Sick of Gratefulness


HAVANA TIMES, Jan 12 — Once I read a story about a debate between a boy and an adult crocodile.

The boy — I don’t remember if he was African or Indian — had helped to save Mr. Crocodile’s life. Later, though, the crocodile was hungry and insisted on eating the boy.

In this way, they began surveying all the other animals to see which one was right, with the boy defending his position by arguing that he had saved the crocodile from death.

The question was: Was the crocodile indebted to the boy for the rest of his life?

Most people suffer from this same illness for almost all their lives.

Sometimes we’re like the boy. We do some action that could be considered beneficial for another person, and then we hope, later on, that this person will behave in accordance with that assumption that we have made about them.

However it often happens that they don’t act the way we want, leaving us feeling hurt, used. In response, we accuse them of being ungrateful, bad people.

In our cores, we all carry much of the crocodile and some of the boy. We believe that life is as simple as dividing it into right and wrong, into what’s just and unjust.

We believe that being grateful is part of proper customs, that it’s part of the elementary aspect of a good human being.

In practice, our crocodile side becomes the victim if it gets sick of “gratefulness.”

This happens when we will do what our parents want us to do only to please them, out of our “gratefulness” for everything they’ve done for us.

This also happens when we have a partner who no longer motivates us, when we remain at their only side only because all of the good things they’ve given us.

It’s the same case when our job no longer offers us any of the benefits that we consider basic, yet we continue with it only because they were provided to us at one time.

We forget how to crawl over the earth, to dive in the mud or swim under water; we forget the flavor of meat, the sensation of adrenaline pumping as we watch our prey.

It gets to the point that sores even appear on our skin because of the illness of gratefulness, as it dictates to us that there are loads of people around us and over our heads who, at some moment, did lots of things to help us.

I believe that the boy should do things differently so as not to become the prey of the crocodile. The emotional blackmail of “you can’t eat me because I saved you the life” can’t be the premise that guides anyone’s life.


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

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