Sometimes it’s Better Not to Take the Stairs

Dear Readers,

As many of you who work for federal and/or state agencies know, January 19th commemorated a very significant occasion: A Day Off Of Work. However, fewer of you are probably aware that this day off coincidentally coincided with a little federal holiday I like to call “Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

Martin Luther King Jr. is important, because it is the name of a very long street in the city in which I reside. But, I imagine, little did you know that there was once born a man who was named after that very street! That’s right, a man by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. was so taken with his street name that he wanted to give back to the community, and eventually became a highly influential leader in the Civil Rights movement.

They say that Martin Luther King, Jr. (the man, not the street) had a lot to say. And they’re right. Any time I’m feeling like life has let me down, like very recently when I went to Fred Meyer and found that the Tillamook mint chocolate chip ice cream was out of stock, I like to read one of his inspiring quotes. His words never fail to help me put life in perspective and remember that the Ben & Jerry’s mint chocolate chip is just a few feet farther down the aisle.

However, I was recently dismayed to stumble upon a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. that was not only devoid of wisdom, but also a health hazard. “Take the first step in faith,” he said. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

This is exactly the kind of misinformation that gets clumsy people killed. I would by no means classify myself as clumsy (but everyone else would), but sure, I’ve had the occasional broken right arm, broken right wrist, broken left arm, broken knee, and concussion. And I have to say, if I had waited to ensure that there was in fact a staircase following that first step, I would have witnessed the drop-off and surely wouldn’t have fallen over that darn cliff!

Suggesting that one take a first step prior to confirming a staircase is kind of like suggesting that one dive into a swimming pool before verifying that there is water inside. (And let me tell you, I was none too pleased by the outcome of that dive.)

So, Readers, while I am delighted to teach you about the great man named after the great street, let this be a cautionary tale that a man can be great, and say great things, which can be great to hear, but may also say things that are not so great, and may grate on you if you do not interpret them with great caution, greatly. Remember that a staircase is only as good as the sum of its stairs, and that any staircase with only one stair should surely be avoided in favor of the elevator.

–Troi out

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