My Hard Lessons

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Lately, seems I’ve had a rash of being foolish when it comes to people. That’s how it feels, anyway. I try to believe the best, but the best is not what everyone is willing to give. Sometimes, people are deceitful. Sometimes, they will take advantage. Sometimes, they are not trustworthy. So, what am I supposed to learn, and why do I feel like such a dope?

We’ve been involved, as most know, with a man who has taken advantage of the fans of Knights of the Dinner Table, ourselves, and many others. At one time, I thought of him as a friend. At one time, he had me convinced that he was a sweetheart, a misunderstood guy with problems, but also a lot of talent. I still think he has talent, but, sadly, it’s marred by his inability to tell the truth or to be honest about anything, and his insatiable appetite for money (and his willingness to trample people to get it). I won’t go into more detail here. I’ve already said plenty about him, but it’s just part of my story here.

During the last few months, we’ve been involved with a man we hired to put in some concrete areas at our house. Talking to him on the telephone, he was a personable, friendly guy who really seemed eager to work. He talked about his kids, and how he was going to give us a good deal. He came out, did a minimal amount of work that wasn’t even done right, took a chunk of money and never came back. He had two funerals in those months, and excuse after excuse not to come back. When he eventually called to get the inspector to come out to our house so we could proceed, I have no idea what he was thinking.

The inspector took one look and said it was criminal what this guy was doing. He told us we needed to fire him and take him to court to get our money back. He told us we would win if we did. It’s not something I like doing, but, my husband and I have to do what we have to do. We’ve had to hire someone else and that person needs to be paid. So, now we have had to play hardball and the fellow isn’t too happy about it. Turns out he is also a convicted felon, of at least two crimes in Florida. So much for my being able to judge who’s a good person or not.

It’s a real struggle for me to keep from writing everyone off and not ever trusting myself, or anyone else again. But, that isn’t me. It sure would be easier. But, it wouldn’t be better.

Yes, I have learned some lessons. Hard ones. Not all of them are negative. I’ve learned that just because someone seems nice, doesn’t mean they are. I’ve learned that I do have a right to question the honesty of people without being a terrible, mean-hearted person. I’ve also learned that it isn’t all me. I’ve learned to stop blaming myself for everything that happens. People who rip people off are jerks. That’s not my fault. It’s theirs. I’ve also learned that I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of people thinking that just because I try to be kind and loving that I should just be willing to put up with anything. Wrong. Not any more. You need me to run an errand for you? Sure thing. You want me to buy your stories hook, line and sinker? Give me a good reason, and don’t lie to me. I hate being lied to more than anything. Well, it’s up there at the top of my pet peeves anyway.

So, I guess this is a notice to future liars, cheats and people who feel entitled to steamroll over people like me — take a hike. Better yet, how about taking some responsibility? How about changing your life? How about making amends? I still hope these people will change, get better lives and stop hurting people. But, that doesn’t mean I’m responsible for helping them do that. That is on them. It’s between them and God.

I’ve learned another thing. There are way more wonderful people in my life than crappy ones. But, the crappy ones sure do sour the experience. I can’t let them though. And, I won’t. Yes, I will fight back. But, you are not my entire life. I have a life, and in spite of the traumas and obstacles that I’ve faced, it is a good one. I have wonderful, loving friends and family. I have people I can trust completely. I have a support system, and it is a great one. I’ve got a husband I love, who is extremely capable and creative. He knows what to do to handle people like these, and he does it with a positive attitude. I admire that.

In the end, yes, I have been ripped off and shaken up. But, money is not all there is in life, and it can be made again. People who are dishonest can never know what it’s like to have friends that they can trust, however. They burn through them like trash, because that is how they treat them, and that is how they think of them. Then, they wonder why they are lonely. So, I still have to remind myself that hard lessons can be learned, mistakes can be recovered from, and life will go on. I just have to keep my head up, my eyes and ears open, and my mind awake. To my real friends, I know who you are. To the liars, cheats and thieves out there? Move on along. This girl has stopped playing your game.

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