Sunday, August 15, 2010

The "NO" Man

I go from "The Man with No Name" to the "NO man", we all need a NO man, or I guess in this politically correct world a NO person, in our lives. We all need that one person that we can turn to when what little power we possess has gone to our head, that can tell us "NO". Hopefully, this person is a friend, but that is not a pre-requisite. It could just be a colleague, or an passing acquaintance, though it is more likely to be a friend. It is the person that stops you just short of that ledge, the one that keeps you from walking into your bosses office drunk, and taking a piss on his/her desk. We all have to have one, I figure that if Hitler and Stalin had possessed a "NO" man the history of the world would be a lot different, maybe not better, but certainly different.

The NO man is the one that prevents us from getting so drunk on our own sense of power that we bludgeon someone to death with a package of frozen peas. It is a difficult task to be the NO man, and no many of us are cut out to do it. Most of us will agree with our friends ideas, no matter how insane they might be, because they are our friends, and we realize that they are harmless. Stalin was far, far, from fucking harmless. Few of us have the juice to tell our bosses "NO", and fewer still will try. After all, the economy is in the tank, and getting shit canned because you told the boss something they didn't want to hear is a little risky. Unless you have plans to emigrate to a foreign country, you had best just nod and smile at whatever foolishness your boss spouts.

However thankless the task, the NO man is a necessary character in our own little passion play, we need a sense of balance to keep us from thinking we are much more brilliant than we actually are. Being told Yes all the time has, in my opinion, a chilling effect on our moral fiber. If everyone agrees with us all the time, then why the hell am I not ruling this planet? If my ideas are so "spot on" then why do I need to limit myself to thinking about how best to save money on staples, I should be plotting a coup in the Central African Republic.

We all need to be reined in at one time or another lest we become like a runaway horse and we run ourselves to death. This is the task of the "No" man, the one man, woman, or child, that you can turn to and get that "honest" opinion that brings you crashing back down to earth. The one person that reminds you that you are mortal, and you should probably keep your big mouth shut for a change. Unless the NO man is extremely lucky, their role will not make them overly popular, and they have to be careful not to cross the line between NO man, and doomsayer. It is a fine line, and many a NO man has lost his position by crossing it at the wrong time. A certain, high level of respect is necessary in order to be a NO man, people don't take No as an answer with grace, and the NO man has to be certain that his opinion will be taken into account. It is tricky, it is tough, and it is necessary, but it might not get you invited to christmas dinner that often.

If you are lucky enough to have one, be careful with them. Because a good NO man is nearly impossible to replace, they were probably hard to find, and they will be a bugger to replace. Any damn fool can be a Yes man, but it takes a special type of person to be a NO man. We should all have one in our lives, maybe two, but if you have more than two then you might just be surrounded by a bunch of suicidal maniacs. Remember, NO is a powerful tonic that can cure a lot of problems, but drink too much of it, and you become paralyzed. Trust your NO man with things you wouldn't tell other people, but realize their job, their raison d'etre is to tell you not what you want to hear, but to tell you "NO!", try not to hold it against them.

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