A few years ago I was at a statewide convention being held in Athens, Georgia. It was my first, and only, time ever being there and I fell in love with the city. I’m still a Tech fan, don’t get me wrong. I don’t get invited to many conventions, so that may be my only time ever visiting Athens.
A guy who had just been elected to serve another year as the “high person” of the “some agency” got up to speak to the dinner crowd. I wonder if I don’t get invited to many conventions because of my lousy memory when it comes to people, titles and agencies.
But one of the first things he said to us that night was that he was the epitome of the “turtle on a fencepost” analogy. Though I am sure this is an old and well-known analogy, I had never heard it.
He went on to explain that if you ever see a turtle perched on a fencepost you can be fairly certain it did not climb up there by itself. Someone helped it up there.
That’s how he explained himself in his position with the whatever agency. He had not made it by himself, rather he had received plenty of help along the way.
That analogy has stuck with me all these years and it really hit home for me this past week. I am writing this on Wednesday and I can count no less than five different times since Monday that someone I work with has gone out of their way to help me out.
In each case, they had absolutely nothing to gain from than helping me. They gave up their time freely and their knowledge readily.
And in every instance, the help I received was very beneficial to me. I know who they are and they know who they are. I am not going to name names or give specifics here.
Mostly because I am going to take all the credit for every bit of help they gave me and also hope that anyone who may ever interview me for a promotion does not read this particular column. I will claim to be the world’s first fence-jumping turtle.
I jest. I believe (and hope) I let everyone know how grateful I am for all the help I am ever given.
My entire life I have been a turtle- and I don’t mean just because I’m pretty slow in a footrace.
I am a turtle on my personal fencepost. I am a turtle on my professional fencepost. And, assuming there are no misspellings or grammatical errors in this column, I am even a turtle on my literary fencepost (Thanks, editor who will remain anonymous.).
I hope in turn that I have helped a few turtles up on some fenceposts in my lifetime. But not real turtles, just hypothetical ones. I can’t tell the difference between a nice turtle and a snapping turtle with a short fuse.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org