Decisions, decisions, decisions…
Welcome to yet another democratic decision making moment of WFME’s You Decide, where you (the reader)…read. And us (the writer) write. And somewhere in between there’s a mutual understanding that results in positive communicational exposition, cooperative role-playing and over-the-top jockeying, in order to come to a conclusion that will, eventually, bring waring tribes of vocabulary goodness into one like-minded hive of thought.
Aw, screw it. Let’s talk about fish.
As you’ve seen before, WFME’s original and trademarked feature “You Decide” gives you two choices. Neither is necessarily correct, and both have their positive and negative spins. Personally, here at WFME, we like to choose one and then watch the wolves rip apart each other.
Today we’d like to address a famous saying that’s been around at least as long as the Back to the Future trilogy. It’s an ancient Chinese proverb that goes a little something like this: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Which would you rather do?
Personally, if given the choice between giving a man a fish or teaching a man to fish, I’d always end up giving a man a fish instead of teaching a man to fish. This, of course, stems from the fact that I honestly don’t have the time to try and teach a man to fish, not to mention the fact that I’m not a huge fan of live fish bait and lures. Now, I haven’t taught people to fish in the past, so I must come clean about that — but I have tried to teach my mother how to upload pictures to Shutterfly and then print them out on her printer, and it came dangerously close to ruining our relationship forever. I also have tried to teach the “older set” how to go to my blog website — but it seems that no one outside of our generation can figure out how to type a URL into the address bar of a browser. Everyone’s Google this and Google that and it doesn’t help when you’re trying to teach someone how to just go to one single website.
The frustration has overwhelmed on more than twelve occasions, and so based on my experience here, I’d probably have to opt out of teaching a man to fish. Teaching someone to surf the web is, in my opinion, one of the easiest skills to teach — and yet it’s not. Imagine trying to teach a man to fish? Too many variables, too much time, and you’d probably have to get up at like 5 in the morning just to get the jump on the fish. And the water. And the rental boats. And the lures. And so on and so on.
What a nightmare, teaching a man to fish.
Not to mention, if you ended up getting paired with one of those “just let me try to do it myself before you teach me how to do it” kind of guys, you’re in for the looooong haul if you know what I mean. Please — if you ask me to teach you how to fish, let me teach you how to fish. Don’t ask me to teach you how to do something, then let me come out there with the intent on teaching you how to do it, and then you stand there and suggest you may already have an inkling of how to do it in the first place. That’s just wrong, a waste of my time, and I’m not having it.
But giving a man a fish?
I go to the supermarket on a pretty regular basis. When I go there, I pick up everything from water to cereal to milk to eggs to fruit and vegetables…and I often walk past the produce section on my way to the sparkling water aisle. It would be so easy for me to just pause, ask for a fish, and then bring it home in preparation of giving it to said man.
The only complication, of course, would be just when I’d be meeting said man to give previously aforementioned man the previously aforementioned fish. Fish goes bad fast, my friends. In fact, you usually only have about three or four days in which to cook or freeze those mothers. The hope, of course, is that I could previously schedule the fish hand-off with the man before going to the store, then I’d be able to succesfully prepare for the exchange. But if for some reason the man had to reschedule after I’d already bought the fish I was going to hand off to him… Well…
I’d end up with a smelly fridge, filled with one smelly fish.
But when I weigh the pros and cons of both situations, the giving the man a fish choice always seems to come out on top. In a nutshell, I look generous (cause I gave a man a fish), I look patient (because I waited a little while until the man’s schedule allowed for me to give him the fish), and I appear to be a lover of protein and healthy fish oils (since I chose to give a man a fish instead of a box of Double-Stuff Oreos). The cons, of course, only pretty much have to do with the fact that I might end up stuck with a smelly fish or that people might not want to hang out with me on the day in question (the fish hand-off), since most people steer clear of fish delivery folks. But that’s it.
However, when doing the pro/con list for teaching a man to fish — the cons pretty much outweigh the pros. I mean, there are no pros. So I get to teach some guy to fish. I don’t even get to wear those A River Runs Through It water pants/overall things. I get to drag my ass up early, meet some guy at a dock, rent a boat (which I’m assuming I have to pay for since I’m the guy teaching the man to fish), sit in a boat for hours with raw bait, and potentially have a frustrating day on my hands. What’s the positive? What are the pros? So I taught a guy to fish? So he can feed himself forever? All sea life is supposed to be extinct in the next fifty years anyway, so it’s really a moot point.
I’d give the guy a fish.
That’s the way to go.