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No Whining on the Yacht

September 7, 2017  | 
No Whining on the Yacht by Clare Piro

{4:00 minutes to read} I recently heard an interview of Connie Shultz, the spouse of Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. She shared that since 2007, the motto of her life has been "no whining on the yacht." It began after her husband had just been elected Senator. She was publishing her second book, and life was good.

At one point, she complained to her editor about the deletion of a litany of stories detailing the wrongs she felt occurred in the senate race. Her editor insisted the sections remain out and said “no whining on the yacht.” She reminded Connie how much in her life was going well, and that she really didn’t need to focus on every slight when she was in such a good place.

I agree wholeheartedly. People don’t necessarily want to hear your complaints, especially about minutia, when others have far less and real world concerns. “Whining on the yacht” can make a person look petty and uncaring.

I thought of this as I was watching the flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey and heard an interview of a woman who had been rescued as her house and neighborhood became flooded. She was holding her dog, and she had taken no other belongings or necessities.

She explained that she had been in denial, thinking it would never happen to her as she watched the television coverage and cried for all of the people who had to be evacuated.

At one point, a firefighter came to the neighborhood and said that he would be back for her, but he never came. She wasn’t angry and understood that he was helping others who needed help more than she.

When she saw the volunteer boat come, she only went when her neighbor said she needed to go, and then just took her dog. She didn’t want to be a bother to anyone and wanted to be sure they rescued others before her.

From the boat, she went onto a bus, and when she got off the bus, she realized she had nothing and no one with whom she could stay. Her family was too far away and she didn’t know what to do.

Fortunately, a total stranger came up and asked if she needed a place to stay, because he and his wife were opening their home to people who were stranded. She was shocked that someone would do that for perfect strangers. The man replied that they had been helped in the past and couldn’t imagine not helping others.

Here is a woman, amongst many, who has numerous reasons to whine, complain and lament, and yet her chief concerns were for her dog and others that she perceived to be in more dire straits than she was. It’s truly a rare and remarkable person who can be that magnanimous and uncomplaining in the face of such extreme adversity.

So let’s remember this woman, and the thousands of people who have been and will continue to be suffering the effects of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma for months and years to come. No whining on the yacht can be a motto for us all.

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
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