MR Defensive Goes To Work

Mr. Defensive woke up in a bad mood. All night he had tried to block intruding neighbor noise. The yack of insipid decibels pounding into his temples, the sigh and passion-brush igniting his nerve paths. He dressed, shaved, ate breakfast, plotting all the while how he would seek restitution for his pain. By the time he exited his front door, briefcase in hand, glasses firmly situated on his nose, his heart set on defending himself against all costs, he felt ready for what came next.

Next came in the form of a child who seemed to be all alone, who had fallen and whose hand was bleeding. Mr. Defensive reared back to assess the situation, fully prepared to defend as needed. Where did the child come from? How badly was he hurt? Mr. Defensive knelt to speak with the child, but the child angrily pushed him away and tried to cover himself.

Mr. Defensive felt angry and the need to defend himself. He was good at defending himself. It came naturally to him. He was glad for his expertise because he got a great job at Defense Propagation, defending for the heck of defending. He showed up every morning to work in tie and shirt tucked into pressed slacks, finished off by sharp shoes. He was his father all the way, but better. He loved his father, but his father was flawed. Mr. Defensive knew this and knew that, somehow, he was supposed to figure out a new configuration.

Mr. Defensive remembered he had been given a work memo instruction, and he dug into his pocket to retrieve it. The memo said identify something you want to defend, defend it, and take notes as to what you did to accomplish this. Mr. Defensive already knew what he was defending — a right to feel hurt by a hurt child pulling away from him. He knew he was worthy of trust, so why did the child not trust him?

As Mr. Defensive boarded the bus that would take him downtown to his job, a man approached him and asked if he needed assistance. Mr. Defensive was defensive. Why would he need assistance? Who was this man asking him that? The man gave a smile in return, and said, ‘We were meant to meet up today, according to the bigger picture.”

Mr. Defensive glowered. What was this stupid fellow talking about? Then he remembered the work memo in his pocket. He pulled it out and read it again. It said when you step up to defend, observe, and look to engage with vulnerable. He read the memo from different angles, not sure what to make of it. He followed the words need assistance and for a brief moment was able to experience a step toward vulnerability. Defensiveness was held in the muscles and he could feel that. Vulnerability — well, that was too extreme. He tightened his defensive muscles for greater security.

At work, MR Defensive sat at his desk, put his lunch in the bottom drawer. When his co-workers teased him about bringing his own lunch, he whipped out his defensive skills and shut them all down. Every day he propagated defensive tactics and techniques and trained others in the same. When he first heard about the job he couldn’t believe it paid well. But, the motto was, Someone’s got to be defensive, it might as well be you! Sensing someone approaching, he stiffened and looked up. Must be a new guy. MR Defensive didn’t recognize him.

“Hey,” New Guy said, sticking out his hand. “I’m the new Boundary Maker. I thought I’d introduce myself.”

MR Defensive shook hands with suspicion. He had never heard about the job position Boundary Maker. “What do you actually do?” he said, bracing himself for unpleasant news.

New Guy set half his butt on the edge of the desk. “Defensive Propagation is less trendy these days, so the big boss decided it’s time to put a different face on defensive tactics and techniques.”

“What do you mean?” MR Defensive said, resenting New Guy for thinking he owned the place.

“You don’t really have to change anything,” New Guy reassured MR Defensive. “You just got to make it look like you’re listening and agreeable.”

MR Defensive snorted. He knew that listening to others’ diatribe was a sure-fire way to get caught up in a runaround. “I can listen, but I’m not acting agreeably if I don’t feel that way.”

Boundary Maker made a tssking noise. “It gets easier,” he reassured, patting MR Defensive on the shoulder. “You’ll see.” And he left, whistling a fun tune.

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Cap Kotz

Cap Kotz

Writer and Story Mapping Guide, I follow the life path no matter how challenging.