Saturday, May 12, 2007

In the beginning of the great book Huckleberry Finn, Huck talks about living with the Widow Douglas and how she tried to civilize him. He couldn’t stand it no longer so he lit out. The Widow wouldn’t let him smoke, she said it was a mean practice and wasn’t clean. Huck said she took snuff too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.
I think about that phrase everyday when I encounter rude people. Their misbehavior is all right because they done themselves. Everyone tends to rationalize their behavior, no matter how bad it may be. They excuse themselves for being a jerk. It’s the all too prevalent attitude of “me first”, with a total disregard for the feelings and opinions of others.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with driving. The road is filled with me first jerks who think what they do is okay because, “they done it them self.”
It’s okay for them to tailgate with the message to move out of the way, the road belongs to me. They then rush around, cut in front and arrive at the red light or their destination 10 seconds earlier while putting others lives in jeopardy. It’s the same attitude that prevails when shopping, getting in line, and most everything we do which involves other people.
What happened to kindness, consideration and politeness? My daughter, who belongs to a mega-church in Dallas tells me she has seen people rushing out of the parking lot at the conclusion of a service, give the policeman in attendance the high sign and speed around everyone else.
What a nice world it would be if we stopped to consider the feelings and opinions of others. I suspect gun sales would go down and we might use nuclear energy for power rather than bombs. Maybe this is the world of the afterlife. In the mean time I am like Huck.” I can’t stand it now longer”. I’m ready to lite out but I’m afraid there is now where else to go.


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