Sticks and Stones…..

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When I was in high school marching band, I used to get blisters on my hands from drumming.

No amount of bandages or tape would help.

Same thing with gloves.

Someone suggested I soak my hands in a tannic acid solution to toughen up my skin.

I’m not sure if that was wise advice or that I even tried it but it was  an option I considered to deter the blisters.

It seems to me a lot of people today need to toughen up their skin.

We seem overly sensitive and easily offended.

Folks just can’t seem to laugh something off.

When I was a kid, we used to say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

But that apparently isn’t the norm for today.

The statute of limitations is null and void.

People are even being taken to task today for things said or shared years ago.

It’s as if we were never young and dumb.

I was president of that club.

Apparently, we were supposed to be wise and all-knowing the moment we left the womb.

But this wonderful social media monster we have all fed is now coming back to devour some people and it just doesn’t seem right to me.

Apparently, there’s no room anymore for “youthful transgressions”.

I also cringe at some of the “victims” who feign hurt or dismay from something not even intended for them.

The pendulum of public opinion has swung so far that you are no longer innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The scarlet letter is pasted to your  person with jobs being lost and reputations sullied before anything is actually proven in a court of law.

It just isn’t right.

The burden of proof has become the ability to be the first to point a finger.

Scary.

I remember an incident I was a party to more than 40 years ago when three active-duty Air Force buddies were reminiscing about their childhoods.

One of them recalled a guy who helped around the family farm and he was referred to as a “good, old ‘n’ word”.

It  was not uttered in a venomous tone or even meant as disrespectful.

But a young, black guy from Philadelphia put his arm on the shoulder of the “speaker” and basically told him using that word, in any context, just wasn’t “cool”.

And that was the end of the “incident”.

I remember when I heard the ‘n’ word spoken on that day and in that setting that I thought, “Not the best choice of words.”

But cooler heads prevailed and reason won out over a knee-jerk response.

It turned out to be a huge learning experience for the three of us.

I guess that’s what I liked about my time in the military.

It put me face-to-face with shades of people with widely different perspectives and experiences and we all had to figure out a way to work together.

That time in the USAF did more to balance my life than anything else I’ve ever done.

It’s not to say I hold hands with everyone and sing  “Kumbaya”.

But I really don’t care about your religion, or how you vote or who you sleep with, I’m just looking for folks I can count on when I need their help to get the job done.

When our family gets together, we use sarcasm and humor to poke fun at prejudices.

Our discussions can zip right along with zingers and double entendre’s flying about but the net result is, we find ourselves laughing at biases and narrow-mindedness.

I’ve found prejudices can be fairly laughable when you  think about them.

When I hear someone utter a thought that is obviously “skinny-brained” (that’s another way to say narrow-minded!),  I often chuckle before shaking my head.

To realize  some people actually feel that way or believe that concept is both funny and sad at the same time.

Opinions can be formed by perspectives.

The four gospels are about the same basic material but what is written varies greatly because of what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John actually witnessed.

Put someone on a chair in the middle of the room and have 4 folks sitting at different spots write about what they see.

They are all in the same room looking at the same thing, yet they see something different.

Perspectives.

Views.

So can someone actually be “hurt” by something said by someone else?

I’m sure it happens.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is something I personally buy into.

I’m a big shrugger.

About the only thing that even starts to get a rise out of me is “Go Blue”.

But that’s an Ohio State thing.

But there’s a deep-seated belief I have that most people are basically good.

Therefore, what they might utter in a quick response is more due to emotions that deep thought.

That’s why e-mails and texts are lousy ways to convey opinions.

When I hosted call-in radio shows, we used a “tape-delay” system which would allow you to bleep out any profanities before they hit the air.

It’s what we need today.

Perhaps an “opinion pause”.

If it seemed like a good idea when you first thought it, set is aside for a moment and let it percolate.

Good ideas and thoughts will still be legit after they age a moment or two.

It’s good to be first.

It’s better to be right.

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