Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do in our society. The icons of the self-made man, the singular hero, the army of one are common themes in cinema. Keeping people isolated is profitable to certain corporate interests who cater to fill the gap left by persons being alone.
One very important training that men receive in teams is to learn to not do things alone, to work as a team. The very first task given to the men on the new training team is impossible to do alone, although men try. Many men struggle with the taboo of asking for help.
Because asking for help is so alien to men’s experience, so difficult for men to do, Men’s Teams teach men how to ask for help.
The cost of doing things alone is very high in our society. Historically societies have always worked together to get things done – hospitals, fire safety, libraries, postal service are all ancient examples of teamwork written large.
Not being able or not knowing how to ask for help can be painful and spiritually poisonous.
Once while walking home I found a grocery bag full of kittens in a trash can. The kittens had been recently born. Their eyes were still closed.
Outraged, I took the bag of kittens home. I bought a can of condensed milk and attempted to feed the kittens, but the milk fell out of their mouths and made a mess.
I started to call for help. I called the ASPCA. At first they didn’t answer at all and when they did they said they don’t help with abandoned kittens. The local veterinary clinics also said they would not help me with the kittens. The local pet stores also did not want abandoned kittens.
Finally I called an organic pet store and they gave me the number of a woman who they said might help me. I called the woman and told her my story of how i found the kittens. She was silent on the phone and I thought she was angry and maybe crazy.
I told her about trying to feed the kittens with condensed milk. Finally she spoke. “Stop feeding them condensed milk. Their stomachs can’t digest that.” she said. She asked me for my address and I gave it to the crazy cat lady.
The cat lady came over in a car and gave me a tiny baby bottle for kittens and half a can of powdered kitten milk. She showed me how to mix the powdered milk with water and feed the kittens. They drank the kitten milk!
The cat lady came back a week later with more kitten milk. We kept in touch and I fed the kittens and weaned them over six weeks. They crawled out of the kitten box and pooped all over my bedroom and I litter-box trained them. Then the cat woman came and took my kittens to the rich part of Queens and gave them away to new homes.
I’ve often thought about whoever it was who put the kittens into the trash. How desperate they must have been. How soul sickeningly out of options they must have felt. So ashamed and guilty. So alone and unable to ask for help.
Originally published Feb 28th, 2018 in Motomomen.com