Friday, May 11, 2012


Most people who know me will vouch that I'm a social butterfly. I like to be out and about whenever possible. And when you're flitting around as much as I am, you're bound to witness a whole lot of human interaction. 

Now, for the most part, I would like to think that people as a whole are kind, caring, and decent. I see the good things that people do for one another. One day I might witness a woman offering to help an elderly man across the street, another, I may see a man offering up directions to a woman who is obviously lost.

But there are also a lot of ugly people in the world, too. Hateful people. The kind of people that normal people (like you and I) don't really understand.

Hate - the kind of hate that chills you to your core - the stuff you see in the local news every single day. The troubled teen who kills his neighbor’s entire family; the withdrawn middle-aged man who tortures then kills teenage girls; the clinically depressed woman who drowns her own children in a bathtub. Obviously, these are the worst-case scenarios but unfortunately, we hear about these horrific circumstances way more often then the good ones.

When I think about all of these outrageous things that are constantly happening around us, I have to consider the less obvious ways that we are hateful to one another. Perhaps our incessant use of social media and the bombardment of never-ending technology has made us a little...cold. But have you ever stopped to think about the less extreme acts of hate? The stuff that you don't necessarily see on the news, but that happens right smack dab in front of you? I know you've witnessed at least one idiot screaming at the person behind the Customer Service desk while waiting to check-in at the airport, or while ordering an espresso at Starbucks. I've seen the malicious ways that people treat one another for no apparent reason. Maybe it's out of sheer frustration or maybe it's an ego thing. Or perhaps some people just have a false sense of entitlement - those who feel like the rest of the population owes them something – and it’s usually more that what the rest of us are getting.

There are days that I can picture that rude customer from earlier in the day going home later that night and plopping his/her butt on the couch, calling up a friend and spouting off something like:

It was so ridiculous that the airlines bumped my flight back a whole hour. I mean, seriously. You should have heard me. I really laid into the bitch at the desk, too. I wish you could have seen the look on her face. I made her look soooo stupid.

Now, I can say with absolute confidence that you just made yourself look ignorant. If you really want to get what you want, I would like to think that most people would recognize and understand that you have to be nice to the person that you're making such demands to. After all, they're the ones that are holding the cards to your fate at that moment in time. Sugar catches more flies than vinegar. When someone screams at me, it only makes me want to give them absolutely nothing: 

You want an apple, you say? Well guess what? You're an obnoxious, self-centered egotistical, nit-wit and you’re definitely getting an orange. Now, would you like me to schedule surgery so you can have that stick removed?

The next time you feel the urge to scream at someone who is simply trying to help you, try to remember one thing: you never know what the person that you're screaming at (like your misbehaved toddler) might be going through. Perhaps he/she has just lost a loved one - or has just been diagnosed with incurable cancer - or has maybe has just come back to work after suffering a massive heart attack (jeez, go easy on the poor guy or you might give him another!).

Don't get me wrong, I most certainly have my moments. There are days that it takes a great deal of strength to just step back, and just take a few breaths....Woosah. But I have also found that being nice doesn't require that much more of an effort than being rude or indifferent to someone you don't know.