Disheartened by "sportsmen"...


October 9, 2005, 08:17 PM
sportswomen... whatever. I've dealt with both. For the past 2 or 3 years, I've been dealing with an epidemic that seems to be growing with no end in sight. Unsportsman-like conduct. Lemme explain.

I teach Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education in New York. It seems that more and more people have taken up swearing, especially when they find out that the class that they are trying to register for is full.

I've held 3 classes (1 bow and 2 shotgun) in the last month with one coming up in two weeks. Last week, I received a call from a guy wanting to register his two sons for a bow class. Unfortunately, the class he wanted had been booked for 2 weeks prior to his call.

When he found out that it was full and *BEFORE* I could offer the one in two weeks, he proceeded to swear at me (as if it was my fault) and then hung up. He even went so fars as to blame me that his sons will not be getting their bow license this year. (Like I have anything to do with that if they don't take a class.) What is worse is this is not an isolated incident.

Most of the instructors in NY have their classes set up and posted by January or February. Most classes are held in the fall. This give 7 months before my fall classes start for these ppl to register. It is not my fault that these ppl wait until the last minute to register for a class.

Now for my final question. Am I and my partner the only instuctors that have to put up with ppl that get verbally abusive when ppl wait until the last minute to register for a class? If not, how do you deal with ppl like this?

I'm sorry for ranting. I feel that ppl like this are not sportsman and it disappoints and frustrates me.


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October 9, 2005, 08:35 PM
While I am not any form of instructor, hell im still at the level of the one needing to be instructed, I notice it reguarly.

People shout cuss yell scream and want nothign to do.

They want to go out and catch a big fish. They want to go out and see a deer in five minute's shoot it reguardless where the bullet goes track it down...maybe provided it doesn't get to far into the bush and isnt to much of a hassle....take a picture or the head and leave the animal.

Plenty of great hunter's and plenty coming into it as well. But quite a bit don't care about the sport. They don't care about being out with nature. They don't care about the hunt.

Common trend with everything these day's. Plenty of good people about. But the ignorant are plentiful.

October 9, 2005, 09:21 PM
But the ignorant are plentiful. -Lupinus

That is exactly what I was thinking while I was reading Berek's post.

Berek - All I can tell you is that it would be best to forget about it. Sometimes it gets under your skin though, and I can completely understand that. I don't know if it is a "New York thing" or not. I also don't know if I have just gotten really used to sluffing it off myself. But when people start to get at me, I try to think that it is because they are having a crappy day, or their dog died.

More accurately, I figure they had a crappy upbringing and they were never taught nor did they learn how to handle real world situations and people with dignity, respect, or honor.

I literally feel bad for them. Write the comments and cussing off to any or all the above and just try to forget it.

But when you have the opportunity to influence someone and help them understand how to act with dignity, honor, and respect. Since you work with so many people, I would assume that you come across many of the youth that live in your area. You have a great opportunity to help those people at a very influential point in their lives by using your influence in a great way.

So do what you can, when you can. If you are acting in accordance with principles that you know are good and true, dismiss the actions of others who do not fall in line with them, but try to help them when you get the opportunity.

I know you know this already. I am just telling you what works for me and hopefully reinforces the dignity and respect that you use with other people, no matter how they act.

October 9, 2005, 09:23 PM
I won't go hunting until I'm good and ready - ready in terms of finances, education, equipment, and time.

I don't want to be like those idiots in 19th century idiots who shot all the grizzlies and buffalo to damn near extinction (and in the case of the california grizzly, to it).

Until then, I'll be content with shooting paper and spinners (do let me know if anyone knows of a good one for 9mm).

and getting damn good at it =)

Zach S
October 9, 2005, 09:24 PM
What is worse is this is not an isolated incident.
No offense intended, but after spending a little time in NY, that doesn't surprise me.

October 9, 2005, 09:48 PM
I don't know if it is a "New York thing" or not.

This caller had an 814 area code which puts him in PA. I'm only half an hour from the border.

I know I shouldn't let this get to me. What really bothers me is that these walking attitudes are raising kids. What are they going to be like? What does this say about hunters? Was it just a bad day or does do they have this entitled attitude with every aspect of their life?

Oh well. I thought maybe if I posted some of these ppl may read this and understand that we, as instructors, have class size limits put on by Albany. Maybe they'll understand that we are (at least in NY) volunteers. I don't get a dime for this and, with the price of gas now, it gets expensive getting the materials from my coordinator (they don't ship it to me) and getting it to the class. Preparing the materials and reviewing new tips, tricks and safety reports.

I take the classes very seriously and spend many hours updating my statistical data and making sure I have everything I need to make the class as informative and enjoyable as possible. All on my own time and my own dime.

Maybe one of these will stop and go "Hmmmm...."


October 9, 2005, 10:56 PM
"What really bothers me is that these walking attitudes are raising kids." someone like me, that's just job security. :evil:

October 9, 2005, 11:08 PM
Gotta love the "me" attitude eh? God forbid people exorcise common sense and wait for their time like people used to. No now everything has to be given to you now now now.

October 9, 2005, 11:19 PM
If it's any help, it's not just hunters. Rudeness is something you can run into anywhere and it seems to be getting worse.

It's the same with golf. I was taught at an early age about the rules and the courtesy involved in playing the game. So many people that play these days are just plain rude and inconsiderate. They should be required to take a course much like the one you're talking about before being allowed on the course.

At least you have the opportunity to change things for some hunters. You'll never change the guy you are talking about, so you'll just have to let it go in one ear and out the other. But at least you can make a difference for young people like his sons.

October 9, 2005, 11:34 PM
You know, even with folks who aren't in "The City," I've found New Yorkers to be a rather obnoxious group of people.

Campers, if you're from there, please try to be polite - the _rest of the world_ doesn't see you as being weak if you're not a bleep.... But when you behave like a bleep, well, you're a bleep.

October 9, 2005, 11:44 PM
I used to work at a community college and was sometimes involved with registration. You should see what goes on when classes fill up and people are trying to register late. I was in the health science area and we had strict rules on class size for courses with labs. It's a safety issue as a lab can handle just so many people at one time. I've never been cussed at or really hassled though. Usually, it was crying or begging. One bad incident can make you shy away from the other 99% of the people who are nice. Try not to let it get you down for too long. It may bother you for a while, there's nothing you can do about that. It just means you care about people and don't appreciate being blamed for something you have no control over.
Allan Schisel

October 10, 2005, 01:12 AM
Ever thought of STARTING your answer with "my next class opening is ____". Shortcircuits the whole whinge, AND just might help you retain a customer.

John G
October 10, 2005, 01:38 AM
People, in general, seem eager to show thier powers of obnoxiousness. Especially if you are providing them with a service, such as a hunters education course, unfortunately.

I've seen it in upstate NY (where I'm from), downstate NY, NJ, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Guam, Thailand, Austrailia, London, Dublin, Houston, LA, Las Vegas...

...even on the internet!! :eek:

October 10, 2005, 01:49 AM
It's unfortunate that some people are that way. I want to thank you for the time and effort you put into Hunter Safety education. Here in WI, it is also unpaid, and the volunteers spend much time and money for a cause they really believe in. My son is currently taking Hunter Safety,and I've sat in on as many of the classes as possible (took mine in MN in '74), and went with him to the Field Day.(I even ended up fixing the 870 used for the trapshooting.) His instructors are very knowledgable, and we both appreciate their contribution to the future of hunting.(As well as yours, thanks again!) :)

Buck Snort
October 10, 2005, 01:51 AM
Its the world we live in today and it ain't just folks from NY. Out here in the PRC there's plenty of that type too. I try to keep in mind that they are STILL in a small minority and will probably be so until long after my bones have turned to dust. Just conjure up an image of a duck standing out in the rain letting the water run off his back without soaking in, that's what ya gotta do with them bimbos.

October 10, 2005, 04:38 AM
I've noticed that the things people REALLY get worked up about are the things that are their own fault. It's like when I get really mad at the slow driver in front of me, it's because I overslept and now I'm going to be late for work. This guy knew it was his fault--that's why he got so mad. People will do anything to try to make their own faults into somebody else's.

Byron Quick
October 10, 2005, 05:31 AM
It's not just hunters doing it. Try working in repossessions and collections:D

Or as a nurse in the emergency department. I simply inform people that they do not speak to me in such a manner. If we are speaking on the phone, I hang up on them, gently and after saying goodbye. If in the ED, I call security. Back in the days of collections and repossession, I didn't have that much cursing face to face. Cursing someone is still considered grounds for fighting down here and people become somewhat more circumspect when it might get their butts beaten.

Good post. Food for thought. I curse too much. Not at instructors. Not around women, coworkers, or strangers. Around male friends mostly. I actually become more polite, the angrier I become. But I do need to stop using swear words as adjectives.

October 10, 2005, 06:36 AM
It seems, anybody involved in a service, can now days be targeted in the "blame game". I agree with somebody who said that usually people get caught up in frustrating situations, that are of their own making, and rather than take responsibility for the outcome, they unleash their anger at others. Yes, they're probably mad at themselves, and people that they only have incidental contact with are "safer" to spew rudeness at, than family and friends. The "me" attitude probably does come into play, but I don't know if its epidemic, just immature. There's still a good bunch of polite folks around. I just wish we'd see more of 'em to balance out the others. I have had to politely tell some people that I will gladly discuss their problem with them, when they can calmly talk and not swear at me. I then tell them I will hang up now.

October 10, 2005, 08:56 AM
If it's any help, it's not just hunters. Rudeness is something you can run into anywhere and it seems to be getting worse.

This type of behavior certainly isn't restricted to hunters. It certainly seems to be more common. You are probably better off that they hung up before you could offer them another class.

October 10, 2005, 09:31 AM
Not necessarily cussing but rudeness in general...or the lack thereof from one lady.

I have had shopping carts stolen from right next to me at stores (Walmart or something). I have said something each time I have seen someone do it. Yesterday, my wife and I were at Walmart looking at some stuff. The aisle was pretty congested so I pushed the cart up to the end and out of the way while we browsed. Shortly a woman asked if that was my cart and I said yes. I asked if it was in her way and she said no, she just needed a cart. I laughed and said thanks for asking. Most people just walk off with it. You have to understand that all the really rude folks from the NE were all kicked out and they live here in south Florida now so this was a real treat.


October 10, 2005, 09:35 AM
I had a few items in my cart once at wal mart and decided to get something I had seen in the next isle (wanted it, decided toy syndrom got the better of me) it was a small item so I left the cart where it was and went back to the next isle to get one.

Took me maybe two minute's cause I looked it over read the pacage etc.

Come back and what happened? Some moron took my items out throw them on the bottom shelf and stole my dang cart. :banghead:

October 10, 2005, 09:51 AM
No offense intended

None taken. :) I don't know Berek, but I am familiar with the part of the state him and I are from. What is kinda funny is that most people who live out in the midwest... or out west, or down south don't know is that this part of New York is more rural than where they are from.

A buddy of mine who moved down to Tennessee brought his girlfriend back up "home" in New York for her birthday. He was trying to convince her that there were no sky scrapers and what not. Well, she wouldn't believe him until she got here. THen she realized that Tennessee is more urbanized that upstate New York :)

Alas... we're stuck with that one city that everyone thinks of...

October 10, 2005, 10:11 AM
It is sad that some one would get mad becouse they screwed up and missed the dead line. I would just look at it as their loss and breath a sigh of relief that he had not signed up for the next class.
There are rude people everywhere you go I guess. One personal expierence for me was a few months ago, I was trying to go into a convience store carring my small daughter. (She was 7-8 months old at the time). I also have to use a crutch or cane to walk. So both hands were full and there was a gentleman holding the door open for me and then out of nowhere a young girl about 17-18 years old RAN in front of me to go inside, almost knocking me and my daughter over. I was dumbfounded and the man looked a little ticked also. After we went in, I thanked him, and I think he actully went over to the girl and said something to her. I don't know what he said, but she would not even look at me as I left.

October 10, 2005, 10:17 AM

People, esspecialy people my age, have no sense of common deceny. There was a time no one would have thought of doing thing.

October 10, 2005, 10:24 AM
"Forgiveness is between you and your maker. I'm here only to facilitate that meeting." - me

Hey, you didn't come up with that quote!

Anyway, I think that there is a big uptick in stress levels these days but that doesn't excuse the rudeness! Thank you for being an instructor!

Blue Line
October 10, 2005, 10:30 AM
Everybody want to use an “over the top” attitude to get what they want when things don’t go their way. Its more of a temper tantrum that they use to use on Ma and Pa to get that piece of candy they wanted. Also the attitude comes from the other side of the counter too; long day last customer was over the top etc etc. I want it now now now seems to be the way these days.

In the original post was the mention of too much swearing and look how much we use it right here on this board to emphasize some point.

October 10, 2005, 10:44 AM
Bereck -

Don't feel lonesome, friend. It happens in Tejas too. I'm up to almost 2,800 hunter ed. students, typically certified in "home study completion" classes with a maximum size of 8 to 10. They often fill up quickly this time of year - although I can't seem to give away slots in classes during the month of May.

What tends to make the home study completion "option" students even more testy is the fact that some seem to think that, because they have completed their "home study" online, I am obligated to give them a firm slot in a "completion class" RIGHT NOW.

It's been about 3 weeks ago now since I had a phone call late on a Friday afternoon from a guy on his cell phone. He said he was out in West Texas at his hunting lease and had just got word that he had to have a class in order to buy a license for an upcoming hunt in Colorado. One of his buddies had evidently researched on the internet the options for getting a class quickly and the "sportsman", upon my confirming what he needed to do (which involved going home to study and print out quiz results before a Sunday afternoon class), ended our discussion with "____ you, then".

I recall the guy saying that he lived in Weatherford, Texas, so I watched the registration forms quite carefully for the next couple of days, fully prepared to let him know about this little bit of criteria known as "attitude failure" - and that I was ashamed that I had to share my sport with people like him. As you know though, it's the other 95%+ that make it worthwhile.

Working Man
October 10, 2005, 10:51 AM
It happens every and anywhere. I work for a Major University and we have
students all over the US and the world. Same thing happens... they wait till
the last minute to register for or drop classes then want to blame the CSR
or the school for the full class or late charge that was always there.

They're fools and aren't the kind of people worth your time.

October 10, 2005, 11:58 PM
Ever thought of STARTING your answer with "my next class opening is ____". Shortcircuits the whole whinge, AND just might help you retain a customer.
I understand your meaning about diffusing people, but there is no reason to expect an attitude from telling someone a class is full, IMHO. The first question after that from most people would be "Is there another class?". I certainly wouldn't expect a vollunteer to put up with that attitude.

October 11, 2005, 12:01 AM
Ever thought of STARTING your answer with "my next class opening is ____". Shortcircuits the whole whinge, AND just might help you retain a customer.

They aren't "customers" per se, just potential hunters. I have tried that approach and received verbal abuse because that wasn't the class they wanted, they wanted *this* one... Thanks tho...

entropy: OBO HEP instructors, thank you for your appreciation. There is a *lot* of work involved in this volunteer position.

It's not just hunters doing it. Try working in repossessions and collections

Computer Technical Support Specialist. Left because of ppl like this. :D

Missashot: One thing my G/F likes and hates about me is that I do not embarass easily in public. I do believe in a case as yours, I would have put in a performance eligible for Emmy consideration. I commend you for keeping your cool, tho.

Border: To be honest, I don't know where I caught that line from. I woke up one day and there it was. I've watched so many movies it could have been from the Care Bears for all I know ;) And I appreciate your thanks.

Greybeard: I topped 3K this year. In all of that time, there was only one student I failed based on attitude. On a 3-day class, he showed up on day one and related to another instructor and myself that he shoots things from his granddad's back porch. Things like rabbits, squirrels, robins, blue jays... more than that, he's in my class, so he doesn't even have a hunting license and, finally, his GD lives in Amherst where no hunting at all is allowed. His GD was p.o.'ed until we explained why. Complete 180 on GD's attitude. I think he even beat the kid. ;)

In closing, I do have to admit that there have been many students that have contacted me and, in one way or another, made me feel good about what I do. One sent me a framed picture of him and his first deer, a few others have "shared the wealth"... I guess it's just the 4 months from when the fall classes start to when they end that I get uptight about some of these callers.

I just wish they would realize they cannot wait uintil the last minute to register and we are volunteers. Maybe step into our shoes and see how much effort we exert to "git-r-done"... Thanks for the support, ppl.


October 11, 2005, 12:34 AM

Now for my final question. Am I and my partner the only instuctors that have to put up with ppl that get verbally abusive when ppl wait until the last minute to register for a class? If not, how do you deal with ppl like this? Funny you should ask I was just thinking of attempting to become a Hunter Safety Instructor again. I tried this last year (or maybe the year before) down here on Long Island. I called a guy at DEC over 20 times over a period of several months. I also sent him several emails. All I ever hear about hunter safety courses is how full they are, how short handed the DEC is regarding instructors, and how badly they need people. Well the not so respectful, not nice, not useful person (all my opinion of him) to whom I spoke kept giving me the brush off by either not returning my calls, or by trying to schedule me for some kind of an instructors retreat (or advanced course) somewhere upstate. I had to explain at least 5 times to him that I was not an instructor but, that I wanted to take the instructor class and that I could teach the firearms course (being a firearms instructor and because I hunt with guns). Then when this finally got through to him, he wanted me to be a bow instructor (I have not hunted with a bow in many years) and he wanted me to teach something about waterfowl (about which I know just about squat). It was almost absolute insanity dealing with him. I just gave up but, I can assure you I told him where to stick it after him having wasted several hours of my time as I tried to register for an instructor class.

While there was probably no excuse for the guy who called you and then cursed you out; maybe guys like the one I dealt with at NYS DEC are the reason that some so called sportmen call you up and curse you out. Dealing with a guy like the one with whom I deallt could certainly make anyone sour. Of course, maybe the guy who called you is just a bonehead but, it maybe possible that he has tried to register by going through DEC and then getting bad info on when to call you. Still no excuse even if it is a sad state of affairs at DEC.

Best regards,
Glenn B

PS: now that I remembered all of that I am pretty sure I don't want to be an instructor badly enough to have to deal with the same DEC guy again...

October 11, 2005, 12:50 AM
Glenn Bartley: OBO the normal ppl associated with the DEC, I would like to apologize. Knowing how strapped we are for instuctors, I'm a little confused as to why he would act like that. But there is a way around it.

When I started teaching, I found an instructor I like (wholly by chance) and told him that I was considering becoming an instructor. After teaching with him for a few years (to see if it would be something that I wouldstick with), we finally filled out the application and the process began. My slowdown came when I was being reviewed and the master instructor confused me with someone who showed an interest and was helping us that weekend and he hadn't brought an eval sheet with him. So, the process took 2.5 years. If anyone would like to go the same route (try teaching first and going from there) I would be more than happy to help. I teach 7+ classes a year (2 bow, 5 Shotgun) and we are thinking about adding 2 more (one of each).

I guess we just have to fight the good fight and show what it *really* means to be a sportsman.


rust collector
October 11, 2005, 01:02 AM
Toivo is pretty close to home on his analysis. I'm an instructor in a much less populous state. While I don't get abuse to my face, it seems as if every class I will have parents call the second night wanting to bring child down after the first night's instruction has been missed. Our law requires a minimum of 10 hr contact time, and when we don't bend the law to suit Mom or Dad, they act as if it's our fault they didn't see the ads and announcements. I've been giving the course about the same time for 20+ years now, so they're just not paying attention.

The real sadness is that these parents are teaching kids that it's someone else's fault or the rules shouldn't apply to them. We try to emphasize personal responsibility and ethics in our classes, and our biggest obstacles are the folks who should be setting good examples.

That victim mentality is going to cause a lot more trouble as the youngster ages, so we are pretty adamant about not letting the offending adult get away with it. We're here because we like kids and our shooting sports, and we're determined to make them folks we'd like to hunt or shoot with.

October 11, 2005, 09:18 AM

As much as I would like to be a Hunter Safety Istructor, I will not teach before I am given the training course that DEC offers. I just will not place myself in a position to possibly be sued by someone who gets shot by someone I trained; I would not have the proper training to legally stand on when defending myself. I may try again though to register for an instructor course but; if is going to take 2 1/2 years - well I imagine they will always be very short of instructors.

Do you have any idea of when the next instructor class will open in this area? I live in nassau County but as I recall the class was somewhere higher upstate than LI.

All the best,
Glenn B

HI express
October 11, 2005, 09:36 AM
Sorry Berek,
It seems to be a move towards worse behavior.
It's been a long time coming, though. You've seen the development in our sports people, in music, disrespect towards men, adults, etc. in television.

My wife wanted to go to a local bakery the other day, she walked in on a young man telling off the workers there because the cake didn't have the exact writing on it and he was yelling that now his kid's birthday was ruined. The cake decorator could have wiped it out and rewrite it in minutes, but because the customer was such an a-hole, no one made the offer. My wife got security and they escorted him out of there without his cake.

So, sorry, it is throughout our society. No respect nowadays.

This is why I get my daily fix of THR. Hang out with people that take The High Road.

October 11, 2005, 04:12 PM
Glen: Have you tried the region 2 HEP number? 631-444-0258? I can try my coordinator and see what I come up with. If I recall, they're usually held in the late winter/early spring. I'll see what I can find.


Update: I checked it out and found that even when assisting, you cannot be held liable if someone gets shot by one of your students. In fact, as long as the cirriculum is followed, the only person that can be held liable is the student themself. The main purpose of teaching with a certified instructor first is to have someone on hand to correct/guide you. Anything that happens at the class is covered by the DEC's insurance. After the class, it's all them.

October 11, 2005, 10:52 PM
So, sorry, it is throughout our society. No respect nowadays. You're telling me! I can't tell you how many times I've found shopping carts against my vehicles and the vehicles usually damaged somewhat. The other day I had a chance to make one of these a-holes think. Coming out of a bulk store, I watched one of the a-holes load up his car and then shove the cart back away from him where it sailed completely across the aisle and bumped into another car. The cart corral was a mere 20 feet away, but then he was more important than the rest of us wasn't he? I yelled "Hey!" As he turned, I said, "Now you wanna go get that cart and put it where it belongs?" embarrassing him in front of his wife and kids, but I really didn't care. He did it as I checked for damage to the other car. Had there been any, I would have called the police.

I guess he could have told me where to get off, but I was PO'd enough to make him do it.

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 11:20 PM
Some moron took my items out throw them on the bottom shelf and stole my dang cart.

At least you still had your stuff! My best friend and I were at Mal-Wart and someone stole her cart while we weren't paying attention. It had a pair of jeans she was going to buy and her daughter's shoes (Evy wanted to wear the new ones, so her old tennies were in the box) in it, and we never recovered them. We looked all around the area not 10 minutes after it happened, and a few announcements were made over the PA. No luck.

Bravo, Stevie-Ray!

October 12, 2005, 03:41 AM
I think the root of this problem is the whole "customer is always right" B.S.

People have learned that whining/carrying-on will not only be tollerated, it will be rewarded by making the PITA an exception to whatever rules they dont want to follow. What is particularly amusing is when these people enter into a non-retail establishment and are honest-to-God confused/angry when people refuse to tollerate them and tell them to shut up and leave (Bryon mentioned hospitals which are probably the best example because people *think* they are a customer service oriented business when it isnt necessarily so).

An excellent way to see this in action is to work in a grocery store near a retirement community like I did in highschool. Wanna return a bag full of cherry pits because they cherries that they were housed in werent satisfactory? Just make a big enough scene. How about a partial gallon of milk that has spend the last three months in your fridge? No problem, just make sure that you bring it in during the busiest part of the day.

October 12, 2005, 09:54 AM
First, I'd like to say thanks to Berek and all the other voluteers who do the Hunter Ed, First Aid, CPR, and other classes I've taken over the years. You all do a real service to society.

I agree with the general observation that society seems to be coarsening, way too much "gimme/takeme/buyme/showme/Iwant/mefirst-ism" and I also blame alot of it on perfunctory PC/cultural diresity that encourages self-absorbtion rather than real tolerance and consideration of others.

My pet peeve is the same as Missashot's - my wife walks with a cane and moves slowly, so I'm usually out in front to catch the door for her. I am constantly amazed at the number of lazy idiots who don't even see her in their haste to scamper thru ahead of her, let alone say 'thanks'. I've been known to hip-check or let the door slip on the really obnoxious ones with an "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see you . . . " :evil:

October 12, 2005, 01:58 PM
a non-retail establishment and are honest-to-God confused/angry when people refuse to tollerate them and tell them to shut up and leave (Bryon mentioned hospitals which are probably the best example because people *think* they are a customer service oriented business when it isnt necessarily so).

So when they keep sending me bills, can I say "Dude, I heard you were running a charity"?

October 12, 2005, 02:23 PM
Some time ago I watched a candid camera show in which an actor pretending to be a fast food employee would short-change people at the register, then start arguing with the patrons when they brought up his mistake.

I remember the first 4 or 5 people reacted poorly, taking only a very short period of time to become vulgar, lose their composure, and get all fired-up.

But then there was one middle-aged guy that reacted differently. After bringing the error to the clerk's mistake and then being called a liar by the clerk, he just said "Okay then," and let it go, with a smile on his face. He just stepped back and waited for his food.

In the post-gag interview, they asked him why he reacted in that way, and didn't "fight for what was rightly his." He said that he could tell by the clerk's reaction to his initial challenge that the clerk wasn't going to listen to reason. Intead of arguing, the guy explained, he decided "to move on with my life." Then he pointed to his head and said "Nobody rents space up here without my approval. It was obvious to me that the clerk didn't rate occupancy at any price, let alone $3-something in change."

I was always impressed by his answer, and it's helped me maintain a cool head in more than one potentially serious confrontation, allowing me to keep things in perspective and weigh what's really important.

The world's full of jerks. When you find them, they've already wasted enough of your time. Why let them "rent space" in your head or disrupt your life any more than they already have? Easier said than done, I know, but it's something to think about.

October 12, 2005, 02:39 PM
It seems to me that language in the US is changing. What used to be taboo language is now common.

When I first heard M***** F***** I was shocked. Seriously shocked. Of course I was born in '52.

When I cautioned my 16 year old daughter for her language she informed me that "DAD! Those words are not swear words anymore! Our teachers use them." I won't repeat them here.

But regardless of the swearing, people need to be more polite. Manners are a social lubricant. There is no justification for someone venting on you in that manner.

I usually don't bother to correct the ignorant. Life has a way of grinding them down without any input from me.

Besides, "Cast not your pearls before the swine, lest they turn again and rend you."

Or I could quote Curly of the 3 Stoogies when being sworn in in court, "Do I Swear? - No but I know all the words."

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