My Sincerest Apologies, Sir

I work at a golf course during the teaching off season, which is generally really great, stress free, and fun. Yesterday, however, between the hours of 3:00-4:00, everyone and their neighbor decided to show up. Within ten minutes, at every single table sat a crew of golfers. It was a good thing I had my running shoes on because that is exactly what I was doing. One table of ‘gentlemen’ asked for some chips and salsa. As I was running (and I mean running) the chips and salsa out to them, I accidentally tipped the plate, a couple chips fell on one ‘gentleman’s’ lap. I apologized, mentioned that there seems to be only one or two casualties, and offered to bring out a couple extra chips. And, the ‘gentleman’ rolled his eyes at me.

Yes, a 45 year old grown man rolled his eyes at me because I accidentally dropped a chip on his lap. It took everything in me to suppress my teacher-instincts and publicly embarrass him for acting like a three year old.

As these kind of things usually go, one bad experience turns in to multiple others. I continued to overhear this ‘gentleman’ spouting of his very foul, and very loud mouth (c’mon dude, you are in the presence of a lady), discussing very vulgar topics. I kind of wanted to stop and say, “I really hope you do not act like this around your wife”.

When he went to cash out, he asked me to break a $100 for him into some twenties and ‘smaller bills’, so I bought him four twenties, two fives, and some ones (smaller bills) and he was unhappy about that as well, pitched a fit, called the manager, and stormed off the premise.

(Might I also add that every time I talked to him, a cloud of stale cigar smoke pelted out of his mouth?)

When I think back on it, I genuinely am very sad for this individual. Who taught him that navigating this world in this miserable way and treating people so condescendingly was ‘fun’?

I recently read a book that discussed how, it used to be that villages raised children. We depended upon all parts of society–the teachers, the nurses, the store clerks, the babysitters–to instruct, monitor, and discipline our children. Nowadays, however, when we see a child misbehaving or committing an immoral deed, we tell ourselves, “Well, it’s not my place to say anything”.

While hanging out at the softball field last week, we observed this girl crawl off into the trees, her parents preoccupied by their softball game. What if she went too far? What if she got lost? What if someone kidnapped her? Oh well, it’s someone else’s kid and someone else’s problem.

But, because we are all created from the same stock, do we not owe a moral obligation to human kind to watch out for each other? Why is it perfectly acceptable for the other three gentlemen at the table to witness this ‘gentleman’ be a complete jackass to me and not call him out on his actions? Why should I have let the little girl crawl off into the trees, when I knew it was probably not a good idea?

I think it is fear (the concept that governs most of what we do). I think we are afraid of being ostracized from the group. But as humans beings, if we allow some of this immoral and inappropriate behavior to continue, we send the message “those are acceptable ways to behave”, and are we not just as guilty?

So, ‘gentleman’ at the golf course, my sincerest apologies. I apologize for not calling you out on your bad attitude. I am just as guilty as you are. I sincerely hope you were just very intoxicated and I hope that you treat your wife very differently.

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