The Let Down


Did you grow up thinking that professional wrestling was real? I did (reserve all judgments), and when I found out that it kinda sorta wasn’t real at all, I was devastated. These behemoths of testosterone and stimulants were like miniature gods to me back then, and my feeble world was rocked when I discovered that they were “faking” it. Some folks clamor, virally and privately, that it’s still real to them, but we all know the truth now. If I had to compare the feeling of that gigantic let down to anything else, it was definitely akin to when I finally found out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Oh, wait – I should have put a spoiler tag on that one. Sorry, ladies and gents, but you needed to hear it some time.


So what’s the point? Where’s the relevancy? It’s here – we all know the feeling of being let down in different forms and fashions. We can be let down when we hear that something we believed in isn’t actually what we perceived. We can be let down when we build up great expectations, and the object of our anticipation doesn’t live up to those expectations. I recently took my three sons to watch the movie “Monsters University”. While it held some humor and an all-around good viewing, my 7 year old came out of the theatre looking at the floor. When I asked him what was wrong, he thought for a minute and replied with, “I don’t want you to think I’m not thankful, Dad, but that movie wasn’t very good.” I laughed a little, restrained myself from throwing the remainder of our popcorn at him, and asked him why he didn’t like it. He said it was because the first movie, “Monsters, Inc.” was a whole lot better. So we see that we can even be let down by something, because a previous version, or previous experience of it, was better than the most recent. Golly, there’s a lot of possible let downs out there. But don’t let the let downs get ya down (I should have that trademarked).


We can also be let down by ourselves. This, I posit, is one of the most subtly devastating let downs that we can undergo. Let downs, it seems, are an inevitability thanks to our own standards and expectations of other things (but not ourselves often times, which is a whole other topic). They will simply occur. But the way in which we can possibly let ourselves down is hidden in the way we react to those let downs. Inaction, for example, is a huge let down. When I experience disappointment in something, if I simply accept it and move on, I’ve severely let myself down. And really, that reaction just goes to show that I didn’t care much for the object of my expectations or desires anyway. If I’m not willing to act in some way in an effort to improve or increase the let downs, I’m just as much to blame from then on out.


Fort Smith is home to many. It’s a source of pride for some, and a source of ire for others. Many have praised themselves for leaving the area, and many others long to return. I, myself, am one of those who longed to return to this area for a good while. After being absent for the better part of a decade, I returned to my hometown only to experience a sort of let down. I was a little let down that living in Fort Smith now was so different than I remembered it. No longer was I a carefree college kid living with mom and dad, no bills, hot showers, a pantry right out of the world of Harry Potter that was always, magically, full, friends that were always around, and on and on goes the list. Now I was a responsible father of 4, married, a full time job, a crazy big lawn to mow with a push mower because what in the world was I thinking when I said I could use the exercise?!  Those were some let downs that I experienced, but I couldn’t dwell on them for long. I came to see my family as the blessing that they are, and even my lawn as a small sort of relief when things inside the house were going crazy. Then there were the let downs concerning Fort Smith directly.  I wasn’t necessarily let down by Fort Smith in and of itself, but I was disappointed at the amount of grumbling, complaining, and laziness that I perceived across multiple generations and groups within this city. Let me clarify that last statement – I wasn’t disappointed in the fact that grumbling and complaining was taking place, as I feel there is an appropriate forum for those actions to be positive and considered. The laziness, though…oh, the laziness! That’s where the disappointment came in. It seemed we had all the answers, and those who complained the loudest had the best solutions in mind…but followed up with no action. Therein lied the let down.


Since that initial let down, though, I’ve been thoroughly encouraged to find groups of folks in the area that are actually following up on their concerns, desires, and issues with this town. One doesn’t need to look far to find them, either – just search “Fort Smith” on Facebook to pull back dozens of groups dedicated to improving different facets of our town. There seems to be a recent resurgence of those who are actually interested in getting out of their easy chairs (is that even a thing anymore?) and getting out into the community to try and make a difference. Will they succeed? Will they fail? Who’s to say, really? In the end, either way, no one can say they sat idly by and let their worst fears and apprehensions come true. That would be…a let down. But it’s quickly becoming an option for anyone and everyone to get involved. We all have the opportunity to not let ourselves be part of the disappointment! People are taking action, both young and old, in an effort to not let the let downs get them down (there it is again)!


Let your voice be heard:


What are your thoughts on living in Fort Smith? I’d love to hear from you below.


-Thad Crawford/Father of 4/Big-Ass Yard Owner