Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The purpose of a euphemism is not to be blunt as to speak the actual word intended. Some may have delicate ears and to sugar coat the word has the meaning without the harsh intent. The trouble with that is your point doesn't drive the listener home to do anything different  than what he or she has been doing. The euphemism causes the behavior to be shrugged off or a cute cliche is used to minimize change. One I recall often used is "boys will be boys." I wholly detest that phrase.

For this subject matter the title is a euphemism for wild. The term wilding was used in the 80's  for the behavior of teens in Central Park (located in New York) terrorizing pedestrians for no other reason than being bored. Take one of those teens and place that one teen in a tiny position of authority; like behind the register of a fast food joint, the dispatcher to get your cab, the teller at a bank, the customer service rep to get your utilities turned on, (to name a few) and what kind of conversation would you have in order to get from point A to point B? I had such the conversation.

It was such a simple request. A request that many have had and created a position for because of the high demand. What was that hiring process like? Was the employer manipulated with sob stories about feeding hungry children or a parent needing a kidney? Or was he just on drugs? What would possess a relatively intelligent HR official to actually use the phrase, "you are hired" to an individual I had the displeasure of speaking to? All she had to do was schedule me a shuttle from one very popular place and back to my original destination. She had all of my personal information and then asked me for a numbered address. It is a very large and well known place that takes up most of the city's block, on a corner, of two well known streets in our area where many shuttles have been over and over. She persisted with getting from me a numbered address. All I could picture was a list of addresses that the shuttles frequent within arm's reach and she refused to say that she knew what and where I was speaking of. She maintained that without the address I could not get a shuttle and if there was anything else she could help me with. "Yeah, pull up mapquest (c) on the computer you clicked all of my information on and add in the address you....you..." No, I didn't say that though I was frustrated enough to use a few choice words. She had what she needed from me and refused to do as I requested. No matter what I said, I could hear the attitude rise in her voice, the sheer pleasure she got to hang up the phone satisfied with the last word being, no. I called back hoping to speak to a completely different person. The attitude was such a marked improvement and if I didn't have the address, she would have looked it up.

But this behavior is also noted when on the inside with the coworker. I have a tendency to focus on the job at hand. If there is a long line, I have been trained to do whatever it takes to get the customers what it is needed so they don't have to wait. I put myself in their shoes knowing that I would  be annoyed, standing for a long period of time to spend my money for an establishment to continue to give me poor service? That makes no sense. So there I am working like a banshee (that means really hard) and my coworker stops me to have some really and truely asinine conversation. She is off duty but has the attitude seeing that we are coworkers, I should stop doing what I am hired to do and talk. When I didn't, she paused like I am the crazy one!!!

What is going on? If I complain about poor serivce - the service gets worse or I don't get service at all. If I don't wish to eat raw chicken, burnt toast, or eggs that are too runny I risk getting a plate of disguised spit. If I honk at someone about to side swipe me, the probability of that person having road rage has gone from socially unacceptable to "why did you have to honk at him"? Yes, that would mean I am to blame for side swiping myself.

Those teens from the 80's have grown with children of their own. What wasn't learned is instilled in the fruit of their loins. Will they out number decency, morality, values, and ethics, or will anarchy be the norm?

A doctor told me he deliberately caught a disease just to see what it felt like. An elderly African American woman asked me in tears how would you answer the question, why are blacks dysfunctional, stagnate, and lack direction because it was asked of her. An elderly Caucasion man, after receiving help from me to work a computer, asked me where I learned all of that from? Oh, did I mention, I am African American. A Jewish woman having 4 children of her own, unbenounced to me, learned that I have 5 children. She stated, "you must really like sex!" She told me that she has only one daughter. When I learned otherwise I confronted her. She denied what she said and sheepishly grinned.

Busted? Yeah, we all have our schisms and issues (some call them demons) that we have to contend with - so contend, don't just step into the ring and lie down on the canvas. Punch back! Use an upper cut - something! Is it me or does one say, that's life and it is what makes the world interesting? Those people raised others to be just like them!

I remember when my mother would come home from work she would take off her shoes at the door which also happened to be the entrance to the living room. At the end of the week, having not worn the same shoes everyday, there were a collection of shoes that had to be removed every Saturday when we did major house cleaning. It was frustrating for the sibling, having been assigned the task to clean the living room, to remove the shoes every week. But it was done without an audible word - it is Mom's house. Because of Mom's habit, I had to make a conscious effort not to take my shoes off at the door of my own home. I still catch myself from time to time but I made the decision not to do that just so the living area can stay tidy and easier to clean. A small example still a colossal analogy for each and everyone of us to make a decision and use some effort behind it.

It is the difference of speaking what you feel and thinking before you speak. It is the difference between impulse and a quality decisions. It is the difference between acting on emotion and stepping back to look at the big picture. What are we teaching our children? They will be the next generation running the country. Will they treat others the way they would like to be treated so we can look forward to the future?

(Luke 6:38 KJV)