Are You Paralyzed?

I just started with a new cohort in a course I teach on postmodernity. One of the first books I have them read is Postmodern Pilgrims by Leonard Sweet. Sweet takes the reader through the powerful effects of his culturally relevant E-P-I-C model:

  • Experiential
  • Participatory
  • Image-Driven
  • Connected


In the book’s Introduction, Sweet shares a great story…

Two high school sophomores had been dating for some time. As they walked up the steps of her porch, which was lit by moonlight, the guy decided to make his move.

“Can I kiss you goodnight?”

His date looked up at him adoringly, gave him a big, bright smile, and said nothing. Not knowing how to interpret the silence, his mind raced for a minute until it hit on what was wrong: bad grammar. So he tried again.

“May I kiss you goodnight?”

Once again, the gal dazzled him with her smile, tilted her head upward, and closed her eyes. But she still said nothing.

Totally flustered, the guy blurted out, “Are you deaf?”

She opened her eyes and spoke for the first time: “Are you paralyzed?

Cute story huh? I kind of hate to ruin it by offering some type of pithy wisdom or make an attempt to decipher what this story can mean for your life or mine. All I can say is that sometimes I’m paralyzed. Sometimes I miss out on “the kiss” because I’m waiting for permission from someone else to tell me to move. Oftentimes I don’t move out of the fear that I think I’m going to “get slapped.”

But that’s me…what about you?

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