Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, August 25, 2017


That’s what my father would say when someone was being too helpful: “Thank you TOO much.”

He brought it on himself, that problem of people who are TOO helpful, by being blind. He looked like he needed help. Often, he did. But he was the world’s most independent man. He would rather walk off the edge into the abyss than have someone lead him away.

Now it’s happening to me, and I bring it on myself, too. I’m not blind, but I do look like I need help. There isn’t much I can do about that.

So when I was wandering through the Indiana University Union Building yesterday, the middle-aged book store manager decided he would help me. It was a good thought on his part. I looked out of place. You don’t get many people my age in there, especially one who staggers while he wanders.

But I have been wandering in there for 62 years, longer than he’s been alive. Sure, I can never remember which floor the Tudor Room or the Starbucks is on, but it makes no difference. There are escalators and stairways. I enjoy wandering until I find the right place, enjoy watching the hurrying students, remembering when I could hurry, and had to.

He asked if he could help. I said I was just going to the Tudor Room. He decided to direct me. I patiently listened and thanked him. But I wasn’t going there to eat, just to check their hours. So he saw me again, later, in another hall and decided I was lost so wanted to give me Tudor Room directions again. I said, “No, now I’m on my way to Starbucks.” So he gave me directions to Starbucks.

I actually went down to the basement and out the back door and walked clear around that whole big building so I would not encounter him again. That was fun.

None of this was a problem. I had time. Sometimes, though, you don’t have time. The people who are TOO helpful, who give you help not only when you don’t need it but when you don’t want it, just get in your way and slow you down.

But, you know, they are still better than the ones who get in your way and slow you down on purpose, who want to make life miserable for you, because you are the wrong color or gender or nationality or religion, who not only want to give you directions to hell but want to lead you there.

So, hurrah for those who give too much help. Thank you TOO much.


Yes, I know I promised to stop writing for a year while I try to be a real Christian instead of just a professional Xn. But this isn’t very professional, is it?

I tweet as yooper1721.

Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her new book is What Goes Up. It’s published in paper, audio, and electronic, and available from B&N, Amazon, etc.

Speaking of writing, my most recent book, VETS, about four homeless and handicapped Iraqistan veterans, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Powell’s, etc. It’s published by Black Opal Books.

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