Inquiring Minds. What Do YOU Think?

Here’s me last Friday morning:  It wasn’t even noon yet in my corner of the world and I’d already had my well-that’s-a-first moment of the day.  A complete stranger went off on me for no reason and ended his rant by calling me a “fucking scumbag.” 

My unique experience began with me driving to the store.  As I was merging into the turning lane leading into the parking lot of the store, the driver of the car behind me fully entered the turning lane, sped up, and attempted to cut me off.  Clearly it was of the utmost importance that he get into the parking lot and the store three seconds ahead of me. 

In my side-view mirror I could see what he was attempting to do but, being that my car was already halfway into the turning lane, I kept merging into the turning lane; thus defeating his attempt.  He honked his horn at me to say “hi.”  I waved back, “good morning!” and went about my business of turning and finding a parking place.

I had already parked my car and was in the process of getting out when an older guy advanced upon me and began yelling.  I don’t remember his first words because, quite frankly, I’m usually a zombie in the morning so I don’t focus well on the unnecessary.  So all I heard was “blah, blah, blah, it’s trash like you that’s bringing this country down!  Get a fucking job!” And then, since all I had done was stare at him without speaking, he gave a disgusted sneer, looked me up and down and ended with “you fucking scumbag!”  Then his short, stout, beer belly having, balding lil ass stomped off along his merry way to spread more love elsewhere.

My reaction to Grumpy’s tirade?  I went into the store, did my shopping and went about my day.  With America’s negative view of cops, I’ve had a couple of decades worth of experience in being accused of and called some very interesting (and inventive) things over the years.  People’s false opinions of me and accusations don’t really register on a personal level. I can say I’ve never been called a fucking scumbag or told to get a job though.  So that was interesting.

Now fast forward to this morning:  I’m driving to the store because I’m jonesin’ for a latte.  I’m about ten miles from my destination when I see a car pulled off to the side of the road.  I pull up alongside the car to talk to the driver and see none other than….Mr. Grumpy from last Friday in the driver’s seat!

I asked if he needed help.  Grumpy said yes, he’d ran out of gas.  I told him I had a gas can and would be happy to take him to town to get gas.  He said he appreciated it, got into my SUV and away to the store we went.

While in the store getting my latte, I noticed Mr. Grumpy was at the cash register trying to pay for gas.  He had a bunch of coins in his pocket that he was having the cashier count out.  The amount he had wouldn’t have paid for much more than a gallon of gas.  Not wanting to embarrass him, I asked him to do a trade–pay for my latte and I’d put his gas on my card since I needed to fill up my tank anyway.  Grumpy hesitantly agreed.

I drove him back to his car and we had a short disagreement over him adding all of the gas from the can to his car (it was an 8 gal. can).  I told him to take it all, no big deal, maybe he could do the same for someone else in the future when the time came. 

While we were waiting for the gas to be dumped in his tank from the can, he told me I looked familiar to him and asked if I worked or lived around there.  I told him no, I’m just visiting the area; I probably just have one of those faces.  As I was replying, Grumpy read the words on my t-shirt.  It said, “Easily Distracted.”  It was the same shirt I’d been wearing the Friday before when he’d called me a “fucking scumbag.”

Grumpy’s body did a minute pause before he looked up to look me in the eyes.  His eyes told me he’d just remembered where he’d seen me before.  I looked back at him, smiled, and told him it looked like the can was empty.  He looked back down and didn’t look at me again, even as he handed me the can and told me thank you several times. 

I told him I hoped the rest of his day went better for him and drove away.


Now.  I’m curious about what you think:  I didn’t set out to teach him any lessons but in hindsight, I wonder if he learned any.  Do you think he did?  Or, do you think he’ll forget and be the same judgmental asshole who unloads his anger at the world on another unsuspecting innocent party?  Would you have helped Grumpy?  I’d help again because that’s just me, but, do you think I was stupid for helping?  Lastly, what do you think was going through Grumpy’s mind when he realized who I was (I tend to think his first thought was “oh, shit!” but I wonder what he thought after that)?  No judgment here in your answers, inquiring minds really are just interested in others’ views.



I Have Learned (Part II):

  1. Accepting people for who they are is not mandatory but you short change yourself if you don’t.

  2. Perception is not reality.

  3. Loving someone from a distance is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and them.

  4. Hindsight is just that.  Don’t stare into the past too long or you’ll be goober slapped by the future.

  5. Fear both paralyzes and motivates.  The key is to know when you should relax and let it go or when to hang onto it and use it to your advantage.

  6. If you see someone in need of help, don’t pause to evaluate, judge, condemn, or criticize.  Just help.

  7. If you can’t train a dog it’s doubtful you have any business being in a committed relationship.

  8. While Hope is important, Belief and Faith are much more so.

  9. Forgive those who do you harm and wish them well.  Even if you never say it out loud.

  10. Taking care of one’s own best interests is not selfish.  In fact, by doing so, one often serves the interests of others.

  11. If you are not willing to stand in front of them on the firing line when it’s their time to face God, you really have no right to tell another person how to live their life.

  12. With everything in life, you always have a choice.  You may not like the choices you have, but you always have a choice.




I Have Learned (Part I):

  1. Divine Timing is a beautiful thing.

  2. It is okay to go against societal norms.  Every so often, it is even necessary.

  3. Respect.  Almost all of your adult experiences will be colored by how well you understand–and apply–this word.

  4. Murphy’s Law is real and indiscriminate.  When it’s your turn, breathe deep and just flow with it.

  5. Wisdom & knowledge are not mutually exclusive.

  6. Wealth does not infer “class.”  Poverty does not infer “trash.”

  7. Pick your battles.  Fight only for what is truly important.

  8. Karma is a bitch (a really big bitch).  You always want to be on her good side.  So act accordingly.

  9. At the root of most interpersonal conflict is the mistaken belief that everyone else thinks, speaks, acts, and reacts the same way you would.

  10. “To Thine Own Self Be True” is really just a bullshit statement until you’re 35 or older.  Thereafter, you start realizing just how brilliantly that one statement sums up your future goals in life.



Running With The Herd

At my old job we had a daily meeting to exchange intel.  At the end of that meeting, the head honcho would always end the meeting with the phrase, “keep your head down and run with the herd.”

That phrase never failed to bring a smile or a chuckle from most of those present at the meeting.  Looking back though, I often wonder just how many people understood the underlying message.  Because there was a message.

In the most polite terms, it was a very clear warning: do something to draw attention to yourself and you risk being culled from the herd.  You could even take that warning one step further–do something that makes you stand out, you will make yourself a target of predators.  Whether the predators came from outside the herd or from within would only be discovered after you made the mistake of making yourself a target; when it would be too late.

You don’t have to be the slacker, the whiner, or the instigator to be the target.  Nor do you have to be the do-gooder, the suck up or the know-it-all.  Although being any of the aforementioned will get you notice from the rest of the herd, every herd has these types so you are relatively safe from being preyed upon by the others. In fact, from what I’ve seen, the herd is more comfortable having the aforementioned types in their herd.

So how do you get culled from the herd?  By making the herd uncomfortable.  You show yourself to be stronger, faster, more agile.  More…adept.  It is at this point that you have made yourself a target.  It is also at this point that you better be prepared to find another herd or, prepare to become lunch.  Because once you’ve attracted the spotlight and made your herd uncomfortable?  The only question that remains is which predator will pounce on you–one from outside your herd or… one from within?