11 years ago – right before flat-screen TVs hit an affordable price point – I decided to buy a television.
I had a little bit of money and wanted a much bigger screen than I’d ever had before. It was time to go from a 19-inch television to a 32-inch TV. I was going to be living large (Literally!). My pregnant wife and I headed to Best Buy, talked to a sales person for way too long, and ended up walking out – well, actually driving up and having someone haul out – a 300-pound television. When we got back to our townhouse, I had to knock on the neighbor’s door and ask a complete stranger (her boyfriend’s friend?) to help me haul the monstrosity into our living room.
Since those days, that TV has become a real inconvenience in my life. My best bud Nathan used to live next-door to me and he had to – on multiple occasions – be the guy I called to help me move it to different rooms inside my house. The last time we did it, he told me he would never move it again. Now Nathan lives in Iowa. I am not entirely sure these two facts are unrelated.
So now fast forward to last weekend. My wife decides to redesign something at our house and wants to move that godforsaken television from the basement up into another room. She and I knew help would be hard to come by, so we tried to pull it out of the basement ourselves. We got to the cellar stairs and looked at each other and realized this was not going to work. We placed it facedown and I started to look around for other options.
At that moment, my neighbor, Will, walked outside. Will is a no-nonsense guy. He was going to his car to get some pizza. He saw me watching him and looked suspicious immediately.
“I need you to help me move this giant TV,” I stated, trying to sound matter-of-fact. He came over and took a look, immediately skeptical. He took a deep breath, looked me right in the eyes and said, “No way. I am NOT helping you move that.”
Let us pause right here.
There was a time in my life where I would’ve been very offended by Will in this moment. If the situation was reversed, I would’ve felt obligated to try to help. Usually I am the kind of guy who gets myself into situations I don’t want to be in because I’m afraid to offend people. I’ve gotten a lot better about this as I’ve gotten older, but it will likely always be a struggle. I remember reading someone give the advice to never ask a friend for a ride to the airport. The writer stated something about that being something only dumb young kids can get away with doing. As you get to be an adult, I remember him writing, you learn to say no to certain things. And helping someone move or taking them to the airport – those are two of those things. I would now add that I think moving a 300-pound television is another one of those things. And Will knew that.
But he also had a solution The second part of his statement to me was this: “I have a 55-inch flat-screen that I haven’t used in years. Someone else gave it to me. Can I give it to you?”
Yes. I got a free TV. A huge TV. A TV so big I don’t have room for it where it is supposed to go in my living room.
The moral of the story is that sometimes you need to say no to stupid things other people ask you to do.
The other lesson is: don’t get offended if someone tells you “no.”
Their next move might be to tell you that you can have a free TV