As a longstanding fan of humanity, I am nevertheless continually amazed by our behavior.
We certainly are a rude little bunch, aren’t we? From the slap-in-the-face inconsideration of people screaming at their children in grocery stores to the braying of a group in a movie theater, you’d think that there was no consensus amongst peoples on appropriate behavior.
I suspect that this is a world-wide phenomenon, although I’m sure it’s more noticeable in settings of large groups.
But it’s not any particular group of people, is it? It’s pockets of people.
And that’s all it takes: a pocket.
So what I was thinking was this: are there the smaller rules? And if there are, where are they? Because while I believe I got a copy as a child, I am not sure I got the same copy as everyone else.
Who do I talk to to get another copy?
Better yet, maybe we should just write them up ourselves, huh? The small rules on being a good guy. I mean, I’m not talkin’ the Ten Commandments here. There’s no need to bring burning bushes into this! We can certainly agree on some little things, don’t you think? If we don’t agree on the little things, how will we all get along?
So here is what I propose. Sure, I’m nursing a wee hangover, the leftover cream puffs from a small party on Saturday on the coffee table in front of me. But I have buckled down for absolutely hours of thought Sunday afternoon and have come up with some preliminary thoughts. We can modify these, of course, at the next meeting regarding our Plan To Take Over The World – and if you’re part of the plot, you know who you are – but just to get the ball rolling…
• If you bump into someone in a crowded bar and cause their beer to spill, you need to buy them its replacement. That's what a good guy would do.
• It is common courtesy to respond to a smile, head nod or similar gesture with one of your own. It doesn’t have to be a mirror response, but a good guy would at least acknowledge.
• It’s perfectly OK to let a stranger use your phone. It is not OK for said stranger to attempt to leave with it. You’d think this would be universally obvious, but you’d be wrong.
• A woman I work with, two ahead of me in line at Starbuck’s Friday, told the cashier (the one who takes my request for a “venti dark-roast with room” every work day and is always friendly) to put my coffee on her tab. I’m not saying everyone should do this, but I am saying that it made my day.
• And finally, good guys don’t sit in their car outside and honk. And honk. If you can’t bear the thought of getting out of your car, by all means, my special little friend, pull over and use your cell phone. If you don’t have a cell phone, you’ll either have to get out of your car or borrow one from a friendly passerby. Like a good friend likes to say, don’t be an ass.
It’s not great, but it’s a start.
People! Rise up and proclaim yourself a good guy!
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