After careful observation and much thought, I have determined that there are exactly three types of people (of course, I could be lying . . . I might not have thought about this at all, I might just be making this up off the top of my head because Rob, the Tiny Dictator, commanded me to write something . . . or even worse, there might actually be five or six types of people, and I might be withholding them from you because I want to dramatically reveal them at a later date).
Actually, I will come clean. I have given this a little bit of thought. Fifteen or twenty minutes. It's not the Theory of Relativity, but it is something, and it was inspired by Hurricane Sandy. In honor of the Storm Gods, and the people that lost their lives, houses, power, cars, trees, and perishable goods to these Angry Storm Gods, I will call the Three Types of People That You Meet During Hurricane Sandy: Helpers, Complainers, and Looters.
Helpers are also known as Genuinely Good People. These are people that actually think about others without prompting. My wife falls into this category. Immediately after the hurricane, she was cleaning out closets in order to find sheets and blankets to donate, and she bought a bunch of spring water at Wal-Mart and then gave it away . . . despite the fact that we had a boil water advisory in our town. Despite the fact that the apocalypse was near. These are the kind of people who are always cooking things for sick and bereaved people. My wife is constantly baking shit, and it's never for me and the boys. It's always for the secretaries at her school -- who were so helpful with all the laminating she had to do!-- or for the custodians -- who helped her out with her gardening club! And now the landscaping in the front of the school looks beautiful!
It's hard to live with a Genuine Helper. You often feel like a selfish putz. Also, it's hard to be around freshly baked goods that aren't specifically designated for your consumption.
All those linemen from across our great nation that rushed to New Jersey and New York to help rebuild the power grid after the storm are Helpers. All the folks that invited us over for dinner, alcohol, heat and light when our power was out also fit into this category.
My advice about these people? If you've got a problem, don't ask a Helper what to do. They never give you the answer you want.
For example: My friend needs a ride to the airport, but my son peed in his bed last night, and I didn't get a good night's sleep because I had to clean him up and change the sheets. I don't really feel like driving him all the way to Newark. What should I do?
If you ask a Helper this question, she won't even give you a straight answer. She'll just look at you for a long time, and then say something like: "What if you really needed a ride to the airport?" Helpers are brutal.
Then there are the Complainers. Often the Complainers are trying to be Good People, but they need a lot of prompting. I fit into this category. In the end, I usually do the right thing, but it takes some time. Helpers do the right thing when no one is looking. Complainers take a nap when no one is looking, and then when they hear a Helper coming, they get up and start doing the dishes.
We heard some serious complaining during this hurricane. People were vocally pissed about the dark and the cold and their lack of access to the internet and cable. They would usually append a quick, "but I'm thankful I still have my house and everyone is safe" to the end of their whining, but then they would get right back to it. I am proud to say that for once in my life I was on the less whingey side of this continuum. I credit this to no particular heroic characteristic of mine, but simply to the fact that the hurricane didn't inconvenience me all that much. I love the cold; I normally go to bed insanely early; I don't watch much TV; and I can do my two favorite hobbies in the dark: drink beer and play the guitar. My hurricane schedule wasn't all that different than my regular schedule.
For all their shortcomings, Complainers are often funny. Think Woody Allen. He might not help you survive the hurricane, but he'd still be a blast to hang with.
The last category is people who are downright evil and don't give a shit. They are the Looters. Helpers never want to descend to this, but Complainers often think about it. They wonder: what if I stopped giving a fuck and just started looting? It might be a lot of fun. I might be missing out. Usually, there is a Helper around to derail this train of thought, but every once in a while . . .
I'm going to wrap this up now. While every else in town is back to work, my school is still powerless. So I'm going to use this time wisely and learn how to use my three new iPads. By the way -- totally unrelated -- but does anyone know how to crack an iPad passcode?