Over the years I’ve witnessed many people pointing fingers at individuals and explaining “that character right there is a real problem.” Heckfire, I’ve done it myself more times than I can count. Guilty! I’ve observed certain individuals and was sure they were the reason I felt like getting them out of the picture would make life much better for, well, everyone. The final solution!
Pondering this line of thought, I remember the venerated western writer Louis L’Amour’s words of wisdom in one of his many dime novels. Without digging through a stack of a hundred paperbacks, I will paraphrase it. “Many times thinking killing someone would solve your problems, you will find that a year down the road, they are not even in the picture.”
On top of that, it might just be… that they are not the problem at all. It might just be you. A good test of this is if you have a long list of aggravating people who need to vanish from your existence. What? Is it possible that I need an attitude adjustment? Maybe. After all, there are a steady supply of annoying people out there aren’t there? Pointing them out should be a prime objective as a community service!
Right here in Baytown we have a number of community activists who make it their mission to point out anything and everything that is wrong. They are so good at it that they never contribute anything other than negatives. They are the self-righteous pitbulls of holy community awareness and are quick to speak for the masses. Unfortunately, they are about the only people who see them as they see themselves.
Do they do well the majority of the time? I imagine. Would it be better if they offered solutions? Definitely. Would they be perceived by their peers in a more positive light? Absolutely.
Recently on a public forum I was slandered and called dishonest with a very negative reputation and a “crappy human being”. It was vicious and unwarranted and as far as I know, 99% untrue. To my credit, I did not retaliate and friends came to my defense. However, being attacked like that, however untrue it is, still hurts. I asked legitimate questions and in return was verbally abused by the very person tasked with answering them.
|What? Is it even possible I could be the real problem and not that nutjob?|
The forum owner/moderator friend of mine was so distressed over the malicious words that they went to the emergency room with a stress attack. He then filed a formal complaint with the parent organization over this person who holds a position with them. The whole episode caused me to look at myself to see if I had acted inappropriately. Did I bait him a bit? Yes. Was I mean spirited? No. Do I hold a position in the organization that qualifies me to ask these questions? Yes. In retrospect, I simply wanted answers for his apparent inconsistencies concerning me and others.
The bottom line is this is one of those characters I began the column over. Is it me or is it them? It’s probably both of us. Red ants and black ants. We collide. Should I shoulder the blame even if he won’t? I will. I will because I want to take the low road and because I realize I may have built this hornet nest along the way. Relationships with our coworkers, acquaintances, and friends are something none of us should take for granted and I of all people should be more careful of the words and text I project.