A few weeks ago, I told you a story about this woman who swept the floors in my local McDonalds, and how she hated the staff there, calling them “animals.” I told you how I befriended her and encouraged her to apply for this other job at a supermarket. I told you how she got the job and how we said good-bye one morning, with me giving her a vague promise to visit her someday at her new job.
What I didn’t tell you was that three days later, she was back at McDonald’s, cleaning out the trash receptacle. She couldn’t handle the job. She said the owners were crooked and sold rancid potato salad. The owner’s son yelled at her and called her stupid. So she left the job (or was fired) and was forced to beg the manager of the McDonald’s, a woman she completely despised, to give her the job back, even offering to work longer hours.
In three days, she aged ten years. Disappointment and failure were etched on her face.
It’s taken me two weeks to tell this story — because I was afraid. This story reeks of failure, of a woman accepting her limitations, of weakness, of bitterness. I do not see this story ending well.
I didn’t tell the story because I didn’t want it rubbing off on me, to have YOU associate with me with failure. After all, on the internet, all failure must be banished, like lepers to a solitary island of diseased misfits. The Army of Positiveness has won, not through any violent blitzkrieg, but by steady infiltration.
At first there were those kindly quotes on Twitter, misquoting Eleanor Roosevelt, urging us to never give up on our dreams. Soon, these messages appeared on colorful graphics on Pinterest and Instagram. Blame was placed on the individual’s own brain, with the difference between success and failure based on how you THINK. Much of this advice was true. Scientists have shown that even smiling more often can enhance your mental health. But as the positivist movement entered the video stage, the extremes went pushed into obsession, much like those Venezuelan female mannequins that presented “idea” womanhood as having enormous breasts that shoot out like the peaks of Machu Picchu.
Look at you. Sitting there with that dour face. How can you be so lazy when this paraplegic has not “given up” on life, participating in an iron man competition? Sure, you might be having a double mastectomy, but is that an excuse to not dance to a disco song with your medical staff right before surgery in a viral video? And what loser proposes to his girlfriend WITHOUT a flash mob?
It broke my heart to see this woman back in McDonald’s, at the job she hated, with the staff she felt were “animals.” I said, “I’m sorry,” and then finished my coffee. I then wondered if I should even write about this in my blog, fearing that it would affect my reputation. After all, you are only as good as the upworthy ones who you keep in your life, not the wrong ones heading for disaster.