I’ve probably talked about this before, but I’m pretty terrible at song lyrics. I don’t even try to understand what they are saying or what they are supposed to mean. If I don’t like the music part of a song, it will end up on my DO NOT LISTEN pile. I like to make up my own lyrics anyways. Remember that Michael Jackson song, Man In the Mirror? Sometimes I would sing it right, but most of the time, I would just sing it as Man in the Middle.
I despise being in the middle. I grew up in a family of 5 kids and I was the second one. I do have the distinction of being the oldest boy (meaning my father wanted me to be all responsible and such), but not being the oldest overall. My younger brother who was the absolute middle used his middleness to be a troublemaker. I liked that because he would act out and basically become a human shield for me. He would do something stupid first, get the attention of my parents wrath, and then I would do the same thing afterward and not get in trouble because he was already taking the attention away. It did lead to some bitter jealousy though. Being in the middle of a family was kind of hard.
But not as bad as being in the middle of a thing. You know what I mean, right? It’s kind of like being a hostage negotiator, without actually caring about either the terrorist or the hostages. Here’s an example from high school. You have a friend. Your friend has a crush. The friend wants to know if the crush has interest in them. Your friend asks you to talk to the crush to find out. You ask the crush. The crush mentions they might. What does the friend say? You end up being the one that transfers all the information to the other. It becomes a cycle of people asking you to say things. It becomes a mind-numbingly bitter exercise that you don’t want to be involved in.
The last week or so, we’ve been trying to get insurance at work. My wife is the one dealing with trying to figure it out, while I’m the one at work, trying to sign up for it. We have people on both sides of us, trying to get us to send them information. My wife has questions about our insurance, my work has questions for us. I know nothing of them, except what each side wants me to ask. I get caught in the middle. It becomes my nightmare.
I am not a hostage negotiator. I don’t care what goes on for each side. Don’t involve me in the middle. Don’t make me the escape goat (as Micheal Scott would say). Don’t tell me a secret and expect me to keep it from other people. I am basically the human Telephone game, you know the one where you whisper one thing at the beginning to a series of people and at the end, the info is completely changed? Pass information to me to tell another and I will completely botch it. Don’t make me the Man In the Middle.
What do you think? Do you hate being the man or woman in the middle? What is the least favorite situation you’ve been in the middle for?
Bitter Middle Man Ben