Social Spine

Way back in High School I was on a pseudo date with the girl who I was semi-chastely crushing on.  We were hanging out the house of one of her friends, and there were a couple of other people there, none of whom I had met more than a couple of times.  The conversation somehow ended up on a friend of mine named Brad.  The conversation was not complimentary.  As the second person was taking pot-shots I started to feel guilty.  I started to compose a speech in my head which would show them how loyal and funny and clever Brad was and how they were all dolts for their inability to see it.  What I ended up saying was.

You are all welcome to your opinions, but Brad happens to be a good friend of mine, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk bad about him in front of me.

This was followed by almost a minute of awkward silence while everyone individually scrambled for a safe topic.  My heart was pounding like I had just picked a fight.  Eventually the conversation managed to move on and we had a reasonably enjoyable afternoon.  Later the girl I wasn’t quite dating squeezed my arm and whispered how wonderful it was that I stood up for my friend and I mumbled something back that sounded like “aww shucks ma’am, didn’t see how I had any choice in the matter.”

 

A couple of years back at work we had a change in our LOTO policy that said only operations could hang and second check LockOuts.  This was not a change in the actual written policy, but rather an interpretation of “competent personnel.”  Someone in maintenance was complaining about the change and I was in complete agreement with them… Until he said “I mean if D can hang a lock surely I can.”  And I replied “I don’t appreciate you implying that D is incompetent, he’s one of my best guys.”  This was met with a sputtering denial “I didn’t say he was incompetent” and the sudden rapt attention of several other people in the room.

No, You didn’t say he was incompetent.  You said “If D can hang a lock surely I can” which is clearly meant to imply that D is the least competent person you can think of to contrast yourself with.

He then said something to the effect of “that’s not what I meant” with a weak explanation that he was comparing himself as an electrician to D as an operator in their ability to handle breakers.  I let him have his out, since my point was made and there was no point in sowing un-needed animosity.  No one came and told me they were proud of me this time, but I felt the easy comfort of someone whose actions and beliefs are aligned.

 

A couple of weeks ago we were eating at “the Waffle Inn” here in Blytheville.  I would recommend the Gyro, or the Philly, or anything off the breakfast menu.  The owner was giving crap to one of the customers.  It was kind of bantering, but kind of rude.  It was a pair of firemen sitting at the counter, and somehow it had come up that one of them was on foodstamps.  The local restraunteur could not comprehend how a person could be employed and still need this kind of assistance, and jokingly accused him ripping off of poor old ladies by buying the foodstamps  for 50cents on the dollar…  

It did not occur to me to say anything.  I sat quietly and ate with my family.  They weren’t talking to me or about me.  And I just let it go.  I don’t know exactly what I would’ve said, but it would probably involve a confession that we were on WIC assistance when I was employed as a second class petty officer in the US Navy willing to risk my life to defend his country.  That not all jobs are sufficient to take care of a family, and that maybe you should respect this guy you’re picking on for his willingness to risk his life to secure our safety an protect our property.

Been niggling at me just a little in the back of my mind for week wondering if I was weak or if it was none of my business.  Then I saw this:

The video made me realize that just because it’s none of my business doesn’t mean that my voice wouldn’t’ve been welcomed.

I hope I do something right soon so this quits bothering me.

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