Friday, December 16, 2005

Between civilization and chaos

It's a thin thread, one held together partly by adherence to the Golden Rule. The assault on manners knows no bounds, with some even excusing it as "the way things are."

I can be as big an asshole as the next guy (or lady), but that doesn't excuse it. There is, however, a way to fuse the two, one that will safeguard our threadbare civilization by deputizing the citizenry to enforce good manners. I've done it, and rarely felt better.

A friend invited me to watch a golf tournament about a year ago, and I must've really been bored. I despise golf. I despise those who play it (generally). I despise those who talk about it. Frankly, I don't like Tiger Woods much, either. (How is he considered charismatic, anyway? Talk about your cold fish.)

Anyway, after enduring a few hours of tedium, said friend and I were waiting in a hour-long line to board a bus that would take us back to my car. As we neared the front of the line, two young women decided lines weren't their thing and busted in front. I was immediately emboldened. (Thank you, Mr. Heineken).

When challeneged, they barely blanched. I continued the verbal assault (unfortunately joined by some chauvinistic lunkhead behind me). Their gender had nothing to do with it; I was targeting their rudeness. Some in line started to think I was the rude one, but the point had to be made.

When we reached the bus, a security guard approached the women and pulled them aside, informing them they'd have to return to the back of the line. As I boarded the bus, grinning, they complained to the officer that I was harassing them. But I had witnesses, not to mention plenty of support, as the throngs waiting on the bus greeted me with applause.

So, when you see someone violating the Golden Rule, challenge them. Loudly. Aggressively. You're right, they're wrong. And maybe, for once, justice will prevail.

Or just avoid golf courses altogether. Your choice.

***Pictured: Judith Martin, otherwise known as Miss Manners.

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