The Curse of the Should-Have-Dones

I do not know the attractive couple entering the above photo from the left side of the frame, but that is okay, as I did not take the photo, and this is not about them.

If I had a steadier hand with the photo-editing Clone Stamp tool, the two of them would instead be an oddly tall bush of purple flowers or another stack of blue Peroni umbrellas or two more versions of the bicycle that they are walking towards.

My hand is not that steady with the photo-editing tools, so their brief moment together (are they still together?) was spared awkward editing. May the rest of their lives together or the remainder of their lives apart continue to be free of terrible editing decisions or (yikes!) deletion by a heavy-handed photo perfectionist like me.

But the photo above sets the scene for us: It is May 2014. My beloved, Jen, and I were eating brunch at the table under the Peroni umbrella that is all the way to the right in our photo above. We are at DePasquale Square on Federal Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, in an outdoors restaurant called Caffe Dolce Vita. After brunch, we walk to about where the above picture was taken, we turn around, and she takes this photo of me:

providence riB

I know: Yeeck! (My beautiful girlfriend finds me attractive and that is all I need to know about me and my face.) Two things: One, with spinal muscular atrophy type 3 or 4, which is what I have, sitting on a hard but rounded surface like the fountain I am sitting on there instead feels for me like I am sitting in the doorway of an open plane sending troops into a war zone and the Sarge is about to kick me out even though I do not yet have my parachute strapped on, so I am sitting on my cane for stability, and this sensation is my constant companion; and two, there is a man behind me who is strolling along the same rounded fountainside surface as if it is wider than a mere tightrope … and he has a child in his arms! Thus, here is a third thing: I myself can not safely carry a bunch of books in my arms across a room with a flat floor without looking like I am in a poor man’s production of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” So I do not carry children. Dammit, he should not be walking along the fountain like that with his child, was my first reaction, and then I remembered that others are not me, and they have physical balance talents that I now lack.

He should not be … is a phrase that instead should be offered up as “I don’t think you should,” which really always “should” be given as, “I don’t think I need to say anything with my outdoors voice.” So I did not say anything and I returned to gazing at my girlfriend.

The worst four-word sequence in the English language: “You should not have … .”

“‘You should not have’ shown your child the sun-dappled fountain up close as if the world was his and he can touch the sun itself in your safe arms.”

Should-have’s are a curse. A curse of concern. They are a curse in that they transform loved ones into strangers and strangers into loved ones. You hear it from loved ones and strangers alike—loved ones as if they are strangers: “I didn’t think you could do it,” and strangers as if they are as close as loved ones: “I didn’t think you ought to have tried”—about their ability to foresee your future failure or your imperfect success.

I think I respect “I told you so” from people more, because, if it is spoken truthfully, perhaps the speaker had indeed offered advice in the recent past that I had ignored or implemented poorly. “You should not have done” is you blaming me for your impotence at controlling my most recent past.

I bring this up in order to confess that too often, I am that “concerned bystander” about to ex post facto say “Tsk” at someone about something they should not have done, but did do.

It was too bad when the father kicked me out of his way into the fountain. Who could have foreseen that?

* * * *
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The WordPress Daily Prompt for July 25, 2015, asks, “Tell us about something you know you should do … but don’t.”

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  1. LRose · July 25, 2015

    You want I should also take out the old people in the back too boss?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Relax · July 25, 2015


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anton Wills-Eve · July 25, 2015

    Having life long chronic illnesses as you and I do will always make us feel as you do in this blog. But though yours is physical and mine mental we still have the right to feel like getting even with life as you do here, Mark But only take your revenge on life, never people. They may be suffering as much as we are! Ciao. Anton

    Liked by 1 person

  4. loisajay · July 25, 2015

    And Jen didn’t get a picture of that!? Dammit–she should have….. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Johnny Blade · July 25, 2015

    Next time you take that cane and like a a pool hall king, poke his eye into his empty skull! How’s that?!!


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