make them undeserving of trust. Get your head out of your altruism and listen to your mommy.

Look. He may be an okay guy someday.

He may be so close to being an okay guy that your dumping him -- explicitly because of the lie, and explicitly not because of the soon-to-be-ex-wife and kid -- will be the butt-kick he needs to start owning his life and all its consequences, not just the ones that are legally enforceable.

But he's not there yet, and I don't advise hanging around for the next complicated situation to find out if he'll ever arrive. Nobody needs that suspense. [question changed from bold to italics, my bold]
Is this yet another example of the growing influence of Ayn Rand, an advocate of egoism, on our culture? There's no way to tell here one way or the other.

As far as I know or can glean from the web, Carolyn Hax, if she is familiar with and likes Ayn Rand, is not in the habit of saying so. Besides, the results of acting based on altruism are so obviously bad after what she lays out that "Get your head out of your ass," almost turns itself into the new phrase once one thinks of the other filthy a-word.

And yet, a Google search of the phrase suggests that Hax may have originated it since all three results point to her column or references to it.

Despite the mystery, I like the turn of phrase!

-- CAV

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