Real Help for Real Living: I’m filing a lawsuit against the YMCA

by Rev. Tony Marciano

I’ve decided to file a lawsuit against the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.

In 1999, when I joined the Y, I was a lot thinner. I weighed less. Over the years I have gotten heavier. The Y has let me down. I want a refund for membership dues paid over the past many years.

Now that I’ve got your attention, how crazy of a lawsuit would that be? The Y never let me down; I let myself down.

In the past 12 years, the Y has offered me classes to attend, opportunities to pump iron and equipment upon which to do aerobics. But somewhere in the back of my mind was the idea that if I joined the Y, I didn’t have to watch what I ate. My membership would keep me thin. It didn’t work that way.

The Y gave me the opportunity, and I blew it.

While my opening paragraph is ludicrous, if we really stop and think about it, don’t you and I play the blame/shame game? Haven’t you heard someone say, “So and so ruined my life.” They think that if they had married someone else, taken a different job, moved to a different city, gone to a different college, then everything in their life would be fine. It’s that other person’s fault. I’m the good one. They’re the bad one. I’m innocent. They’re the horrible person. I’m the victim. They’re the perpetrator.

Does it sound crazy? Yes. Have I heard people say it? Yes. Have I said it? Yes.

Where did we learn this? Let me take you back to Adam and Eve eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Who does Adam blame for the mess he’s in? To set up the story, God confronts Adam and asks him a “Yes” or “No” question. It requires a one-word answer. The question is, “Did you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?”

Now before I tell you what he said and my interpretation of it, let me take you back 20 years ago.

In the early 1990s, I worked for a market research firm. They were conducting nationwide telephone surveys during the time Johnny Carson was about to retire. Survey takers were asking, “If you had a choice of watching Jay Leno or David letterman, whom would you watch?” It’s a simple question requiring a simple answer. You replied either ‘Jay’ or ‘David’.

Easy you say? Not for America.

My telephone interviewers heard responses such as, “It depends on who is going to be the guest” or “It depends on if I have an early morning meeting.” The telephone interviewers would reply, “I’m working with a computer and can only enter one answer. Would that be Jay or David?”

America could not provide a one-word answer.

So Tony, answer the question. Where did we learn it? Let me share with you my perspective.

Adam’s answer to God was: “The women you gave to be with me, she caused me to eat, and I ate.”

Ask the average person whom Adam blames for the mess he’s in and the answer is ‘Eve’.

I disagree. Here’s what I think Adam nonverbally said:

“God – we were friends. We walked around in the cool of the day. I loved the hippo and the giraffe, and you let me name them. But you had a lousy idea that it wasn’t good for me to be alone. Without my permission, without a HIPPA release, you took out a rib and created this woman. If you hadn’t had this lousy idea to create her, I wouldn’t be in the mess I’m in right now.”

Sounds crazy? Adam creates the appearance of an “imperfect triangular relationship.”  He is the victim, the good one. God and Eve are the villains in this story. I said “imperfect triangular relationship” as Adam had no one to rescue him. There he was in the garden, alone, the innocent one, the victim.

No, I’m not suing the YMCA. I’m going to take responsibility for my life. I’m going to watch what and where I eat. I’m already pumping the iron. Whether or not I gain weight, stay the same or lose weight, I’m going to own responsibility for my own actions.

The Rev. Tony Marciano is the executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission and a regular South Charlotte Weekly columnist. He is available to speak to your group. Call 704-334-4635, ext. 213, to schedule him.

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