ARTHUR BLACK: I’,m just a shy guy

There's something to be said for those who like things a bit quieter in their lives

They’ve just found a gene for shyness.  They would have found it earlier but it was hiding behind a couple of other genes.

—  Jonathan Katz

Ah yes…shyness.

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so…excruciating.  I speak as a certified Shy Guy.

Sure, I’m the clown who talks too loud, warbles off-key and has been known to wear a lampshade for a fedora.  It’s all just an act to cover up my basic shyness.  Shy people are not welcome in our society.  Well-meaning friends devise plots to ‘bring us out of our shells’ and get us to ‘assert ourselves’.  Type A personalities call us wusses, chickenbleeps, even cowards.

T’ain’t true, but we’re too shy to correct our detractors.

In China, shyness is seen as a welcome and respected character trait.  There, it bespeaks a person who thinks before he/she acts; someone who has control of their impulses and behaves rationally rather than emotionally.

Different story on this continent where we don’t place much value on introspection.  Gasbags like Don Cherry get celebrity status; thinkers like Michael Ignatieff get the boot.  The Bible claims the meek are blessed; try to prove it at a hockey game or on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The worst thing about shyness?  Opportunities missed.

Shy people don’t go for the brass ring. And that’s a shame — especially when the brass ring isn’t so far out of reach.  James Matthew Barrie, the  man who gave us Peter Pan, was pathologically shy. Invited to a dinner with A.E. Housman he sat mute beside him — even though he’d longed to meet the famous poet for a long time.

Afterwards, Barrie wrote this letter:  ‘Dear Professor Houseman, I am sorry about last night, when I sat next to you and did not say a word.  You must have thought I was a very rude man: I am really a very shy man.  Sincerely yours, J.M. Barrie.

Housman wrote back:  ‘Dear Sir, I am sorry about last night, when I sat next to you and did not say a word.  You must have thought I was a very rude man: I am really a very shy man.  Sincerely yours, A.E. Housman.

P.S.  And now you’ve made it worse for you’ve spelled my name wrong.’

I’ll leave the last word to another man of letters, Garrison Keillor, who had to overcome painful shyness to become the best-selling author and story-telling genius that he is.

But he never forgot (or vanquished) his shyness.  In the end, he decided he doesn’t want to:  Keillor wrote:  “Shyness is not a disability or a disease to be overcome.  It is simply the way we are.  And in our own quiet way we are secretly proud of it.”

Amen to that: I’m shy — wanna make something of it?

 

 

 

Arthur Black is a regular columnist.

 

 

Just Posted

Nanoose Bay residents miffed as roadwork on Northwest Bay Road causing long delays

‘I sat in traffic for a half-hour and moved approximately 50 feet’

Oceanside RCMP officer makes Alexa’s Team

Munro able to stop and process 15 impaired motorists during the past year

Potty Mouth artist creating Funky Fungus

Parksville-Qualicum’s Carmen Lutz has people chuckling with her hand-made, rustic mugs

Qualicum Beach charity hosts fundraiser for Guatemalan students

Aldea Maya has been working in the Central American country since 2012

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Most Read