Our hearing can play tricks on us. There are web sites and books devoted to misheard song lyrics, and Norm Crosby has a long and successful comedy career as the “Master of the Malaprop”. Sometimes a foreign-born person’s accent causes an unintentional new phrase. I was waiting in an auto repair place and thought I heard an upset gentleman with a thick Eastern European accent say he was “tired of mistaken for granite”.
While “mistaken for granite” was an amusing take on “taken for granted”, it also had a deeper meaning. I have five very close friends who have been there for me since Lucy passed away. Like Lucy, these five people are loyal, supportive, generous, and hard-working. Those qualities also subject them to added stress at work because of toxic co-workers who are selfish and uncooperative, who have figured out that while there is no “I” in “TEAM”, there is a “ME”, and therefore everyone else is “MEAT”. That toxicity seems prevalent in workplaces, from small companies with a double-digit headcount to Fortune 500 companies with five- and six-figure head counts.
It is quite easy for someone taken for granted to be mistaken for granite. Granite is strong and can withstand tremendous pressure. It is durable and withstands weather extremes for centuries. But even as strong and durable as granite is, it can fracture under intense and prolonged pressure. Fissures allow water seepage that weakens the granite from the inside out. Repairing a granite monument or facade is very difficult and expensive.
The people who are routinely taken for granted are the ones who are the first to offer help, to listen, to support, and to comfort. They rarely ask for any recognition in return and put others first. That level of generosity comes at a price. It takes a lot of strength and sacrifice being there for people in need. Like a hewn block of granite, these people have incredible inner strength but that strength can erode or crack under pressure.
Many people are lucky enough to have one person like that in her or his life; I am blessed to have five. All five know I am ready to help no matter the size of the task, to listen, to support, and to comfort when required. Lucy taught me much about compassion and it reflects by the quality of my close friends. She knew four of my close friends and they loved her. I know my fifth friend would have loved her, too.
Please take a minute to thank the “mistaken for granite” person or persons in your life. More than likely, the response is something humble, but you will brighten that person’s day. The rock solid stability provided is priceless. Be extra nice to the “taken for granted” people. Those people have feelings and problems like any other person but are not apt to freely disclose what pressure he or she experiences on a daily basis. Altruistic people are a rarity and our society can ill afford to lose any more of them. As always, give your special someone a meaningful hug because you are blessed to have that person in your life.