Opinion: Doormats and doorbells

Commentary by Terry Anker

“You have let yourself become such a doormat,” someone once proclaimed. Don’t let people take advantage is likely what was intended. Certainly the lowly doormat stands at the ready to clean the feet of arriving visitors and family members alike. It catches the mud and grime of street life and prepares the entrant for a cleaner and more orderly transition to sanctum sanctorum.

Among higher order devices that greet us at the front door is the doorbell, glowing as a beacon ever ready to proclaim a visitor crying out with melodious chime heralding that a traveler has arrived upon our threshold. One could imagine that the porchlight, mat and stoop must see the doorbell as the most admired.

Like doormats and doorbells, our society tends to praise those among us who are shiny and whose tone is presently the most fair.  Contemporaneously, we ignore or decry the many contributions of those who serve  quietly, consistently and with little fanfare. Each day they present themselves to provide for all, foreign visitor and domestic resident alike.  They stand at the ready to meet each challenge with elegant simplicity and lack of complication. Isn’t there some honor in this role?

While both devices adorn the passage into our homes, which is indispensable?  Which serves the greater purpose? The doorbell can be substituted with any number of methods to accomplish its intended purpose. Simply rapping one’s knuckles against the door could work. Every child knows that knock, knock is followed by who’s there?  Perhaps, a visitor could call or text. But without the mat, the line between in and out is blurred. The day’s debris gushes in. Aren’t we better off with a few more doormats and a few less doorbells? But, can our egos take the realization?