Friday, September 5, 2014

Kim's Small Request Of All Humanity

Why Not?

Seems Reasonable. And, It's Not As If Anything Else Has Worked.
Over the recent holiday, a friend and I were talking about Life In Our City. We spoke ruefully about the number of humans -- resident, transient and tourist -- who seemed packed into the few square miles of this peninsula, and how generally aggressive (particularly in traffic), how quick to take offense, how eager people seemed to go on the offensive over the most trivial issues.  They fought so fiercely, the old homily goes, because the stakes were so small.

"It's general incivility," my friend said, and shook her head. "Some people just don't want to put out the effort to be polite -- and it does take some effort."

We agreed there were events still playing out in the world, a sense we had held since childhood about the perceived stability of things that we could feel, shifting now, right under our feet; my friend sighed and (as I've heard a number of mothers do) wondered about the future world her children would live in.

Then she described a recent altercation while driving, with her pre-teen daughter in the back seat, and having to suffer the antics of a classic Piltdown Man in traffic.

"Eventually, I was able to pull up beside him," she related, "and I maintained myself -- didn't call him a witless motherfucker. Didn't rant and rave. I just looked at him and said, 'Come on; could you just try not to be a Dick? D'you think?'  That was right from the heart. And naturally, he wouldn't look at me."

As I'm fond of saying, about three people (four, if you count Mistah Charlie, Phd.) and a Superintelligent Parakeet read this blog. It informs no one, influences no one. It is not about to become the spark from which the global equivalent of the Slow Food Movement in politeness begins.

But my friend has a point. And yes, it looks very simple.  I'm only a Dog -- but I actually think she's on to something, because how one changes behavior, at times,  seem that simple to me. It's the Yoda theorem:  Be A Dick You Must Not.

So, for all of us -- from the Pope and the Dali Lama, all the way down to you and me; all of us -- Just Try Not To Be A Dick.

And -- pass it on. Perhaps we can get something started here.

1 comment:

  1. i am honored to be mentioned in the text of this post

    i have nothing very interesting of my own to offer on this topic - rodney king, whose eventful life reached its culmination two years ago, said some pertinent words, but i'm sure everyone knows them already

    somewhat relevant is the following by james tate, whose poem about a dog, "the promotion", has appeared in this comment section earlier - this poem is about a goat

    It Happens Like This

    I was outside St. Cecelia’s Rectory
    smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.
    It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish
    brown here and there. When I started to walk away,
    it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered
    what the laws were on this kind of thing. There’s
    a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People
    smiled at me and admired the goat. “It’s not my goat,"
    I explained. “It’s the town’s goat. I’m just taking
    my turn caring for it.” “I didn’t know we had a goat,"
    one of them said. “I wonder when my turn is.” “Soon,"
    I said. “Be patient. Your time is coming.” The goat
    stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked
    up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew
    everything essential about me. We walked on. A police-
    man on his beat looked us over. “That’s a mighty
    fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire.
    “It’s the town’s goat," I said. “His family goes back
    three-hundred years with us," I said, “from the beginning.”
    The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped
    and looked up at me. “Mind if I pat him?” he asked.
    “Touching this goat will change your life," I said.
    “It’s your decision.” He thought real hard for a minute,
    and then stood up and said, “What’s his name?” “He’s
    called the Prince of Peace," I said. “God! This town
    is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there’s mystery
    and wonder. And I’m just a child playing cops and robbers
    forever. Please forgive me if I cry.” “We forgive you,
    Officer," I said. “And we understand why you, more than
    anybody, should never touch the Prince.” The goat and
    I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning
    to wonder where we would spend the night.

    From Lost River by James Tate, published by Sarabande Books, Inc.
    Copyright © 2003 by James Tate


Add a comment Here. Play Nice, Kids.