One hand tied behind my back?


Contributing Editor
Walter W. Pickut

It’s an old saying. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times and so have I. Yet it has two almost opposite meanings.

“I can do that with one hand tied behind my back!” That can mean it’s so easy and I’m so good, that I can do it with very little effort. Like eating a whole, big, fresh-baked apple pie ala mode in a single sitting. Yup! I bet I can do that just fine with only one hand, either hand in fact. Go ahead and tie one hand behind my back, turn me loose, and see if I care.

On the other hand, I might complain that I’ve got one hand behind my back if I’m being hampered, held back, and stymied, by factors or people beyond my control. I’ll need both hands free to tackle that situation, for sure.

One hand tied behind my back, then, is either a brag or a complaint. I’m either blowing my own horn, or I’m making an excuse for something I can’t do.

So that’s why your Jamestown Gazette is talking to you this week about matters like world events and how we’ve gotten ourselves where we are today. Are we in a better place or a worse place than we expected to be a long time ago?

Well, there are a lot of wonderful things in our world that we’ve accomplished through technology, science, and education. It’s as if whenever we want something we never had before, give us a few minutes and we’ll invent it, mass produce it, and make sure everybody has one. Consider computers and smart phones, for example. We’re so good at making them, it’s as if we can just do it all, even with one hand tied behind our backs!

But then there’s the rest of the story. We’ve made some pretty big messes, too. Look at pollution, poverty, starvation, and war.

My point is that we did that to ourselves. And, worst of all, we hampered ourselves by tying our own hand behind our back.

We have ignored, resisted, and wasted invaluable resources, especially the people who could have helped end some of those self-imposed troubles. Humanity’s two hands, of course, are named Men and Women.

So, your Jamestown Gazette is celebrating Women’s History Month this week and acknowledging women’s past, present and future contributions. We’re celebrating strong local women who refused to be one of humanity’s hands tied behind its own back.

The late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, once said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

Women’s History Month at the Gazette is especially for Women Making History right now across our community.

So, this week, we’re celebrating some notable local women in our cover story who clearly have their hands in the life and work of our local communities.

Your Jamestown Gazette, owned and published by Stacey Hannon, for example, illustrates the kind of real value and far-reaching community service one woman has contributed for more than a decade now, to both our present and our future prosperity, as a city and in the surrounding regions as well.

Such local woman-owned businesses have become invaluable community resources, in strong and capable hands, free and able to take their part in all that needs to be done.

So this week, we hope your Jamestown Gazette is so interesting that you can read it even with one hand tied behind your back.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.