Kill the martyr! Kill the martyr!

By Otto
September 27, 2006

Your pretty Mir is busy. Deal with it.

She is very good at many things. She is an excellent mom. She is a fine cook. She has a wonderfully wry sense of humor. She is occasionally frighteningly bad at Scrabble, but that’s another post entirely. She is fiercely independent, almost to a fault.

You fine readers, you know she’s had a rough couple of weeks. The start of the school year was supposed to allow her to get back to a “normal” schedule – get the kidlets up and off to school, then write furiously until mid-afternoon and be able to spend the latter part of the day with them.

Oddly timed appointments and odd errands have sort of wrecked her schedule. Plus, she volunteered to take on a few extra projects, things good parents and better friends do. One of these, editing and designing the kidlets’ school newsletter, consumed much of Wednesday and put her a little behind.

Even though she likes to poke fun at my little quirks, every now and then one of hers bugs me. It’s that independence streak, it worries me. I’m an old newspaper guy by trade, newspapering was one of the few things I was good at. I can write a bit and edit a bit and, you know, I can design pretty well. So when she got backed up, I offered to lend her a hand.

Insisting that this was her responsibility, she spent the day working on that blasted newsletter, scavenging (shudder) clip art from here and there to fill out the space … really, it kind of makes my skin crawl. (She says people want bad clip art; I know people expect it because it’s what they’ve been brainwashed into believing is an integral part of a newsletter.)

We all want to be good friends, we all want to be good partners. And that means we offer to help, we offer to lend a hand because that’s what we’re supposed to do. It also means we accept that hand, that we acknowledge we cannot take on everything life hurls at us on our own.

Mir is – right this very second – screaming “Hypocrite!” at the top of her lungs. I am a thousand miles away and my ears are ringing.

I suck at accepting help. And I never, ever, ask for it. I, too, am stupidly independent.

I am a wicked good martyr.

But I want to be a better friend, I want a better balance in my relationships. I want to lean on others – occasionally – because … because … well, I’m getting tired. And accepting a hand isn’t a sign of weakness, it doesn’t erode your pride. It doesn’t make you look weaker or less independent.

Partnerships involve a distribution of responsibilities, that’s what sets them apart from sole proprietorships. You have someone there to help.

It’s okay to accept help – it’s what friends, true friends, expect. It tells your partner that you trust them, that you have faith in their abilities.

Go be a better friend.

(And you know what they say: Friends help you move. Good friends help you move bodies.)


  1. chris

    Otto, I love you. You are wicked cool.

    But no one replaces pretty Mir and I refuse to deal with it.

  2. Jenn

    Wait, we get to help move a body? Cool! I’ll bring the gloves.

  3. Susan

    It’s not Mir’s body we’re moving, is it? Because that would be weird.

  4. Mir

    Susan, WOULD you move my body? Perhaps upstairs to my bed? That’d be swell, thanks.

    And Darling, I DID accept your help. I let you blog for me tonight (though I might not have if I’d known this was what you were going to write). ;)

  5. InterstellarLass

    The only good thing about that newsletter is that it won’t have any misspellings. I hate school newsletters. Especially if they take Mir away.

  6. Aubri

    I must admit, although I do love the Otto, it just isn’t the same without you pretty Mir! Do come back to us… won’t you?

  7. Pieces

    Crappy clip art is synonymous with newsletters. If I received any kind of publication from school without dreadful over-used art it would be proof that the earth has stopped rotating on its axis.

    Now, a man to blog for you AND hide the bodies? What could be better?

  8. Heather

    Aw, Otto is very sweet. If maybe a little too accurate. ;-) Take it easy, Miss Mir. You’re no good to us collapsed in a heap of exhaustion on the floor, eh?

  9. Horrible Warning

    Friends don’t let friends use clip art. You tell her Otto!

  10. birchsprite

    Ahhhhhhhh he’s a sweety!

  11. Gillian

    Sweet Otto. When I was first thunderstruck by my fellow 14 years ago I explained to him that I wasn’t good at relationships with men because I yada yada yada. His response was ‘If it is our relationship don’t we get to decide how it works?’

    You two will make your way to being willing to need one another even though that is scary. Bravo!

  12. She-Ra

    My then boyfriend, now hubby, once stayed up with me ALL NIGHT re-doing our ROTC newsletter/alumni-donation-solicitation-booklet to meet deadline after my original layout was rejected because of incorrect margins. Now that’s love!

    Let go and feel the love!

  13. Julie

    I think you’re going to have to let him have a go at the duvet cover now ;)

  14. Barb

    I used to do a clip art free newsletter for my weekly update to my kindergarten parents. Then my admin. told me it wasn’t “friendly” enough and it looked too much like a newspaper. Now my newsletter abounds with idiotic clips of talking pencils, waving books and holiday related bits of cuteness. Makes me want to gag, but makes my admin. very happy!

    See, this is why I can’t scrapbook either – I like things clean and simple, all the cutesy stuff annoys me!

  15. Bob

    Otto, you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Does the phrase “control freak” sound familiar? (I really like the german for this – kontrolentusiast!) Mir has single-handedly taken on Betty Crocker, Emily Post, Bill Buckley Jr., and Erma Bombeck and is less than satisfied if she isn’t hitting at least 750 against them.

    Lotsa luck, guy.

  16. Ben

    OMG I can’t breathe I’m laughing so hard.

    You two deserve each other. Really.

  17. Chris

    I’m with Julie, I say let him have a chance at the duvet cover. Good job Otto, you got my vote.

  18. Christina

    Those are some very good words of advice that I try very hard to remember when a friend offers to help me and my automatic response is “no thanks, I’m fine” when maybe I could really use some help.

  19. Ani

    Good job and excellent timing. And now I’m off to ask for some help.

  20. shannon

    I love what Gillian said about “‘If it is our relationship don’t we get to decide how it works?’”

  21. Jenn2

    Oh Otto…you are a wise man and worthy of our pretty, pretty Mir.

  22. ishouldbeworking

    Otto, Jenn & Susan-

    If you really want to move a body, I might be able to provide one (or two). Just sayin’…

  23. Daisy

    I think the saying is:
    A friend will bail you out of jail. A good friend will be sitting next to you saying, “Wow, that was fun!”

  24. Tug

    Do you have a brother? Or an uncle? Friend maybe? SINGLE please…just let me know. Thankssomuch.

  25. Suzanne

    I’d like to volunteer my husband’s Xwife’s body if you need one in particular!

  26. Cele

    Bodies, I’ve got one to offer for hiding.

    Now this whole thing leaves me with an image of Mir…and Otto…1,000 miles apart, wearing identical signs that say…

    “Ask me if I need HELP!”

    Mir’s has lovely unique artwork of a Mom pulling out her hair.

    Otto’s is done lovely neat lines, showing him sewing a duvet cover over a dead body.

  27. daysgoby

    Wouldn’t that make it “The Duvet Shroud”?

    sounds like killer fiction to me.

  28. daring one

    I say “keeper”.

  29. Kimberly

    Awww….Wow, Mir. That guy really loves you!

    (And I think he may have just proposed to you again.)

  30. Nothing But Bonfires

    Oh my god, a person goes to Cambodia and the next time she checks in, OTTO is blogging?! This is the best day ever!

  31. chris

    it sounds like the next da vinci code type thriller. it’s hard to ask for help, it’s hard to receive it even when you haven’t asked for it. the two of you will work it out!

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