Monday, October 3, 2011

Courtesy, Chivalry, and Other Stuff We’ve Ruined…

Everyone has a breaking point. It’s true. There is some trigger that lies within every human that, when pulled, unleashes a fiery rage from which the rest of us must flee. For some of us, that trigger is not buried all that deep. It’s right there under the surface, visible, just begging to be pulled. It’s never really given time to reload or recharge before being called upon to fire yet again. For others, the trigger is buried deep within them. It’s accessed so infrequently that it’s bursts are powered by the pressure and repressed rage from which some of history’s best rants have sprung.

Clark W. Griswold goes nuts....

The one constant, no matter what type of “trigger” you possess, is that the finger pulling your trigger is usually attached to the hand of an asshole. I don’t use that word to offend. I don’t use it to shock anyone, or to scare off anyone living within an overly sensitive world. I use that word because it accurately describes about 90% of the world in which we live today. I believe science has shown, and history will verify that only about 20% of the world is actually an asshole, the rest of us have simply been driven to assholery by the rest of you assholes!

Remember when you were expected, as a man, to hold the door open for a woman? Remember when the woman would thank you for this effortless gesture? It still happens on occasion, but for the most part it is just another example of morals lost. I hold the door open for women, all the time. I’m not talking about the women with whom I share a home. If you don’t hold the door open for your own wife, you don’t deserve her. Period. I’m talking about complete strangers. I take time out of whatever I’m doing to step back, and hold a door open for women all over town. Nine times out of ten, the women do not even break their conversation as they stroll past me, so immersed in their own worlds that they don’t even notice. Frequently, I will do the old “oh, you’re welcome” but for the most part, I just move on. Calling attention to their selfishness will only encourage them to display it in more aggressive fashion and I’m still not allowed to punch women. (I’m sure that social law will be antiquated soon enough.)

What about men? Men, even the most refined of us, are naturally rude on occasion. We don’t mean to be. I sincerely don’t mean to fart in the bathroom while my wife is getting ready for work. There are several things that men do naturally that are still considered rude. Those arewiggers not what concern me. The things that concern me are this “rap-star” mentality that seems to have swept our world. If I have to step out of the way to keep from running over another little bastard in a wife-beater style t-shirt, and a respect me or else attitude; I may have to create a hostage situation. You don’t get respect just because you have the ‘courage’ to call a woman a ‘bitch’ or a ‘ho’. Now, before anyone goes claiming that was a racist statement, it wasn’t. Period. It was not racist and for you to assume that it was makes YOU the racist. I’m sick of having to watch every word that comes out of my mouth for fear of offending your precious little world. I was not referring to any skin-color in the above statement. I was simply referring to anyone who acts like they deserve respect for anything other than working their butt off to earn it. If this group happens to reside within a specific pigmentation spectrum and you also happen to fall within that spectrum; clean up your community and stop blaming everyone else!

It was once considered that there were certain professions that, once achieved, grandfathered you into the world of social graces. Doctors for example, were once considered to be beyond reproach. Now, doctors are just as guilty as anyone else. My wife has been trying for three healthcare weeks to get in touch with her doctor. it’s a simple phone call. It will require nothing but maybe thirty seconds of his precious time, but she has yet to talk to him. Last time she was in his office, he prescribed a new medication. He told her to try it out and call him back with the results. She did her part. He has failed conclusively. She has navigated her way through his maze of personality-less assistants who have made promises they never intended to keep. She is now running extremely low on her meds, almost out, and her doctor finally called back today. (3 weeks – 7 phone calls – 7 promises that it would be taken care of that day.) He didn’t even call personally, he had one of his impersonal minions call and tell her that a prescription has been called in for her. I guess medical school now includes classes in assholery.   

My father and my grandfathers taught me to always treat a lady with respect, no matter how she may treat herself. My grandfathers would be ashamed of what the world they fought so hard to defend has become since their departure. I’m willing to bet that, if you’re reading this post, yours would be ashamed as well.  Chivalry used to require notions such as fair-play, nobility, valor, honor, courtesy, and loyalty. How many of those attributes can you spot in the world around you right now? Not just in terms of how men treat women. No, women don’t get a free pass just because men don’t hold the door open for you anymore. You don’t get to allow trainwrecks like Heidi Montag to achieve even a smidgeon of fame and then cry that chivalry is dead. You want to be treated like a ‘lady’, act like one. Stories of chivalry happen to women worth pursuing. They were women for whom the pursuing men would gladly pledge their eternal loyalty. You never heard tale of a maiden being “pounded in the bathroom at Steak n’ Shake.” 

What about customer service? Remember that concept? Am I alone in wanting to bludgeon the receptionist who looks up with an annoyed look on her face when I enter her office and waits for me to speak to her and justify my presence in her world? There are a few shining examples of exceptions to this rule, but not many. Occasionally, you’ll get that one server that makes ordinary food in an ordinary restaurant exceptional. More often that not, you get a rude, disinterested ‘waitress’ that makes delicious food in an exceptional atmosphere taste like crap. Don’t think that you’re getting off easy just because you have been on the receiving end ofbad-customer-service such service. Bad service in restaurants is the product of not only a decline in general values, but centuries of degrading, ignorant treatment by impossible customers. I’ve spent enough time in the trenches of the Food Service Industry to know that bad-service is usually the fault of the guest, not the server. People who have never worked behind the bar on a Friday night should not be allowed to drink in one. People who have never run an eight table section on Valentine’s Day should not be allowed to make a reservation in one. The madness that takes place behind the scenes in a restaurant would shock the average person, but it’s necessary to make you feel like you just ate something you couldn’t make at home. Still, if you don’t like the service, you are always encouraged to call the corporate offices and file your complaint. Just navigate your way through a maze of automated response systems, foreign accents, and unpredictable transfers to departments you swear are being made up as the call progresses. Customer service has become a fairy tale.

What do we do? How can we get back to the way it was when our parents were raising us to respect who we are, what we have, and where we came from? We can’t. Sorry, but those days are gone. The battlefield has changed, as they say. My parents had the ability to shut me off from the world when they needed to. They could control my exposure to the world around me and they could explain, on their terms, the things for which I had no understanding. If I saw a news story that confused me, I didn’t get to run to my room and look it up on the net. I didn’t get to pull my smart-phone, or some other gadget out of my pocket and have 82,699,000 results in .22 seconds. I love technology. Without it, I  wouldn’t be sharing these thoughts withPhoto Jun 19, 9 03 52 PM you. With that in mind, how do we get back on track? How do we make sure that our kids have a world better than the one we now inhabit? It starts at home. Yes, it’s a cliché but it’s so true. Complaining about the current political landscape does absolutely NOTHING to make your children better citizens. Being the first to know what the star of the latest vampire movie ate for lunch might make you irresistible to pale-skinned teenagers, but it will not help to make those same teenagers responsible adults. Take charge. The old adage about TV being a babysitter no longer applies. TV has so much more to offer than it did in the days surrounding that phrase’s birth. Computers and the internet are fantastic tools for growth if used the right way. Right now, however, porn is the only industry in our country that seems to be stable.

Take charge of the things you can actually control. Make YOUR family the family you want it to be. Don’t rely on outside influences to raise your kids and then gripe when they turn out to act just like the characters they see on TV.

As always, thanks for playing!