THOUGHT PROVOKER 81
Principle of the Thing
Last Updated September 17, 2005
To Provoke Thought Is The First Step To Beyond
“It’s the principle of the thing! If I want to be treated as an equal I can’t be accepting help, or special privileges, or considerations, or any of that sort of thing, or I’m not being true to me!” said John, as he loaded his suitcase with his spare cane and a handful of tips.
“Well....some would say since you’ve come back from blind rehab you’ve been...ah, too independent.” said John’s friend.
“Now wait a minute! I'm polite when I stop those people who come up to help me when I know I really don’t need their help or want it. I know people mean well, but blindness just isn’t as handicapping as most people believe. And I'm not going to apologize for being able to take care of myself.” John said firmly, trying to help his friend get used to the “new and improved" John.
“Okay, okay. So when you go on this cruise all by yourself, I suppose you’ll stick by this?” said his friend, sounding resigned.
"Of course." said John, pulling clothes from his closet while his friend downloaded some vacation reading for him off of the Internet.
Boarding the cruise ship, John was met at dockside. “Excuse me, sir. I see that you are handicapped. Please allow me to escort you aboard, get you unpacked, and settled.” said a steward.
“Your escort to my cabin this first time will be helpful. I will unpack for myself.” said John in a respectful tone. “I got the basic floor plan off your company's Web site, but I would like more information about the layout of the ship...possibly a tour later, after I settle in.”
“Ah, yes sir. Follow me, down this companion way.”
A few hours later as John was walking on his way to dinner, enjoying the sound of his cane on the polished wood deck and the warm breeze, a fellow passenger took his cane arm and said, “Lounge is this way, young man.”
“No.” said John, stopping and gently extracting his arm. “I’m going to the dining room. Thank you, anyway, but I know where it is.” To indicate that he knew what he was talking about, he pointed to the open dining room doors where he could hear the distinctive sounds of people at table. "Good grief,"
he thought to himself, "I hope I don't have to put up with grabbers this whole voyage." He’d really better concentrate on creating the correct impression of his ability and sense of personal space now, and stick to it.
At table, visiting with his tablemates, he was surprised when the waiter who was placing a plate in front of him said, “Cut your meat for you, sir?”
“Ah, no. Thank you. That is not a problem.” John answered, picking up his knife and fork, wanting to make sure the guy got the message.
“May I then, sir, pour you more coffee? A service I do for all guests, sir.” said the implacable waiter.
Many more of these little incidents happened throughout the first two days of the weeklong ocean voyage, but John felt good that he stuck to his training.
On the third night, after most people were in bed asleep, the ship struck some type of object causing several explosions. Much of the above deck structure on the port side was torn away and the ship began to sink.
“ABANDON SHIP! PROCEED TO YOUR LIFEBOAT STATIONS! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!” sounded the ship wide intercom system.
John got dressed quickly, feeling his heart speed up and the adrenaline kicking in. Life jacket on, long white cane in hand, he left his cabin, joining the stream of passengers making their way to their assigned stations. On the way up, no one went out of their way to assist John. He noted it and didn’t have a problem with it.
On the upper deck, John found many more people than had been there for the drills. There was much confusion, crying, and near panic in the atmosphere.
A loud authoritative male voice shouted: “Please! Please, stand back! We only have these few lifeboats left undamaged. It will be women and children first, please. We have put out a distress call and help is on its way! Gentlemen, please stand back.”
“Yeah, and say your prayers while you're waiting....” said a man's grim voice behind where John stood. “I overheard them talking. The purser thinks no other ships can get here for an hour and the ship has less than half that time to stay afloat.”
“Mommy, look!” cried a small girl near the loading of lifeboats.
“SHARKS! SHARKS! SHARKS!”
John felt a strong hand clasp his forearm. “Sir, I’m the steward. Come with me quickly. You'll get on this last lifeboat.”
**1. I read this story, and while I think it takes the question of whether or not we should accept special treatment to a pretty far extreme, I do think the discussion is a reasonable one. I offer these questions for your consideration and reflection as I believe the intent of the story was to convey the idea that it is right and good for us to turn down special accommodations and assistance as a point of pride:
1 Question: Who among us accepts the offered seat on a bus or train when it's crowded, and we board, only to have nowhere to stand, let alone sit?
Answer: I generally accept the offered seat--not because I can't stand but because turning down the offered seat usually ends up causing more stress for me as well as the person making the offer than the alternative.
I've decided through bitter experience that I'd rather accept an unneeded
kindness (even if it means that people think me less capable) than stand on
a principle, only to be regarded as unfriendly, ungrateful and obstinate.
(I guess I'm learning that I'd rather be happy than right.)
2. Question: Who among us pays half fare when riding the bus?
Answer: I do, and in times past, it was all I could afford. Today, I
can afford more, but I'll still take the discount, especially as my commute
would cost about $7.50 per day or about $200 per month were I to pay the
3. Question: Who among us uses ADA paratransit?
Answer: I do, when I don't know how to make the trip on a regular bus.
4. Question: Who among us uses the audible pedestrian signal?
Answer: I do. I know that the NFB and some individuals believe these
signals are unneeded and even demeaning, but for even those people who
assert this viewpoint, I wonder how many use them if they're already
5. Question: How many among us have ever demanded Braille menus, Braille signs, Braille materials in advance of a meeting, detectable warning strips,
described video, or the myriad of other societal accommodations for which
the organized blind community has fought over the years.
Answer: I've demanded some of these, at some times, depending on how
important the issue.
My point with these questions is this. It's easy to say that we stand on
our own, accepting no assistance because of our abilities, but I submit that
this position is unrealistic and deluded. We all need and accept assistance
and accommodations from time to time, as do other groups within society, and
there's nothing wrong with that. I would add that we seem to demand some
accommodations and assistance as a matter of right, while complaining when
society tries to offer other forms of assistance that we deem to be
unnecessary and/or demeaning. While I'm not saying that we should either accept it all with gratitude or turn it all down cold, I do think we need to recognize that society may be confused by the apparent mixed message from blind people that says, "I have a right to accommodations and assistance when I need them, and society does not have the right to give me anything I
don't need or want." If you'll pardon this admittedly sexist analogy: it's like the man with the liberated wife who expects him to carry heavy packages for her but who bristles when he presumes to open the door for her because she's a lady. It's confusing!
Well I've rambled on quite enough. I think that none of us are islands, and
we all need and accept lots of assistance and accommodations. I would add that it's easy to talk about principles, but I submit that it would be pretty hard for any individual interested in self-preservation to turn down
the last seat on the last lifeboat simply because he wants to prove that blind people (even dead ones) are just as capable of drowning as are sighted people. Personally, I don't know how I'd react, but whatever I did, I sure hope I wouldn't be castigated by my community, any more than I would castigate myself for being one of a few survivors on a doomed ship.
Ron Brooks NFBtalk
**2. At the risk of sounding like a chauvinist, I think that no man should have any trouble figuring this out , and the response has nothing to do with Blindness,
and everything to do with being a man.
This story brings something more powerful to mind about living with Blindness. Freedom comes with a price. Our military people know this most of all, and hopefully we civilians can live with this in mind at all times. Usually the
discrimination we live with from day to day is easy to figure out, in terms of what to do or say with those who do not understand what we are capable of
doing for ourselves. And sometimes we may have the feeling that because we are left out of some of what life has to offer, either unintentionally, or
by design, we seem to feel that we are owed something in return. And occasionally an opportunity occurs because of our Blindness, like a free pass to something because we are Blind, or some kind of discount because of our Blindness.
Just as there are those who would dodge the draft when our country needs their help, yet still want to live in this country, there are those who would take all the help that is offered, and yet claim to be independent. I imagine the person in the story refusing to get onto the boat, and fairing it in the water with all of the other men. After all, his Blindness would
not make him any less able than the other men, among the sharks.
Glenn Ervin, Northeast Nebraska
**3. At first blush I'd say he should tell the steward he'll take his place
with the men. However from the steward's point of view things might
look differently, and I'm not just talking about philosophy and
attitudes toward blindness.
AS the steward I might know things he doesn't, such as more lifeboats are available but I want to get folks away who are otherwise
ambulatory except for crew and those passengers who can assist me with search and rescue. In this case as the steward I'm also going to as the man I know who is an insulin dependent diabetic if he wants to go now. He's a risk factor I don't need because he may have a problem and we have no insulin for him, yet we have other needs of passengers which are pressing. A little preemptive triage if you will here.
I'll figure that whomever picks him up from the water will have
medical supplies to help him. Meanwhile people in the boat can help
each other. I've got to try to rescue as many of those who were
unable to make lifeboat stations as possible.
from John's point of view I'd make sure it was known I could take my
place with the other men however. were I John I'd also make sure that crew knew of any special training or aptitudes I possess which might make me an asset to the crew. Even if the steward tells me then that he wants me to go into the boat I’ll quit arguing at that point and figure he has an idea what's really going on.
A few years ago I asked our ham radio emergency coordinator why he always sent me to locations which were least likely to be big trouble spots and challenged him regarding the blindness issue. HE said something then about he figured I'd do some kind of knee jerk
reaction eventually. HE then explained that he wanted me in a position where I could be of use if the unexpected came up, but meanwhile I took good notes and would be able to take over net control on a few seconds' notice. When he explained that his working philosophy was always to make sure backup net controls were in position where they could assume command and control duties without outside distractions. HE then commented that good net control stations are hard to find and had to practice to keep their skills
sharp. Needless to say I thanked him for his candor and apologized for second guessing his decisions.
Bet our conversation took place after a drill when we were drinking
coffee and critiquing ourselves after the exercise. During the heat of the battle to save lives don't question the decisions of those who
are responsible for your safety too long but do what they tell you.
The life you save could be somebody else's.
regards, Richard Webb NFBtalk list
**4. OK then I'll go with the gentleman's suggestion to have a martini and good cigar. Then I'd ask the steward for the location to the tool shed and I'd use the tools to unhinge a large wooden door or similar flotation device that might be of sufficient buoyancy and size to avoid both shark bite and the maelstrom of the sinking ship.
I don't need to take the place of women or children. Sighted or blind.
Best, Joe Harcz NFBtalk list
**5. I think it would depend on how well he could swim. Dying for your
principles, while laudatory, might not be the thing in that case.
Ann Parsons Blind-X
**6. I have to agree here. Holding to your principles is usually a good thing, but sometimes you have to relax those principles.
Chris Swank Blind-X
**7. This Provoker, "Principle of the Thing," is good, in that it does what Provokers are designed to do - to create discussion, controversy, and thought - all
of which is good. Since before the cruise, John's attitude was, "If I accept help from anybody, that will be saying that the blind are not normal human
beings; therefore, because the blind are equal, I am not going to accept help from anyone." The blind who have this attitude do not stop to think that
out of necessity, we all must request assistance; and that asking for help does not make us helpless or less independent. I used to be this way: I would
never request help, unless I absolutely had to do so. I eventually realized that when wandering around in a hotel with which I was not familiar, without
seeking assistance, I not only was less independent than I would have liked, I was also wasting a lot of time! I also do not agree with the steward's
ordering John to get on a lifeboat with women and children; the steward should have known that that is not seaworthy.
Jeff Frye Overland Park, Kansas USA
**8. I would like to say that independence is fine in some circumstances, like in getting around town, in having and holding down a job or in living in your
own house or apartment. You have a sense of pride from this kind of independence.
When coming back from a rehabilitation center you often think you can take on the whole world and you know just everything about being independent at all
times. But there is a time and place for everything. I think of something like a cruise or an airline flight as a time to let down your guard. You know you can not board a big jet or even a small plane independently. The surroundings are new and most of us are not going to fly that often. In that case,
it is sensible and the right thing to accept pre-boarding and all the help you can get on leaving the plane. I speak from experience, I came back from Chicago alone on an airplane, I preboarded and when in Boston got plenty of help in getting my baggage and boarding the shuttle in getting back to Braintree
When my husband and I were newly weds we accepted pre-boarding to go to Bermuda on our honey-moon. We got all the help we could in getting to our hotel. During the week we were there we were pretty much independent. Now about the man going on the cruise, I think he over did it when it came to being independent. He was on a ship that was while not foreign to him was new. I think he might have alienated people by not accepting help
at all. The steward was doing for him things he would have done for other passengers. When it came time for the emergency, people figured, "he can get on the life-boat himself." A cruise is a time to make friends and if you do accept a little bit of help you would be surprised the friend ships you can make. My husband and I made a nice friendship with a couple while traveling with them on a cab ride around Bermuda. They helped us in there aquarium,
ended up helping others because the caves were not lit much. Talking about the cruise, someone should have helped him regardless of his independence.
It was good that the steward had the sense to get him on the life boats. I always think when on vacation except some help, but when working or getting around town or when you are in your house or apartment except the minimum of help
Sincerely Karen Crowder USA
**9. I just read through the new Thought Provoker. I think it's great to be as independent as possible, in fact that's what everybody should strive for. That guy in the story stood up for himself very well. However, there are situations in which help must be accepted, as illustrated in the short story when the ship was rocked by explosions. I for one am not quite as independent as I'd like to be, but there are a lot of things I do for myself.
Jake Joehl, Chicago, Illinois USA
**10. It sounds too much like the Titanic! Anyway, I think that it is good
for blind people to be as independent as possible. However, there are times when
help may be needed. Up until everyone was waiting to board the lifeboats, being independent is no problem. However, in chaotic times like what was to
happen upon boarding lifeboats and being transferred onto rescue boats, it might be best to seek and accept assistance. I'm sure that there are a lot
of blind people who would be able to manage independently in chaotic times like these as they are able to in normal, low-key situations, but I, myself,
would prefer to have the assistance. I think that whether to seek or accept assistance and when is a matter of individual preference. Some like or need
more help than others even if they may be able to do ninety-nine percent of things with absolutely no help.
**11. Well, I think everybody that doesn't have a chance at the life boats had
better stop standing around and figure out how to turn that lovely wood
deck into life rafts.
**12. I am thirty-seven years old and have been blind all of my life. I was born in fort Worth, Texas and lived the first ten years of my life there. I began
a day school for the blind in fort worth called Lilly B. Clayton. In 1977-78, I was fortunate enough to be selected as the Tarent County United Way Poster
Child. I got a lot of recognition by the Fort Worth Star Telegram and other newspapers and magazines and as a result, my parents were approached by a neighbor
who noticed we were getting a lot of press attention. My neighbor asked if we wanted to move to the "country" where we could get away from the "madness."
My father had always wanted to raise us in a rural setting so he jumped at the idea. From that time forward I attended public school and graduated from
Madill Public High School in 1985. I then attended a vocational school for the blind called (at that time) Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind. I began
work for the IRS in Dallas on February 2, 1987 but I quit the job in June of that year because I disagreed with the management strategy and thought that
there was a lot of supervisor negligence which resulted in taxpayer's finding themselves in very unpleasant situations. I also left the job because I had,
without my knowledge, moved into a very bad part of Dallas and was constantly worried about getting mugged, beaten or killed. I came home one evening to
find that my apartment had been burgled and that the robbers had gone so far as to take a shower and do drugs in my apartment. I didn't learn about the
drugs until I called the police to come and investigate. When they got there, they found a coffee cup with a syringe in it and a piece of a cigarette filter
used to draw dope up through the needle. Finally my nerves got so bad that I was put on a drug called Addivan which I took myself off of after only two
weeks. I moved back to Madill, OK in late June of 1987 and became a professional musician in 1992 after years of hard work and "nightmare performances."
Now I work for a local law firm, Little, Little, Little, Windel, Coppedge, Oliver, Roe, Landgraf, Johnson & Gallagher, as a legal researcher and Constitutional
All of my life I have functioned, played, learned and worked in a sighted world. I now live in a rural area where there are no sidewalks, paratransit authorities,
or any means whatsoever for the blind traveler so I must go wherever I wish with sighted assistance. I don't really mind though because after my experiences
in Dallas, I know that I do not want to live solely without the assistance of someone who can see. I am not a coward because I feel this way and I am not
less capable than the next blind person because I use sighted assistance, I merely prefer this method of travel. Also, there are times when we may drop
or lose something and no matter how much we crawl around on the floor or use a cane or stick to find the item, it isn't going to happen because it has
rolled under something or lodged itself in a crack or any number of other possibilities could have happened, and it will take sighted assistance to find
the lost item.
My life is complete with the exception of one thing, love. I live in an area where people are ignorant about blindness and have preconceived prejudices
and misunderstandings. I cannot go to clubs by myself to meet people and many people are not going to approach a potential date while that person is in
the company of others. I have signed up with various online dating services but these never work either and I have become a cynic and pessimist with regard
to the possibility of romance. It's kind of funny because I often read comments from other blind people who say that sighted people have the wrong ideas
about them because sighted people have not been exposed to blindness, and though I work and live within a sighted society, I must agree. The sighted people
I have developed friendships with
met me through a family member or another friend who became a friend via a family member. Those who are unfamiliar to me or my friends and family will continue
to be unfamiliar because I cannot make eye contact with the people and I do not expect that they will make contact with me.
One thing that has disturbed me over the year is the phenomenon of sighted people assuming that a blind person is intoxicated on something or messed up
in the head someway simply because this blind person travels via sighted guide, but functions independently when not traveling. To give you a better picture:
I play drums with a Southern Rock musical group called Second Haven, formerly Gypsy haven. many times my band mates have come up to me and told me that
someone has approached them and said, "I don't know what you're little drummer is on, but I want some." I have heard others whisper behind my back something
to the effect of, "that guy is messed up on something." The fact is that I was always straight sober and not intoxicated on something, but because these
people saw me walk to the stage with sighted assistance and then get behind a set of drums and play and sing, I must! be messed up on something. It never
occurs to them that I am blind. Until I finally came to the realization that these poor, misguided, uneducated, self-absorbed, superficial people should
be pitied and not despised, I had a saying for them. I would quip, "you know, you look just like everyone else to me until you open your mouth and let
your true colors come roaring through."
I guess that what I'm trying to say in this long diatribe is that rather than trying to work and play independently from sighted people, shouldn't we try
to interact with sighted people so that the myths of blindness can be removed? We who are blind know what we can do and what we can't; some of us can do
more than others and some of us cannot do as much as others. However, we know what it is like to be blind and our sighted colleagues, friends or acquaintances
or even potential sighted dates do not understand. We need more organizations that work to bring blind people and sighted people together rather than trying
to segregate. Separate But Equal is a long-dead phrase that has no meaning and should! have none.
Rex Leslie Howard, Jr. Madill, Oklahoma USA
**13. I wouldn't mind asking the steward or anyone else to get a rifle and to
shoot the sharks.
Joe NFBtalk list
**14. I know, right?, but it wouldn't work; they just don't die when shot at.
way too scary by half.
kat NFBtalk list
**15. I believe I will stay with the other men. It doesn't matter if the
thinks he is doing right. Until the children with their mothers are in
boats, nobody else has any business climbing into a boat. That includes
women, without children, too. Children with their mother first! Unless
their mother isn't on the ship. In that case, the children go in the care
of one of the other mothers. After that it is first come first rescued.
In this day of women's liberation and full equality, I am some what less gallant than I was a few years ago. So ladies, queue up with the rest of us.
As for the sharks, Shooting them will only stir them up more. If we are
lucky, they will take a big enough bite the first time, so we might not
the pain. But, I am pretty skinny. Mr. Shark will probably swim past me
get at the people who have been eating at every one of the eight daily
served meals on the ship.
Oh! I almost forgot. Sinking ships as they fill with water create a
tremendous amount of suction. You may not even be alive when Mr. Shark
takes his first bite. You will probably have drowned when the ship takes
it's big dive. It will go down and probably drag you with it. Your lungs
will be so full of water when you finally surface, that there won't be any
room for air. Not that they would still be working at that point anyway.
But there is some hope. It is important to remember that on a big ship,
there is sure to be a large amount of debris that will float. Try to
quickly find some floating wreckage and climb onto it.
There is also something to be said for ordering a good martini and
up an expensive cigar. If indeed you are going to a watery grave, it
not be a bad idea to go out with a bit of style. Especially if it's
else's booze and cigars.
The important thing is that you do not leave the ship until the ship
you, or your properly appointed time in a properly appointed life boat
up. I don't think I could sleep comfortably at night if I knew I went
a boat and there was still a child on the deck of the sinking ship. My
need me. But so do the children of all of the other adults. I'll take my
chances with the suction and the sharks.
William NFBtalk list
**16. This would be a true multilevel test. First, to stick to his hard won blindness principles or not? Then if he stays does he stand and wait or does he find and rip up something to float saftly on until rescue. Will he be able to do all this or not? Will he live or not?
Ron fisher USA
**17. The thought provoker is interesting and regarding assistance and
"special treatment", my take is:
No, I do not accept special treatment in terms of half fares due to
disability. To me, the half fare is a "feel good" to those who are not
disabled; half fare, to me, is an economic issue, not a disability one.
People ask me why I won't use the half fare, and my answer to them is
that if I insist on being a full citizen with equal rights then a part
of the equality is to pay the full fare. Yes, I will take the discount
when I am a senior citizen as, to me, that is earned by doing one's time
and contributing over time to society, but disability is not earned, it
is a characteristic.
A writer here mentioned taking seats and paratransit as part of the
When boarding a crowded train or bus, I politely turn down the offer as
my experience is causing more of a scene by taking the seat as often it
is not right in front of me and when I used to take the offer so as not
to hurt someone's feelings, I was dragged to the seat or pushed and
shoved to the point where I often got a charlie horse or pulled a muscle
in the dragging.
So, to me, it is easier to say no thank you; and, when asked "are you
sure?" ignore the attempt to satisfy the other person.
I did use paratransit for a short time, when I had a job where public
transportation didn't exist. I found using it as an unpleasant
experience as the management and the drivers treated we, the passengers,
as cargo, and I found this treatment disgusting. Coming and going to and
from my job was quite stressful.
Using an accessible medium as an alternative to printed materials in
order to participate is not a demand it is part of equal participation
where as seats and half fares are not an equal right. As for audible
pedestrian signals, where I live, if one uses the pedestrian pushbuttons
to get a longer light to cross, if there is an audible signal, it comes
on, so here there is no choice of using the signal or not if one wants
to get a sufficient amount of time to cross an intersection of six lanes
of traffic or so.
These questions will always be in divided opinions and actions depending
on how we see ourselves in terms of the society and environments in
which we live.
Federationists, of which I am one, are often described as refusing
assistance and being too independent. I've always found this to be only
a political rhetoric from those who may believe sight is safer or
better; Myself and other blind friends do take or ask for assistance
when we determine that we need it. The bottom line is, who is in
control of when we get assistance. Being rude about refusal when help
is offered respectfully, is unacceptable behavior.
We all are interdependent and to say someone is too independent makes no
sense. I've often thought, when someone comments "oh, you are so
independent". That such a line would only be used to a two or three
year old and not to an adult. I have occasionally responded to such
comments with "yes, I would expect such a comment when I was three, but
not since I have been an adult". And asked just what the person meant,
and, of course, no explanation was forthcoming.
Seville Allan ACB-L
**18. I agree with most of your points except that if disabled folks are given
transportation discounts, I say go for it, as most don't earn as much as
their sighted counterparts. I suspect that, if we earned what our sighted
counterparts earned, the discount question would be a moot point.
**19. I thought I'd take a few moments to respond again to this Thought Provoker before my ride comes. When I read Karen Crowder's response I thought I would
say something. I can relate with what she says about accepting assistance when flying alone. Several years ago I flew from Chicago to Seattle by myself
and was very pleased with the assistance which I received. I think pre-boarding the flight is a must for people with disabilities, especially if they have
special equipment such as a wheelchair or, in my case, a cane. When my family and I have flown together in the past, we have always elected to pre-board
the plane. I also think it would be very unsafe for someone without sight to sit in an exit row, because that person might not be able to see the necessary
lighting and therefore may lead the other passengers into harms way.
Jake Joehl, Chicago USA
**20. I think it's all about knowing and
realizing the difference between when people are treating you as simply a handicapped person they think they must help because you can't possibly do it for yourself, and knowing and realizing when someone is simply doing nothing more than his job by offering assistance to a lifeboat. Assistance
would have been given everywhere in that situation to make sure the right thing was done by everyone.
**21. This is a tricky subject because yes we do strive to be independent and to do our own thing not asking for help and under some circumstances approve or welcome help( such as finding our cabin). John having a handicap was,
in this case, helped onto a lifeboat and safety just as relying on others for so long in our lives can become a safety net and then we come to expect them to help us all the time and there will come a time when we find ourselves alone and helpless and we would have no one to blame but ourselves. John it seems got his independence under control and received little help from those on board until the ship ran into the iceberg. One
part of the story that was neglected was whether he got on a lifeboat with women and children or with other men. I think that in this case that part is essential. For if it was with women and children he would have been saved because of his handicap if not then he was a lucky man.
Allison Kuchar Nebraska USA
**22. I am probably what some might describe as too independent. I do ask for assistance when I feel it appropriate, and I graciously (in my opinion) decline
it whenever it is politely offered to me.
Taking those factors together, I hope the following is true:
(1) I hope I would stay aboard the ship until the last possible and reasonable opportunity is presented me, assuming of course I deemed it a proper opportunity
to take. Meaning for me, women and children first.
(2) Not accepting half-fare discounts on public transportation is a very easy thing for me to do: I simply refuse to accept them.
(3) There is, however, no risk of suffering a potentially fatal consequence should I choose not to opt for half-fare discounts. Well okay, I take it back:
There’s virtually no risk of death or bodily harm so long as the ticket agent with some warped hyperactive control issues about keeping everyone in their
proper places in life doesn’t decide to go postal and kill me because I’m being uncooperative and an ingrate. Highly unlikely, but then I’ve heard news
stories where someone got stabbed just because he walked into the stabber and said excuse me.
(4) Which leads me to my next point: I don’t know why, but some of my dreams involve being in an open boat at sea during a typhoon. I hope never to confront
these circumstances as I like life despite its myriad annoyances. I also don’t particularly relish the idea of drowning, though I admit I’ve never really
tried it, so that’s only one guy’s opinion.
(5) Since I try to avoid potentially fatal circumstances whenever possible, I hope I never actually have to find out whether I’d put my most noble principles
to the test!
John D. Coveleski
**23. This is an ultimate choice scenario. One that most of us will never face, however, over the centuries from earliest times to present, too many of us have and will find ourselves tested in this very God forsaken situation. I know that when I find I am being tested in a lesser potentially life threatening situation and it is a matter of principles or convenience, that sorely I will admit that my choice will depend upon some of my other lesser qualities or physical attributes. Like mood, patience, do I feel well and am I strong at the time, who I am with and more, sadly. Yes, I do have principles and I do believe they are important and I try to tell others of their necessity and even try to impart them to my fellow man. However, in writing out this short note, I realize how situational my resolve to live by them truly is.
On this stories ultimate choice scenario, I’d hope I would stand with the other men and not take the easy way out. Also, and saying here that because I am not blind, but as a sighted person I would and do strive to in all other situations of life try to be aware of a need for living by principles. Principles are one of those human qualities that separate us from the lower animals and the stronger we are with our principles, be they be built with a fairness to others in mind too, then we can be the more successful group of humans here on this planet.
Roger Engle UK