The Story of Sam and Sue

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

Not long ago and not far away at all, lived a young, burly man who was known by his friends as Sam. He was a sympathetic guy with a pleasant smile and a way about him that attracted many people from near and far to establish themselves and start a new, promising life in his neighborhood. Sam was popular, and everybody loved him.

One day Sam met a young lady who told him her name was Sue. Sam's natural friendliness and gregariousness was like glue to Sue, and before our friend knew it, Sue became a regular guest in Sam's house. Slender Sue made a kind, delicate and vulnerable impression on everybody, but beneath that facade, she was hiding a sturdy, sticky, domineering, and manipulative character, which Sam was about to find out.

With a heart-warming smile, Sue visited Sam one evening, surprising him with some homemade cookies. They watched television for a while, and chitchatted about all kinds of things. After a while, Sue claimed that she was tired and asked Sam if she could rest on his couch for a while. Good-natured Sam agreed, and quietly continued his evening chores: feeding the pets, preparing for tomorrow's work, and so on. When it came close to bedtime, he woke Sue up and told her it was time for her to go home, but she complained that she was too tired to even get up. Besides, she complained, it was now too dark and scary outside.

Sam found himself in a dilemma, as he was not too pleased with the idea of having a lady sleep in his house without a chaperone, but his good, hospitable heart soon won the inner-struggle, and he let his friend stay on the couch. He laid a blanket over her, wished her goodnight, and went to his bedroom for a well-deserved night's rest.

The next morning, Sam woke up and found Sue lying beside him in bed! She smiled lovingly, yet with a conniving undertone, and told him that all the neighbors now knew that they were a couple, and that Sam had no choice but to marry her in order to make "an honest woman" out of her. Sam was astonished, as he was convinced that he had done nothing dishonorable. All he did was accommodate a tired friend in need!

However, Sue was determined to get her way, and started a smear campaign against poor Sam, who soon felt pressured by the demeaning looks he got from his friends and neighbors to do what they considered his duty: marrying Sue.

This was the beginning of Sam's end. Soon enough his social life started descending as Sue began to reveal her real, intimidating character. She started menacing Sam that if he dared to go out even once without her, she would let the whole world know what a bad and deceitful husband he was. So Sam, peace-loving as he was, stayed home.

When his friends wanted to visit him, Sue made clear that they were not welcome, as Sam needed to take care of his marital duties now, and that she would not shrink from smudging their names either. So, one by one, Sam's friends started staying away:

Gradually, everybody started avoiding Sam, the man who was once known as the most popular, opportunity-oriented, friendly, warm-hearted guy in the country. No one wanted anything to do with this person whose life had become so ruined by this deceitfully frail looking yet diehard and destructive monster, Sue.

But the seed of Sue's spitefulness was planted and soon started spreading beyond the walls of Samís mansion: The neighborhood turned into a dogmatic, cold vicinity, where everyone was controlled by Sue: Gone was the spontaneity and the freedom with which people used to approach each other in pre-Sue days:

The men did not dare to compliment the women anymore for their attractive looks, because they were afraid that Sue would have the ladies interpret even the slightest approach as sexual harassment. So guess what: the population of lonely, isolated, bitter, and fearful people grew tremendously.

  • The physicians did not dare to treat patients outside of their immediate competency anymore, because they became terrified that Sue would teach these patients to file a grievance against them for anything that could possibly go wrong. So guess what: a number of people, especially children, started dying needlessly, because they had to be transported to areas far outside Sam's neighborhood for treatment, which caused critical time to be wasted.
  • The workplaces became increasingly less spiritual because workers did not trust their bosses; bosses did not trust their workers; and workers and bosses did not trust their clients; as Sue had made them all aware of the ease of finding fault in each other's behavior and getting involved in lengthy, costly, name-smudging proceedings. So guess what: spirituality in the workplace became a utopia that would probably never be achieved.
  • Soon, the vicinity was filled with lonely people who all seemed to live on a deserted island: the island called "Don't touch, don't look, and don't approach."

    Everything became increasingly expensive as well, as everyone needed to cover him- or herself for reprisals that were constantly leering behind every corner due to Sue's lessons of intolerance. Freedom was history. And Sam's big house, once a haven to countless souls in search of an honest chance to develop their talents, turned into an abandoned castle.

    The moral of the story? Uncle Sam's fertile, promising soil is being heavily endangered by litigations left and right: The spirit of adventure, endeavor, and spontaneity is being suffocated by the continuous and surging hazard of lawsuits...Sue!