How to Reject Nice Gestures Without Even Trying

The Action Bible. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t until Monday, and by Tuesday, I was the owner of my very own, thick, personalized, three pound The Action Bible. The Action Bible–which I like saying and writing because, c’mon, it sounds like the name of a rejected Transformer prone to extreme sports, “Sorry, Optimus Prime, but Action Bible is off wing-suit diving off the Burj Khalifa after snowboarding in an avalanche, you know ol’ Action Bible”–is a thick tome that selectively illustrates the conflict-based bits of the picture-less, inaction Bible. It was a gift to me by an overly excited intern at my work.The Action Bible

I work at a non-profit as a grant writer (among other duties, don’t pigeon hole me…which, by the way, where did “pigeon hole” come from?) and this intern is interviewing people for her dissertation. “What about your job do you like?” And “How did you come into this job?” These were the general questions to which I gave general answers. Once the primary interview ended, I was trapped in a web of her secondary agenda. Not being a fan of confrontation due to laziness and overly-acute empathy, rather than struggle against the spider-queen (the intern) I rolled around in the web to maybe ingratiate myself more to my predator.

Basically, the intern wants to start her own non-profit giving away The Action Bible to people around the world.  She was in the hospital for a time and says that The Action Bible (gawd I love saying that title) changed her life. She gets this sparkle in her eye and passion when she talks about it. While I admire and, in part, envy her passion, I think I’ve said on here before that the inaction Bible is a translation of a translation of an interpretation. If people get something meaningful, some sort of life guidance out of the inaction or ACTION Bible, that’s great, no judgement, it’s just not for me. I get my spirituality from old Far Side comic strips (not that I’m equating the two).

Larson Adding Jerks

I don’t lie to her, while also carefully navigating the treacherous waters of being the iceberg that doesn’t want to sink her schooner of  dreams. She shows me pictures of it and as a fan of graphic storytelling, I tell her that it’s gorgeous. I also give her practical advice that corporations probably won’t give her grants, but look at family foundations and similar organizations. See? I was being nice. TELL ME I’M A GOOD PERSON DAMMIT!

The next day, she comes into the office clutching a The Action Bible as I pass her to get a cup of tea and she very excitedly tells me she brought one for me. What am I to do, tell her that the thing that changed her life holds zero interest for me? I’m a part of the internet: bold in anonymity and an introverted coward in person. So I graciously accepted her gift. My review? It’s physically heavy with a lot of angry white people in it for it taking place mostly in Africa and the Middle East.

Maybe the white guy with hieroglyphics identifies as Egyptian?
Maybe the white guy with hieroglyphics identifies as Egyptian?

The title of this post wasn’t a declaration, but a plea for help. I don’t know how to reject people when they think they’re doing nice things that I don’t want to accept. “That’s very nice…FOR YOU, but I don’t want the life-changing thing you love!” See? I can’t do that.

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  1. “…carefully navigating the treacherous waters of being the iceberg that doesn’t want to sink her schooner of dreams” may be the most perfect phrase ever crafted. It should be worked into standard wedding vows.

    I recommend trying to accept the book, but then screaming as if it burns your hand when you touch it. then mumble “Oh, yeah–I forgot about that…”

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  2. See, now, if you were living in Canada, I would advise you to take the intern aside and let her know that she should not be proselytizing at work. Never ever discuss religion in the workplace. That’s how a multicultural society gets along. But, you know, Murica. Just pray she doesn’t invite you to a lunch-time Bible study group.

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  3. Pretend to be enthusiastic about the ACTION BIBLE so she’ll give you more, so you can send one or all of them to me.

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    • You want it? If you don’t mind a dedication to me in it (by the way, there’s a page for dedicating the book to someone, but she dedicated it to me on a completely different page. Weird, right? It makes me think that she actually hasn’t ever cracked open the thing.) and you’re willing to pay shipping, I can justify sending it your way. Hell, I think that would qualify as “spreading the gospel.”

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  4. I’m guessing the brutal rape scenes and the incest probably get skipped. In fact, probably the last 3rd of the Old Testament in general.

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  5. Interesting observations for sure, and I’ve never heard of this Action Bible….makes me curious. And I would love to discuss some of it in my fabulous Sunday School class, where we really do discuss lots of diverse subjects.

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  6. I like the suggestion above about the hand-burning. I can say I’d see myself doing that, but it’s a lie. I can see my husband doing that and me apologizing and accepting the book I’ll never even crack open with thanks. I have a hard time rejecting nice gestures too. It’s borderline ridiculous -.-

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  7. YOU”RE A GOOD PERSON, DAMMIT!
    Okay, I’m waiting for you to burst into flames. Or is that going to happen when she drags your ass to church.

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  8. “Leave me the fuck alone. I have more Bibles (or whatever) than I need.” Or accept the item, smile, and immediately throw it in a garbage can so she can see you.

    And you are a good person. I am evil. I know it because my ex-husband says so. I’m not funny. I know it because my children say so. Oh, I’m mean and rude. I got that on my blog. So think about how horrible I am, and you’ll know that you are better than I am, so you are good.

    Love,
    Janie

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    • I forgot to say that the title “The Action Bible” makes me want to hit someone over the head with it. I’m tired of people telling me what to do. I’m tired of people not following through on shit. Fuck the action bible.

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    • I tried, “I’m a Gideon! Do you know how many Bibles that means I have? I have enough that I bring one to every hotel room I ever stay in and follow around the cleaning lady and leave Bibles in rooms I’m not staying in. I’m a Gideon, I’m lousy with Bibles!” Didn’t go over well.
      You’re a good person, don’t resist it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have two interns right now, and they’re both religious (though they aren’t in your face about it…yet). Anyway, I hope they don’t try to give me a bible. I dont think they will. It’s more likely they’ll give me another cat themed item to add to my cubicle collection. I’m beginning to get a reputation.

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  10. Well, what do I know… Interns bestowing luscious gifts upon the Great Pickster in an unabashed attempt to (1) convert him to actionism and (2) meanwhile ingratiating themselves with his inspirational green persona. Yes? So now I’m wondering, all depressed and blue, how come my students draw the line at bottles of booze and requests for illicit innuendos? The Action Bible… talk about a reboot. That said, I agree… it’s got a ring to it that makes millionaire want to become billionaires in a non-profit way. Of course.

    Good morning.

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  11. I feel your pain because I’m the same

    so many times, I’ve met and become friends with people through a shared interest in some activity or other, then found myself in an awkward position when they have assumed that, because we share one interest, we have other interests in common too – when, in fact, the complete opposite is true

    I’ve tried being honest and saying ‘ I think you’re talking bollocks’- (only expressed more politely) – ‘but let’s just agree to differ and not discuss it anymore’ , but the buggers won’t let it drop !

    they see my atheistic, left-wing political, pro multi-racial, pro multi-cultural, anti-homophobic views as a challenge and just won’t stop trying to convert me to their view

    so now I take the path of cowardice expediency – changing the subject as tactfully as I can and, as far as is possible, avoiding any future contact with the arseholes 😆

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