The Cure Can Be Fatal
by Jake Block
“As if you would call a physician, that is thought good for the cure of the disease you complain of but is unacquainted with your body, and therefore may put you in the way for a present cure but overthroweth your health in some other kind; and so cure the disease and kill the patient.”
You may know that I have rehabbed houses over the years, and am in the endgame stages of my final rehab, being a 1277 sq ft ranch-style house next door that was the home of a relative we cared for until she died earlier this year. She had Alzheimer’s disease, so we knew she would need more and more help as the years passed, and so it was. As her needs grew, our level of assistance grew, until at last, we faced medical problems that we were unable to tend to, and she retired to a skilled nursing facility for the last year of her life. Upon her passing, we contracted with our friend and expert contractor to assist in the rehab of that home, as I don’t do electrical work, plumbing or other things that can and will destroy the home if not done right. He’d worked with us before, resulting in my current home which is, in a word, comfortable.
Now, as we know, time brings changes, and this once steady and reliable contractor changed over the course of three years, since the completion of my home. I tended to give him some slack, as he was also a personal friend. We had seen him through divorce, illness, death, and lean times and I looked upon him as sometimes a brother, and sometimes as the son I never had. I ignored his eccentricities, as they had no real impact on me… I don’t give a rat’s ass about a person’s politics or religion, so long as they keep me out of it and don’t have a need to interject it into every conversation and aspect of my life. He was smart enough to avoid sending the stupid memes to my computer, sharing them with me as he did a hundred other sites. Our relationship was amicable. “Friends with benefits,” you might say, and his benefit was that I cut him slack. That was probably when the disease of overfamiliarity took hold.
He began to cut corners. Usually I would just step in and make a fix. I’m not above swinging a hammer or sawing a board. I might not know what a thing is technically called, but I know how to set a miter saw and I know how to countersink screws… and I know how to saw and set sinks into counters. Yep. I’m a jack of all trades at times and it’s served me well. So it wasn’t a real problem when he began to cut a corner from time to time. I just smoothed it out and we moved on. But, knowing this, the house soon began to have fewer and fewer corners, and the ones that were left became critical, and demanded attention to detail. So, I sat down with my friend the contractor and let him know my concerns. Friend or not, I was footing the bill for this property that, once sold, will become part of my funds for a comfortable retirement in the how-many-soever years I have left.
Words to the wise being often sufficient, he was either not as wise as he had appeared, or he needed words of greater sufficiency.
Friend or employee, business is business, and if there is no meeting of the minds, there is no contract in law or in social acquaintance. If one fails to function as a contractor or a friend, the ties that bind, be they financial or emotional in base can and will be severed when the cost of keeping either is too high. So, in the end, I ended up terminating my contractor and my friend, because each and the same had dishonored me and our agreements in “failure to perform,” in legal parlance; and where their association at one time benefitted us both, they had become a disease of angst and consternation that had to be amputated from my life. In doing so, they ceased to be a stressor in my life that had abandoned their purpose and negated their benefits in my life. To cure the situation, they had to be sacrificed… cut free, so that I could continue without them.
This was a simple tableau from life that repeats itself thousands upon thousands of times per day, per month and per year, and in each case there are only two options. One must choose to accept the dysfunctional nature of an unsatisfactory alliance, or one must ultimately choose to terminate that alliance, so that they can then move forward again. Business/client, client/client, friend/friend, kin to kin or husband to wife. These can all be beneficial and nurturing for all involved, so long as each plays their role respectfully, and honors their commitments. When this arrangement fails, it can bring only stress, anger and enmity. Better to separate and save dignity, if not the alliance. It’s easier to get somewhere quickly with less baggage to carry.
The message is the same for so called friends, contractors, and on up to Representatives, Senators, Presidents and everything in between. You have value because of what you can do in support of our lives and our well being, but if you fail to come through on your promises and responsibilities, you CAN be replaced. It applies to you, and it damned sure applies to me.