Shimoniac Jones

I didn't lose my mind – it fled in terror.

Archive for the tag “courtesy”

Heroes, not just sandwiches anymore!

A blogger I follow, recently published a post about an event that woke the demons that gnaw on his psyche. He was agitated and sorrowful, so I recycled some wisdom that I’d read somewhere else and clicked “reply”.

That was it.

A few hours later I found that he’d replied to my comment, as he replies to so many others, so I opened the dialogue box to see what he’d said. Usually, it’s a simple acknowledgement, sometimes it’s witty, occasionally it’s profound-ish.

Without any apparent irony or derision, he said that I was his hero. Now, it’s incredibly difficult to sense sarcasm in the written word, but I don’t think that there was any there. So I began thinking about this concept of “hero”.

A hero is a person known for courageous acts or nobility of character. A hero is also someone who has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.

I recently read about a man, who rescued a three year-old girl from being trampled by a runaway team of horses. He ran into harm’s way, knowing that he could get hurt, possibly killed; but unable to just stand there and watch an innocent child get mowed down. He refused the label “hero”, because, in his mind, he only did what was necessary. The fact that he was then run down by that team of horses, collecting bruises, stitches, and broken facial bones was, to him, nothing big.

So, for this blogger to call me his hero took me aback. Then I read the second definition of hero again. I didn’t do anything particularly courageous when I typed my reply to that blogger’s post, but perhaps he thought that I’d demonstrated a personal quality that he admired.

That led me to realize that we can all be heroes to someone else. It doesn’t necessarily mean getting run over by a team of horses, or a huge expenditure of time or money. It can, in fact, be nothing more than offering a kind word to someone having a bad day, or offering an ear to someone who needs someone to talk to.

Of course, if you do want to dash in front of a team of runaway horses to save my flabby ass, feel free.  😀

(N)O Canada

A group of “Prominent Canadian Women” have crawled out of the woodwork to float the idea of changing Canada’s national anthem.  Apparently the line “in all our sons command”, is insufficiently feminist-friendly.

As a son, I acknowledge that the lyrics, as currently exist, do not tend toward the gender-neutral and a small tweak to “in all of us command”, or similar, might be justified.  What asses me up at the moment is the other nuts, wrapping themselves in the national flag, falling out of their trees.

Militant atheists demand that God be removed from the anthem, reactionaries thunder, “but it’s always been that way”, pacifists quibble at the concept of guarding, Feminists cry that it’s male-chauvinist, and Aboriginals…  Well “native land” and all that.

I did some research on the English language version of O Canada.  Trying to find the ‘true’ version is like trying to find the original lineage of a mutt puppy.  I count four distinct versions, not including the one officially adopted in 1980 on the centenary of the original. The original version was a hymn written in 1880, in French.  The first English version wasn’t until about 1906, translated, loosely, from the French by a doctor from Toronto.

It is telling, though, that the French-language version of O Canada has remained unaltered from the original.

Previous to O Canada the de facto national anthem was The Maple Leaf Forever, but it got beat out in the popularity contest, so it sank.  Prior to even that Canadians sang God Save the King/Queen; but only in English Canada, I have no idea what, if anything, Québécois sang.

Given the controversy surrounding this tempest in a teapot, I opined that perhaps we should follow Spain’s example and have an instrumental only anthem with no official lyrics.  I got no takers.

A point here, if there is a point, is that living things change, grow and adapt.  Only the dead are unchanging.

Another point is that if you do somehow have a legitimate beef, express it calmly and rationally.  Do not wrap yourself in the flag and shrilly proclaim that you’re protecting your patriotic rights.

Trafficking

No, I’m not talking about dealing drugs; I’m talking about driving in this city. While many cities talk about how bad their drivers are; my city has some really bad drivers. We have drivers who don’t signal turns or lane changes, weave from lane to lane, fail to yield right of way, run red lights, tailgate, drive too fast, and don’t drive fast enough; and they do all of that within a block. I remember my first experience driving in a nearby city, I was taken aback by another driver’s courtesy. We don’t get that here.
So in the past two weeks I had three iterations of the same scenario. I work the night shift, as you may know, and I drive to work between 2210-2225. It generally takes me ten to fifteen minutes to get there because of the time of day, depending on the season, weather, and other factors. Also because of the time of day, there isn’t much traffic on the road. I’ve driven the same route in the middle of the day and it can take upwards of half an hour to do the same journey.
The point here is that there’s limited traffic that time of night.
The scenario that has been irritating me is this: I’m driving along at my usual sane and rational five over the posted when someone turns right from a cross street directly in front of me. I’m talking about right in front of me. The person then doesn’t accelerate to traffic speed, to the point where I have to hit the brakes hard and/or take evasive action to avoid rear-ending this dill weed. In all three cases, all the offending driver had to do was to wait five or ten seconds for me to pass because there was no one behind me.
The road was empty for blocks behind me.
Then, again in all three cases, the idiot dawdles for maybe a hundred feet and turns right again.
This first time this happened, the idiot turned into a plaza that had an entrance off the road he just pulled off of.
The second time, fair enough, there was no similar alternate access; but honestly, would it have killed him to wait, like, five seconds or so to pull out? There was, I repeat, no one behind me for blocks.
The third time this happened, it was a police car.
I almost rear-ended a police car, because the moron officer decided that pursuing his random patrol was more important than common courtesy and actual legal requirement.
Courtesy and common sense on the roads is dwindling. Drivers aren’t driving defensively any more, they’re too busy, stressed, or whatever to pay enough attention to the road ahead to anticipate changing conditions or unexpected incidents; so that, when they get there, they react aggressively and piss the rest of us off, so that the next time, we act aggressively and piss other people off.
It can become a truly vicious cycle.
The point of this rant, if there is a point, is that we should all look ahead. Don’t drive two feet in front of your bumper. Drive as far as you can see. Look up ahead and see that idiot driver going to pull out of a cross street, watch out for that cyclist who’s only trying to get where he’s going in one piece, and offer courtesy to that guy who really doesn’t deserve it. If nothing else, you’ll confuse the hell out of him.

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