Prove Your Humanity

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When I’ve been signed out of the WordPress site for too long, it sometimes asks me to fill in all the blanks again and then it wants me to “prove” my humanity by doing math.

Personally, I don’t think math is a good test for proving my humanity. I’ve seen trick horses on television add two and two, you know. Not only that, I do all my math by computer and calculator now. It’s been so long since I’ve done any real math without the help of a machine. It’s funny, though, that it’s a computer that wants me to prove my humanity using math.

So, I’m just saying, maybe proving my humanity ought to involve some other tests.

Lately, it’s hard to tell how any of us are proving our humanity. I just read an article that suggests that we are happier and live longer when we don’t watch or listen to the news. And I get it. I think that’s probably true, although I’m not sure that giving up being informed will make for a better world, even if it means that we’re all a little bit more miserable while gaining that information.

It’s a rough one. I want to be happy. I want to live a long time. And I want to understand what’s happening in the world. I guess I just think that being a member of this planet requires that I pay some attention to the condition of it and the condition of its people.

Here we are again, back to proving our humanity.

When I was a kid, we used to collect coins in boxes shaped like milk cartons. I think it was a Lenten practice. The money, ostensibly, went to children in third world countries who needed basic living supplies, food, water, clothing… milk?

This was the mid-1970’s in the Midwest. We all drank milk then. We stood in line in the cafeteria to pick it up. Blessed and joyful were the days when, unexpectedly, we found we could maybe choose chocolate milk or even orange drink (not juice…) And who wouldn’t want to choose that instead?

My last name, Doll, meant I’d be closer to the front of the line. Not everyone would be able to choose on those days, but usually, I would. The cafeteria ladies would run dry of chocolate milk or orange drink way before the end of the line. Most days I took the treat, some days I didn’t. I remember it well, looking to the back of the line and thinking, maybe I don’t need this today. Maybe someone else needs it or wants it more.

I was selectively altruistic like that. Was that proving my humanity? Was putting coins in the charity box morning after morning proving my humanity?

If I reach out to you, if I give to you, if I sacrifice…is this how we prove our humanity?

Now, right now, today…how do we prove our humanity?

I don’t know the answer to this. Like usual, I’m just asking questions here. Perhaps there is no one right answer. Perhaps there is no wrong answer. It’s something I’ll ponder, though, especially in this sour election season. I hope I can prove my humanity well to my fellow humans. I hope it does not require math.

3 comments:

  1. I think the word is “ostensibly.”
    Language is proof of humanity. So is not being obnoxious about spelling, but I haven’t advanced that far yet.

  2. I can’t really say why, but your reflections always make me feel better. Having read your book (wonderful), I look forward to finding new posts here from you. A light in the world. Thank you.

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