More Than Meets the Eye


Yes, I know.  The picture above is disturbing, even repulsive.

I am sure many of you found it offensive and harsh, as did I at first glance.

If something is initially abrasive or offensive our natural instinct is to make a quick judgment and immediately separate oneself from the person or thing that offends.

Side Note: Maybe your separation from the irritant is to stop reading today’s blog because it makes you uncomfortable.


Let’s face it, none of us likes our world to be disturbed.  We work hard to make our lives to be as pleasant as possible and to run smoothly.  This is a human innate default and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

But the reality is, regardless of how much we desire a life smooth and pleasant; abrasiveness, harshness, and discomfort have an important role in making our lives complete.

In fact, it is the abrasive things that smooth and polish our lives.

Chicago author and humorist Finley Peter Dunne (July 10, 1867 — April 24, 1936) felt compelled to write the following statement.

“Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”


John Kenneth Galbraith in the “London Guardian”, July 8, 1989 put it another way.

“In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.”


Humm… does this mean that we are to intentionally bring affliction and discomfort on people who are comfortable in their ways, maybe, maybe not.

It is easy to see the rationale for afflicting comfortable people who’s ways are in error.

But what about afflicting those people who are comfortable and are not in error?  I believe there is a case to be made for afflicting these people under the right circumstances.  There are times when those you love and care about are trapped in a soft prison of comfort keeping them from a fuller, richer life.

If there is an appropriate occasion to be the purveyor of affliction, it should be neither casual nor self-serving.

Now, just so you know, I didn’t place the picture on this page for the purpose of causing you affliction or discomfort.  That was not my intent or calling for the day.

I posted it because upon a second deeper look I found this picture to be particularly striking, personally provocative… and somehow strangely compelling.

This simple picture has a lot to say… lots.

The phrase on the arm is an actual tattoo, not a quote made with a marker for the purposes of making an artistic statement.

The statement brash, vulgar, yet oddly insightful.

A tattoopainful, permanent, virtually irreversible.

On the upper underarm a tender place, yet hidden, odd.

Yes this picture has a lot to say.

To your chagrin I’m sure, I feel the need to unpack all of this a bit more on Monday.

Hopefully you will join me even though it may be a bit uncomfortable.

Humm… this discomfort may help polish you up a bit.


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