Tag Archives: respect

Ides of March Ramblings

Warning: profanity ahead.

Here’s the simple, honest truth of where I am as a person: my tolerance for other people’s bullshit is gone.  If I didn’t directly cause the issue that’s got your ass puckered, don’t turn your ire on me because the backlash will be painfully honest, unfiltered, and more than likely profane.  If I did create the issue, I’ll be the first to apologize and make amends for my transgression, but if I didn’t, don’t even think about taking it out on me.  When I was young and insecure and weak, I let too many people walk all over me and take advantage of me and trample my self-esteem, but the great thing about a little stroll through hell is that it reforges your will into something stronger, something more resilient, and at times something a little meaner.

My trip through hell mostly consisted of losing my children and learning to live with that emptiness in my heart.  I was stripped bare to my soul and forced to look at myself void of any facade.  I saw myself pretty clearly: the flaws, the scars, the wounds, and the good.  In those darkest moments, when I truly was alone and had nothing, something quite amazing happened.  I learned to love myself.  I have every excuse in the universe to be a son of a bitch, a user, a junkie, a drunk, or a derelict, but instead of allowing others to rob me of the goodness and decency in my heart, I’ve continued to live by compassion, respect, loyalty, devotion, and enterprise, and no one on this earth will ever dampen my self-esteem again.

I’ve also, quite literally, faced my own mortality three times so far.  At 8, I got a serious blood infection from a tick bite and at the worst weighed 40 pounds.  Obviously, I was too young then to comprehend the gravity of that situation, but as an adult, I get it.  At 16, I endured the shotput accident and learned the fragility of life.  At 38, I thought my body was failing me and had to deal with the prospect of losing my independence and possibly my life before my children were grown.  To a man like me, that’s about as terrifying as it gets, but I’ve endured all three and come through the other side stronger, wiser, and yes, a little harder.

So before you step to me with some self-generated bullshit or something someone else has done to ruffle your feathers, you better take a long, close look in my eyes and make sure you’re prepared for the blow-back because I will not tolerate it, not from you, not even from my sons.  I’ve paid my motherfucking dues and have earned the right to stand up for myself.  And you best believe me when I say if I can live without my kids in my life every day, I damn sure can live without you, no matter who you are.  If you come at me with respect and treat me with dignity, you’ll find a pretty decent man who will offer you courtesy and compassion, tolerance and acceptance, but if you cross my line in the sand, just be forewarned that this hardened piece of hickory has a little sting to it.

Thursday Morning Ramblings

Today’s blog is about respect and common courtesy.  In the words of Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?”  Is it just me or does it seem like simple, basic rules of etiquette are relics of the past?  Yesterday, I was treated in the most disrespectful, condescending manner of my life, and while I somehow managed to maintain my composure and not blow up in response, I was so angry after we hung up the phone that it took me a good ten minutes to compose myself enough to enter the classroom.  I was so angry I was literally crying, that kind of angry.

It’s one thing to have a difference of opinion or to have to tell someone something disappointing.  Hell, I have to do it every semester in school with failing students, but there is no excuse for being condescending and pompous in the process.  There’s no reason for arrogance and dismissiveness.   Tone of voice and word choice are important, and in professional arenas, it’s not unreasonable to expect a person to behave as a professional.  Part of professionalism is showing respect to customers and clients, no matter the circumstances.  Respect doesn’t mean ass-kissing.  It means showing consideration for and recognizing the other person’s rights as an individual.

I wrote the other day about Coach Brumley Greene humiliating me during a scrimmage, but I can also tell you that off the field that man has always treated me with utmost respect.  There’s a clear difference between a coach trying to motivate a player and a customer service provider showing contempt for a customer.  Have we just lost this concept in our society?  Am I a dinosaur who needs to adapt to the new norms of our culture?  I don’t know anymore, but what I do know is that what happened to me yesterday is not an isolated incident, and I’m not the only one who has noticed an erosion of etiquette in our society.

Please, share your own experiences or opinions on this subject.  I’m curious to know what you think.