I think that everyone needs to be reminded that everyone is a camel.
Are you still there? Or did you leave to find a blogger who is unaffected by brain-eating amoebas and extended metaphors? If you are still here, then take my hand. Figurative language isn’t so scary when you have someone to talk and walk you through it.
So. Where were we?
Oh, yes. People are camels. But camels aren’t people, mind you.
Like I said, I’ll explain. Imagine your best friend, your parents, your boss, your co-workers, your favorite Starbucks barista, all as camels. Just hold that picture in your mind for a minute. Now, close your eyes. Uhm, well, close your eyes and get someone else to read this blog post to you. Imagine that all of your camel relatives have straws on their back (I know it’s supposed to be the other kind of “straw,” but I like drinking straws better. When you write your own extended metaphor, you can use whatever you like).
I think you know where this is going by now, but for those who are coming down for a long day and this is floating somewhere above their head, I’ll continue. Now believe that those straws are not ordinary drinking straws but filled with lead. Each straw weighs at least a pound. And each camel friend has about 100 of these straws. On their back. If I’m doing the math correctly (I’ll get out my calculator, just so I don’t drag this blog’s “good” name for hard-hitting journalism through the mud) that’s 100 pounds.
And let’s not forget that you are also a camel. With the same amount of weight on your back. And the same amount of straws.
So, let’s recap. Everyone’s a camel. And everyone’s got heavy straws on their back. And those straws will inevitably represent different things to different camels. What may seem rather inconsequential to you, like a drinking straw in fact, is earth-shattering to another camel. No two straws are the same because no two camels are the same.
And we’re all pretty thirsty because when you think of camels, you think of the desert and dehydration, which is why drinking straws are also a great part of this metaphor. And for some reason, you’re also imagining a bunch of camels walking to some distant destination (and now you’re thinking: how does she know?!)
But we’re not traveling to some distant destination because we are arriving at my point. There are two ways to help your fellow camels. 1) By taking care of some of their straws. Even if you can only take one of their straws, I promise you, it will feel like you are taking 20. 2) By not adding any more straws. This can be hard, but try to recognize when your camel friends have too much on their plate, or rather, their back. If you both have an equal amount of straws, then at least talking about them may help you to stop noticing how painful their weight is. It’s what we’re here to do in life: remind each other that we are more than just our straws. ( I can see the movie title now: The Fault in Our Straws). Just remember: no one has zero straws, and no one person has them all.
The fact is I think we all need a little help stepping into each other’s shoes sometimes. I mean, before I get into another metaphor, we all need to recognize each other’s struggles. And if my camel metaphor helps you to (ironically) see the humanity in people, then I can retire. What I think it has done is provided you with a hankering to watch Lawrence of Arabia. And that’s cool, too. Just don’t forget what I said about the being nice to people thing. Okay?