Monday, October 07, 2013

Taking (Small) Stands

I'm writing this from the Bay Area, on our way tomorrow to attend Marla's wedding at the end of the week. We're hoping the Iowa fall weather doesn't present  problems.
I'm generally not inclined to write much about anything I've done. As with everyone, I have good characteristics and others that aren't so good. A few things have popped up lately, though, that can make for decent stories, if not an entire lesson.
I started going to my barber a couple of years ago when he took over the one-chair spot of Bonnie, whose age and health caught up to her. Ted, the current guy. does a decent job with hair, but his opinions can be a little jarring. The last time I went, a couple of guys showed up and took seats, waiting for him to finish with me. Next thing I know he was commenting oddly on things like Treyvon Martin, the late first victim of George Zimmerman. The thesis of his little rant seemed to be "Oh, us poor white guys. We can never catch a break because of all those creeps in Washington."
I wasn't completely surprised to hear this kind of stuff, but folks here are more moderate than most places, and I had heard his former gripes on behalf of working people, which I had no problems with.  Anyway, I stayed in the chair, made a little face and resolved the same day to start looking for a new barber. I doubt Ted will ever miss me, but I think I'd feel better about going somewhere else, because I have one black friend, and hope to have more.

At Toastmaster meetings, people can speak on pretty much any subject, though loudly proclaiming one's own beliefs may not be in good taste unless you're willing to hear someone else's convictions when it's their turn. So our club doesn't have much of that
Even so, I thought of a way to make a moral point. I was illustrating how speakers who produce the best  quote sound smarter. I then proceeded to recite the words of a Mormon hymn. The message (seven verses in all) was Christian, but not really doctrinaire in its message. I'm not ashamed to say I enjoyed doing it. I fouled up a bit at one point, but finished OK. None of the members' written comments expressed any discomfort. Whew!

One of the tennis players around here is a fellow named Phil. It's strange to me that Phil never seems to actually enjoy himself when playing. If he makes an error (which we all do), he unfailingly follows it with a string of  "Oh, s---". His comments have been known to involve deity as well, though he is not alone in that practice.
I don't like hearing this, and I'm aware that a playground sits just on the other side of a chain link fence from our sorry little pair of courts. A couple of weeks ago I reassured Phil in a kind of sarcastic way that there were no children in the park, so he was free to emote any way he wished, even though the presence of children had never hampered him before. This annoyed Phil a little and he made a remark poking fun at my view of God. I felt obliged to reply, and did. We never approached any violence, and no doubt I'll be playing with or against him again. Is he likely to rethink his language choices in the face of this tiny confrontation? I doubt it. On the other hand, how can you measure what isn't said?  


Post a Comment

<< Home