November 23, 2019 by phicks2012
Have you ever noticed that some people cannot be bothered to help out with necessary, but low-key tasks? They will volunteer for high-profile (but usually short term) jobs that will earn them awards or ingratiate them with someone important (their boss, congressman, senator, or monarch), but when it comes to supporting a lesser-known cause or organization with ongoing participation or commitment, or to taking on a long-term project that will call for steady (and possibly monotonous) effort, they simply cannot be found until after the fact.
If called on it, they always have excuses for their absence and lack of actual hands-on assistance, but in the final analysis they simply do not really care enough to put themselves out unless they just happen to be in the mood — or unless there’s really something in it for them personally. Even then, they might well skimp on the work but claim much of the credit.
I often hear people complaining that after busting their butts getting something accomplished, someone else who barely participated at all is being publicly praised and credited with their work, and rewarded for it. It’s not that they did the job because they were seeking raises, or accolades, or certificates of merit, but more that they’re not even getting a “thank you” while this other person (who participated only minimally) is being praised to the skies, and that this simply isn’t fair.
They’re right. It isn’t fair, and this is especially true when the people accepting that praise as their due can rarely (if ever} be counted on to step up when real work is needed. No. If the project goes well, they will claim credit for work they didn’t do, and if if goes badly they will distance themselves and blame others for mistakes they themselves made. They get credit for anything good done in their general vicinities, but none of the blame for failures that could rightly be laid at their own feet. It doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t fair, but it does happen — especially if the people involved have perceived rank or power.
The verse below was inspired, if you can call it that, by such people. It definitely is NOT great poetry. Not by a long shot, but writing it was somewhat therapeutic, and cathartic nevertheless. 😉 It will also be printed soon in our SCA Shire’s monthly newsletter The Equinox.
There are those who seek circlets, their brows to adorn,
And medallions all golden, or Crowns to be worn,
That may mark them as noble, entitled, refined,
And above other mortals; with power aligned.
There are those who stride forth when there’s fame to be won,
Laying claim unto deeds that by others were done,
But deny their own flaws, while they’re tallying scores,
Ever laying their failures at other men’s doors.
Though their smiles may be brilliant, their ranks may be high,
They must need reassurance to self-gratify,
For they hover round thrones like to moths seeking flame.
And go forth being fattened on other men’s fame.
And while others may struggle the rapids to cross
Rowing hard without gain, never counting the cost,
They will claim all the credit and stand high in lore,
Though they sat by the side barely dipping an oar.
Spare me, please, from the sluggards who tout their own worth,
Be they nimble of stature or mighty of girth,
Give me truth-seeing eyes that may false hearts discern,
That go forth claiming glories they never did earn.
Render praise to the heroes who rise at the call
While dissemblers sit telling their tales in the hall,
Or stand off by the side wearing others’ acclaim.
Rather honor the worthy! Remember their names!
[19 November, A.S. LIV, 2019]