Human Condition 123117 (do not intellitune)

A long time ago, in another part of the world, work was accomplished with the aid of donkeys. Because it is not the nature of donkeys to work with the enthusiasm and joie de vivre, some ingenious soul came up with the idea of attaching a carrot to a pole and suspending it so the carrot would dangle in space ahead of the animal.

We are told the ploy worked well, and I can see that it would, because it works just as well today.

If you went around asking people, I suspect you would find we all consider ourselves smarter than jackasses. But, the simple fact is, most of us get up each day and go about our daily tasks because there is a carrot dangling in the space just ahead.

Different carrots for different people, you understand. Not all people will perform for the same carrot.

Retirement is a carrot a great many people keep their eye on. With talk of changes in Social Security and the possible extension of the age one must be before retirement benefits can be obtained, a lot of people are seeing that carrot tied to a longer stick.

Individuals and cities have become addicted to easily obtainable government-brand carrots. When changes come, as they surely will, it will be a sad day for donkeys all around.

Many have forgotten, or never knew, how to set goals and work toward achieving them.

I think the real tragedy is not that a lot of us plod through life with our eyes on some particular carrot emulating donkeys. Most people do manage to figure out how to close the gap and get what they want.

We should save our tears for the people who awaken to the realization that their particular carrot or goal will always be just out of reach. These are the people who need support, understanding and help.

Sadly, most people go through life concentrating so hard on what they want, they don’t see that giving and receiving assistance can put everyone further down the road.

Here’s a suggestion: How about volunteering to help a child learn to read? Your small act of kindness could very well change or even save a life.

It can be just as rewarding to help another attain a goal as to reach one of your own. Try it. We’re smarter than jackasses, aren’t we?

— Hinojosa lives in Baton Rouge


Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to The Human Condition at features@theadvocate.com or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. There is no payment, and stories will be edited. Authors should include their city of residence.