After I typed the title of this post, I did a Google search on this old saying wanting to know who first said it. It came from baseball manager Leo Durocher in 1939. Now Leo was talking about the game of baseball, but those words he said also apply now to men in general that are too nice.
Actually, what should be said is that “Nice people finish last.” There are plenty of nice women out there too that try to help others and get taken advantage of. Yes, that’s what I think sometimes when I’m just trying to be helpful, trying to be nice to someone. Those people who aren’t so nice see “niceness” as a form of weakness—something they can use to their benefit.
That piece I wrote here last week about not loaning a neighbor a spatula is sort of an example of trying to toughen up with some people around me who always want something. It’s like being approached for a cigarette when walking down the street. People know I’m nice about it. They’ll take advantage of that fact over and over again.
This constant giving away of cigarettes or neighbors wanting forks or spatulas aren’t the only examples of me wanting to do away with this nice guy image. Let me tell you about three encounters I had last week with some tenants in the building where I live in downtown Covington, Kentucky. I swear to god this is true.
Monday, 10:30 p.m. An upstairs neighbor knocks on my door. He’s a big, mean looking “kid” and knows it. I was just getting ready to go to bed. That was of no concern to him. He wanted me to give him my password to my internet service. Yes, he wanted this password to get his internet service for free and to let me pay for it. Lying, I said I wasn’t sure what the password was—that my son had set everything up. There is no doubt in my mind he’ll be back at some point wanting to know if I’ve found out my password.
Wednesday, 1:40 a.m. I’m in bed when I hear someone knocking on my door. I asked “Who is it?” It was a tenant on the third floor. I opened my door. She wanted to know if I had a pair of scissors she could borrow. Like an idiot, I gave her the scissors. She still hasn’t given them back.
Saturday, 3:30 a.m. Of course I’m in bed when I hear a knocking on my door. It was another upstairs neighbor, a young girl very drunk smoking a cigarette. Know what she wanted? The minutes on her cell phone were up and she wanted to use my phone to call her boyfriend. Yes, Mr. Nice Guy let her do it.
Again, I want to be the nice guy but I’m realizing if you don’t set limits, you’re going to get walked on and used. Changes are in order.
To the tenant here who wants the password to my internet service, I’m going to say “pay for your internet.” If this big, mean kid wants to get physical about it, I can always use my walking cane as a weapon.
After I get done writing this post, I’m going upstairs and pay a visit to the lady who wanted my scissors. I’m getting them back.
The next time that drunken young girl wants to borrow my cell phone; I’m going to tell her to go find a phone booth. There has to be a few left up there on Madison Avenue. If there’s not, she can always send a letter.
I’m gonna try and stick with this, folks. It’s time to get a backbone. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
(Photo from eatyourcareer.com)