Harry’s letter to his daughter:If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it. The truth is simply this: No one owes you anything. Significance How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life. No one owes you anything. It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel. When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be. It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more. When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything. No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you. No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either. Living your Life No one owes you anything. You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them. Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem. Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts. If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them. My Experience A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out —physically and emotionally — trying to collect them. No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do. That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want. And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for th
Well, sir, do you mean to remain there, commending my father’s taste in wine, or do you mean to accompany me to Ashtead?”“Set off for Ashtead at this hour, when I have been traveling for two days?” said Sir Horace. “Now, do, my boy, have a little common sense! Why should I?”“I imagine that your parental feeling, sir, must provide you with the answer! If it does not, so be it! I am leaving immediately!”“What do you mean to do when you reach Lacy Manor?” asked Sir Horace, regarding him in some amusement.“Wring Sophy’s neck!” said Mr. Rivenhall savagely.“Well, you don’t need my help for that, my dear boy!” said Sir Horace, settling himself more comfortably in his chair.
Dr. Bone Specialist came in, made me stand up and hobble across the room, checked my reflexes, and then made me lie down on the table. He bent my right knee this way and that, up and down, all the way out to the side and in. Then he did the same with my left leg. He ordered X rays then started to leave the room. I panicked. I MUST GET DRUGS."What can I take for the pain?" I asked him before he got out the door."You can take some over the counter ibuprofen," he suggested. "But I wouldn't take more than nine a day."I choked. Nine a day? I'd been popping forty. Nine a day? Like hell. I couldn't even go to the bathroom on my own, I hadn't slept in three weeks, and my normally sunny cheery disposition had turned into that of a very rabid dog. If I didn't get good drugs and get them now, it was straight to Shooter's World and then Walgreens pharmacy for me."I don't think you understand," I explained. "I can't go to work. I have spent the last four days with my mother who is addicted to QVC, watching jewelry shows, doll shows and make-up shows. I almost ordered a beef-jerky maker! Give me something, or I'm going to use your calf muscles to make the first batch!"Without further ado, he hastily scribbled out a prescription for some codeine and was gone. I was happy.My mother, however, had lost the ability to speak.
The sound of thunder awake me, and when I got up, my feet sank into muddy water up to my ankles. Mother took Buster and Helen to high ground to pray, but I stayed behind with Apache and Lupe. We barricaded the door with the rug and started bailing water out the window. Mother came back and begged us to go pray with her on the hilltop. "To heck with praying!" I shouted. "Bail, dammit, bail!"Mom look mortified. I could tell she thought I'd probably doomed us all with my blasphemy, and I was a little shocked at it myself, but with the water rising so fast, the situation was dire. We had lit the kerosene lamp, and we could see the walls of the dugout were beginning to sag inward. If Mom had pitched in and helped, there was a chance we might have been able to save the dugout - not a good chance, but a fighting chance. Apache and Lupe and I couldn't do it on our own, though, and when the ceiling started to cave, we grabbed Mom's walnut headboard and pulled it through the door just as the dugout collapsed in on itself, burying everything.Afterward, I was pretty aggravated with Mom. She kept saying that the flood was God's will and we had to submit to it. But I didn't see things that way. Submitting seemed to me a lot like giving up. If God gave us the strength to bail - the gumption to try to save ourselves - isn't that what he wanted us to do?