My lovely Bride and I were recently watching a rerun of an old TV show we enjoy. We relish it principally for the clever dialog. It espouses a philosophy to which we don’t subscribe and of which we’re not particularly fond. Still, we find it entertaining.
I mention it because of a line that was expressed a couple times in quick succession by two of the actors. They were conversing with one other in a heated tone when one of them said, “You’re not talking to the paperboy.” After furthering the discussion briefly, the other shot the same quip back at him.
We’re all so important.
As you have probably surmised, this barb was used because they were very sure of themselves. Each character was smugly implying that he had credentials, authority, and a great education. In short, each man was asserting to the other that he was important.
We see this type of attitude all over the place. We see it in big ways and small ways, but it’s all around us. Everybody is number one—numero uno. Few people seem willing to take a back seat to anyone else—for almost anything. Everyone’s opinion is worth more than anyone else’s, and by golly, everyone else better listen.
If you don’t think that’s true, check out Facebook sometime. Social media, in general, is a place where this attitude breaks forth like flowers in springtime. I have ceased to be amazed by it, and it can be really irritating.
Type the simplest, most innocent remark on your FB wall and see what happens. More often than not, someone will pounce on it. People seem to be like stalkers lying in wait. How dare you have an opinion that might differ from theirs?
How does the paperboy feel?
As I watched the aforementioned TV show, I wondered how the paperboy felt about being referred to in such a demeaning manner. The characters in that show obviously had a less-than-favorable view of paperboys. At the very least, they viewed themselves with a great deal more importance than they would ascribe to the daily deliverer of the printed news.
Truth be told, the paperboy is as important as the two narcissists in the TV show. He may not have the education, authority, or credentials the other two have, but he’s a human being of worth. He has value, feelings, and probably does his job well. I wonder what he says on his Facebook page.
There was an old Mac Davis song in which he sang the line, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” As funny as that is, it can be dangerously close to the truth. We don’t have to be perfect to find it hard to be humble.
The greatest humility we’ve ever seen occurred when God Almighty humbled himself to take the form of a human being (Philippians 2:5-11). In a real sense, he was the ultimate paperboy. Given that fact, maybe it’s a good idea to talk to the paperboy after all.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]