The Cumulative Result of Niceness and Nastiness


Sunday at the grocery store some guy called me an asshole because I brisked in front of him to the checkout counter. Within roughly five minutes I had him apologizing, shaking my hand and wishing me a good evening.  The situation started because his wife (girlfriend, significant other) could not decide whether they had everything they needed. He had that pensive look on his face that showed he was trying to hold his composure but just wanted to get their shit and get out of the store. I wasn’t going to sit and hover there while they decided what to do next so I took my groceries and proceeded to the line. That’s when he threw his head up in the air and said “-and that guy just sniped us in line…..asshole.”

Well I really didn’t ‘snipe’ them because they were still debating whether they were actually going to get in line but that made no difference to this guy. He went over to the self checkout counter with his goods and his pissed off attitude. I could have left it there and let him walk out and continue to carry that unwarranted (at least from me) anger but I thought no, I am not an asshole and I want that guy to acknowledge it. I pulled my cart out of line and went to the self checkout and walked up to him.

“Why did you call me an asshole? Did you really need to do that?”

He didn’t even want to look at me. His girl wanted nothing to do with this confrontation and walked away. He tried the tough guy approach: “if you want we can take this outside.”

“No” I said with some calmness in my voice. “I think we can talk right here about it because all I want to know is why you feel you had to call me an asshole? I’m sorry if you feel I cut you off but I saw you were still trying to decide what to do so I got in line. If it was that important to you I would have gladly let you go in front of me.”

I could tell then that he started feeling like a dick about the situation when he saw I was trying to be nice about it. I extended my hand to shake his and after a moment’s pause, he reached out and shook it. Then he said he was sorry. “It’s all good” I said and he left and wished me a good evening.

More and more throughout the U.S. our streets are being littered with gunfire and this debate continues over the right to bear arms versus the right to shoot up everyone. Last week in my neighborhood some teenager got upset with his girlfriend and shot her; a silly love argument ending with a bullet in some young girl. Seattle suffered an attack from a gunman who many said was a happy, well adjusted young man – luckily he was subdued with pepper spray before he could take down more people. A 22 year old wealthy kid in Isla Vista, California went on a rampage shooting and stabbing people before putting a bullet in his own head, upset because females had rejected him. More and more disturbing situations keep happening and so often it seems easy to merely point at the weapon and say “let’s get rid of all those and the problem will cease.” I don’t think anyone really believes that will happen because America will never get rid of her guns. Neither will the powers that be try to confiscate them from us all – they would much rather try to take you down without firing a shot….they would much rather have you hand them the gun and say “make things safe”.

There is no quick fix solution to what our nation has become. Electronic socializing has replaced flesh and blood relations and we all tend to cry out wondering if anyone is really listening. Anger is quick to draw and faster to react on so a lot of people are beginning to lose their ability to use temperance…..don’t believe out tolerance level hasn’t been heightened? Try waiting on a locked up computer to clear….a mere 90 seconds can cause some people to go ballistic.Violent shootings are becoming more the norm and we need to look at what is causing people to lose their cool and go down that dark road of bloodshed. We need to stop pointing guns at one another because the common man or woman is not the one who made things so difficult to cope with in this country. One person is not the reason our lands are polluted or our health is failing, our streets and infrastructure need tending to and fewer people seem to be making a livable wage. Approach the fuckers who are deterring any constructive efforts to stop those issues in our lives – our governing representatives – and confront them just like I confronted the guy who called me an asshole. Why aren’t they spending our tax dollars on better living conditions for us rather than larger paychecks for themselves? Be kind to your fellow man and woman out there who pound the same proverbial pavement as you because unless we change the way our system is running this country into the dump, these everyday people may be the lifesaver to get you through another day. Have a bit of patience when things around you aren’t moving at the speed of sound because we have all become accustomed to a quicker pace of life, but when that pace slows down due to unforeseen obstacles, don’t let it drive you to the brink of wanting to draw a pistol. The more kindness – or at least cooperation – you can spread, the better the temperament of things will become. Communicate. Cooperate. Have some fucking compassion.


2 Responses to “The Cumulative Result of Niceness and Nastiness”

  1. 1 jason brumfiel
    06/11/2014 at 2:06 pm

    This article has just changed my life. Litterlally yesterday I was just thinking about this exact same belief and a way to word it. I am in the same boat as of lately. Struggling to control my emotions and filter my thoughts. I will be spreading this information and continuing to grow the priniples along the way to share it with others I think this will help. Thank you for posting.

    • 06/11/2014 at 11:32 pm

      Thanks so much for your words and comments. I was flabbergasted to see how just throwing a pebble in the proverbial pond rippled into touching so many people-and glad I could help spread some positive in the world…there is so much hostility out there we all need to start somewhere, help one another and keep the gun out of our mouths. Thanks again Jason.

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