Category Archives: People

A Good Lesson To Learn

There was this town where they had a monster that was causing the people a lot of worry. It’s not that the monster was doing very much, but the people worried about it a lot. The people of the village had the average IQ of a zucchini, so they put an ad in the paper that they needed a hero to come slay the terrible monster.

After the ad runs for a couple of Sundays this hero shows up, brass cojones and all. He heads off to slay the monster, cojones going clackity-clack. The hero rounds the corner and sees a watermelon patch. He looks all over, but he can’t see any monster, so he clackity-clacks back to the village square and says something like, “Uhhh, where’s da monster?”

MonsterThe villagers take him back to the watermelon patch and show him a truly huge, vicious-looking watermelon. “There’s the monster,” they say.

The hero looks at the people and says, “You yo-yos! That’s not a monster, it’s just a big watermelon!” Whereupon the people pick up rocks and sticks and beat the hell out of the hero.

The ad runs again, and lo and behold, another hero shows up. This one’s smarter than the first, so when he sees what the people are talking about, he backs up and says, “Wow! That’s a mean one, but I’ve dealt with these things before.” So he rounds the people up and distributes nets and knives and clubs, and off they go. At the end of the fight, the score is villagers one, watermelon nothing. They pay off the hero with a sack of gold and many slaps on the back and he wanders off to find a bar in some other village.

Take away whatever you want from this story, but remember the bottom line: if people don’t want to know about something, be careful how you tell them. If all they do is grab the closest rock, your message won’t accomplish much.

[After an old Hindu teaching]

It’s So Easy To Imagine That We’re Superior

If we can’t learn to work together on the things about which we are able to reach some agreement, we are fucked. That does seem more and more to be the case.

Despite that, I believe in compassion and doing what can be done to alleviate suffering, right here, right now. That’s why negative, non-constructive bullshit annoys me so much. It’s exactly the frame of mind that is going to destroy the human race. Don’t try, whine. It’s hopeless, don’t bother. That’s useless, don’t spend the money on it. They don’t deserve it, I do. I got mine, to hell with you. Roll over and play dead.

Oh, but look at those idiots! Look how fucked up they are! Boy, I’m glad I’m not like that. Let’s make fun of them (and maybe we’ll feel OK for a few minutes).

Apart from its inherent unattractiveness, the problem with that way of thinking is that it carries over to the issues we’re discussing. It breeds intolerance, and inability to see the good in people with whom we disagree. The habit of feeling superior can’t be turned on and off. It has to be unlearned. It can’t be unlearned without avoiding the kind of thinking that naturally leads to more of it.

That’s why I don’t look at sites like Walmart People, or tell or pass on ethnic jokes. Not because I worry that anyone will think I intend to be small-minded and mean, but because it is small-minded and mean, whether we want to think so or not. I spent roughly half a century thinking that way, then I realized that I didn’t like that person, so I’m trying to change. I try not to judge or make fun of individuals, I have too many issues of my own. As a society, however, we need a serious mental and emotional makeover.

It’s disheartening, and profoundly disappointing. But it’s no reason to stop trying.

Christmas Story

As some few of you are aware, I’m operations manager for a small company that provides uniformed security for condominiums. I want to tell you a brief story about something that happened to one of our employees. (we’ll call him Hank, since we have no employees by that name.)

Hank is a hard worker. He’s had major medical problems, and is still one of the most reliable workers we have. Money is short in his world, as it is in the world of most security guards.  A couple of weeks ago, Hank was driving home in his old van when he was stopped by a deputy sheriff. The deputy, Sgt. Michael Kennedy (his real name), informed Hank that he had a headlight out. Hank told him that he knew it was out, but that he simply hadn’t had the money or time to get it fixed, that he worked a lot of overtime, and so forth.

A conversation ensued, and what with Hank being an open sort of guy and the cop’s interest in information, Sgt. Kennedy soon had a picture of our man’s financial position, health issues, and the step-grandchildren for whom he was providing a home. He told Hank that he wasn’t going to give him a citation for the headlight, but that he’d have to give him a written warning. Then he took Hank’s driver’s license and walked back to his patrol car.

In a couple of minutes Sgt. Kennedy returned to the van, handed Hank his license with the warning folded around it, wished him a good evening, and returned to his car. Then Hank unwrapped the ticket from around his license and found a $100 dollar bill enclosed.

Think about that the next time you see a cop hassling a citizen.

…And to all, a good night!