Cruel: (adj) willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.
You do know that your clock doesn’t say, right?
I’m talking about when we casually cite, “The clock says…” and we note the time.
Since clocks can’t speak, they can’t say.
Some folks would say that’s being picky. (Actually, it’s a little trick you learn in writing to make sure you don’t have grumblers and complainers instantly mocking you because you claim to have a talking clock.)
But two nights ago, I caught my clock reading, “2:53 A.M.”
Suddenly I was wide awake.
It’s amazing that during some of these midnight stirrings, it feels like you could get up and build a bridge. And then, five hours later when you’re supposed to get up and bridge something, you can barely move.
We are strangely constructed, curiously functioning and unfathomable in our conclusion.
But since the clock read “2:53,” I decided to ask what the plot was. Yes—my brain always has some sort of idea it’s brewing, contrary to what I might think about during the day, and also frequently critical of my self-assured attitude.
The question on this particular awakening was, “How have I been cruel?”
When I’m better prepared—after the selection of my favorite shirt and a good breakfast—I would probably insist that I’m not cruel. But my brain was reading something else at 2:54 in the morning. So I stayed quiet and listened.
This is the lecture I received:
You are cruel when you withhold appreciation simply because you believe you’ve already expressed your favor.
You are cruel when you know someone requires a hug and you supply a handshake instead.
You are cruel when your friend has contacted you by text or email, and you arbitrarily decide to return it—the next day.
You are cruel when you hear an ignorant statement made in your presence and you let it go without comment, thinking it’s none of your damn business.
You are cruel when you turn into cement over an issue of spirituality, politics or morality because you think it makes you appear more righteous.
You are cruel when you comply to the mediocrity of a situation or the indifference of a room because there’s no need to be a boat-rocker.
You are cruel when you no longer believe you’re capable of being cruel.
I don’t like it when my clock reads.
I guess I’m just like everyone else:
I would be completely satisfied with an ignorant time piece.