One day, Ted was waiting for his business partner George, who was perpetually late. When he finally arrived, Ted reminded him that he had made a promise to be on time today, as they had vital things to discuss in a now short time. Ted said he felt let down.
“Aw come on!” George responded. “Lighten up! I may not always be on time, but I’m never late!” he laughed at his own joke.
Ted was not amused. If he added up all the half-hours he’d waited for George it would probably amount to several days! But George was unperturbed. “Anyway, it’s not my fault. I set my alarm and was ready to go this morning when the rain just came chucking down! Man, did you see it?! My car was parked a ways up the road, and I would have got drenched, so I had to wait.”
“What happened to umbrellas?” Ted inquired.
“Oh, I couldn’t find one, and anyhow I don’t remember promising to be on time.. did I really?”
“Yes,” Ted said, “you did. But if you can’t be sincere with yourself, how can I expect you to be sincere with me?”
“The trouble with you is, you speak in riddles too much! What the heck has sincerity got to do with it anyways?!” George was losing patience. So was Ted, who just shot him a quiet look under raised eyebrows.
George continued; “It’s just that sometimes the “me” that wants to get up early is not the same “me” who just won’t cooperate and get out of bed! We all have several parts to us – you do too, don’t you? I mean, sometimes we have internal conflicts, like when it comes to keeping a secret for instance. One “I” makes a promise to keep a secret, then after maybe a few glasses of wine, a second “I” urges the person to just tell his wife and then forgets to tell her it’s a secret. I mean, that happens to everyone, right?”
“Are you referring to our discussion last week, when we agreed to keep that highly confidential information, ahem, ‘highly confidential’?”
“My wife and I had a few drinks and it had been on my mind and it was so incredible, I just had to tell her! Then, well, she told her brother and… “ he trailed off, but got quickly back on track. “But it was good man, because her brother had a few suggestions that I think we should seriously consider – it may make all the difference to our decision about the merger!” he became instantly excited. Ted was silent. George went on; “Anyway, it’s hardly my fault. You should have made it clearer.”
Somehow, this was the last straw for Ted. Enough was enough.
“George,” he began, “I could not have made it clearer. But listening to you reminds me of an ancient teaching that says If one of your “I”s offends you, pluck it out. If you cannot make yourself agree internally, you will continue to justify all your dysfunctional actions by blaming circumstances or other people. It is obvious that last week, my “I” met with another of your “I”s than the one I went into business with. All of this just tells me we must dissolve our partnership. I’m done.” And with that, he stood up and walked away.
Inspired by “Shooting the Monkey” by Colin Turner