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Slappin' Some Sense Into 'Em
I am sick of rude people.
Whether self-centered and inconsiderate airheads, or blatantly abusive bullies, they all need a wake up call. Something needs to be done to stem the rising tide of socially unacceptable behavior.
It's time we people who were "brought up right" stopped looking aghast and feeling powerless.
The following is my "Modest Proposal".
Civilization Lacks Civility
These days, a common complaint voiced more and more often is that people are becoming increasingly RUDE.
Whether it is someone cutting in line at the movies, a kid flashing a middle digit from the back of the school bus or a blue-haired granny brazenly cutting us off in traffic we all can bear witness to the absence of manners demonstrated daily by legions of cretins posing as people.
Where once the sources of uncivilized and uncouth behavior were the troglodytes and lowlifes lurking on the fringes, it has become apparent that the fraying of the fabric of polite discourse and considerate behavior has spread like an epidemic to all segments of society.
Anthropology pundits have predicted that the proliferation of computers and widespread internet access will result in less person to person contact and interaction. Maybe, but determined delinquents have embraced electronic gizmos and gadgets and turned them into just another method of targeting those to be taunted and of delivering video vitriol. From cyber-bullies to young perverts looking up girl's skirts with cellphones, the tools may have changed, but not the reprehensible results.
The trait once known as Common Courtesy has become far from common...rare in fact.
Respect has become just the title of an Aretha Franklin song.
Why is this?
After years of observation and analysis I have distilled the data and arrived at a Eureka Moment.
These people are A**holes.
And the reason they act as they do is because there are no consequences for their boorish behavior.
There are myriad contributing factors:
Poor parenting plants the seeds of disrespect and encourages the little sprouts to reject parental authority, to ignore vague or flexible rules of behavior and to threaten accusations of child abuse if held to any reasonable standard of comportment. Manners are merely suggestions and are dismissed as archaic. Consequences for self-centered envelope stretchers are minimal or nonexistent.
Next the educational system reinforces the "free to be me" ("so screw you") message, teaching that there are no losers, no failures, no drones in the hive, just queens. Every little darling is exempt from criticism, censure or punishment. Each delicate ego is allowed to blossom unhindered by pesky conventions such as respect for one's elders or consideration for others. And again, even if an attempt is made to imbue these semi-malleable lumps with a modicum of manners or a set of rudimentary rules of acceptable behavior, the rejection of these expectations carries no consequences. There is no corporal punishment, and the alternatives are mere inconveniences and ineffective.
The Piss Ants Are Protected While The Lions Suffer Their Stings.
What incentive is there for an inconsiderate miscreant to be polite or courteous when being rude and abusive carries no consequences?
Again and again, in our lawyer infested litigious society, we are hindered and hamstrung by laws that allow the rude, crude and obnoxious to flaunt their disregard for the rights and feelings of others.
Both perpetrator and victim know that present day laws prevent demanding an apology, seeking satisfaction or exacting retribution. The person who is wronged has little recourse but to quietly accept the unfairness of the situation while the offender smugly skates.
Justice? The system has rendered impotent those who have been wronged. If you confront a blatantly discourteous cretin and simply explain the possible consequences of their actions YOU can be subject to charges such as "Verbal Assault". And the victim is victimized again.
When people are not held accountable for their mistreatment of those with no ability to defend themselves they become BULLIES. And bullies must be faced and dealt with.
Is there a remedy?
Well I didn't risk carpal tunnel syndrome typing this treatise for nothing!
"National Slap An A**hole Day"
That's right. You heard me.
I propose that we as a Nation pass legislation designed to restore Civility to society.
The concept is simple: On designated days people will be held accountable for their behavior.
The days could be called "Suffer The Consequences Day" or "Pay Your Dues Day" or "Meet Your Comeupance Day" or even "Would You Like Your Just Deserts With That? Day".
But "National Slap An A**hole Day" says it best.
How It Will Work.
On every "Slap An A**hole Day" there will be a national moratorium on the prosecution of MINOR incidents of simple assault that occur on that designated day.
People who have been determined to have committed rude, impolite or inconsiderate behavior will be confronted by those whom they have offended. A typical confrontation will consist of a description of the offensive incident, the relating of the resultant discomfort caused and an appropriate consequence delivered by the victim to the offender.
Such consequences will range from an artfully applied guilt trip, to a stern dressing down, up to and including a stinging slap to the back of the head or face of the offending party.
Only one slap will be allowed from each seeker of retribution. And the recipient will be required to "take their medicine" with no physical pay back allowed until the next designated "Slap An A**hole Day".
A sincere apology offered by the offender and accepted by the victim will be considered a welcome and sufficient consequence.
To discourage excesses or cheating all confrontations will be public, witnessed and recorded (probably by friends of the victim because real a**holes have no friends).
The first "Slap An A**hole Day" will be announced far ahead of the date set in order to encourage introspection and improved behavior, and to minimize the number of cases of "tennis elbow" that may result.
Rather than observing "Slap An A**hole Day" once a year, there will be a graduated schedule meant to maximize the effects. And soon the occasion will be referred to as "SAA Day".
The premier "SAA Day" should be an historic event. It will be followed by a two week interim to allow reflection, (and perhaps healing), and then a second "SAA Day" for those with short memories and no remorse. Then, for the stubborn and those in denial, one "SAA Day" a month for three months. My prescription would include, "and repeat as needed".
The hope is that eventually, "Slap An A**hole Day" will be just once a year, as a reminder and a deterrent for those who still need it.
Why It Will Work.
So many reasons, on so many levels:
There are few of us who haven't done something at sometime that could earn us the appellation "A**HOLE". We each have someone who can point to an incident in which we bruised an ego, acted inconsiderately or carried on like a major putz.
No one will be immune on the first "Slap An Asshole Day". And the unsettling anticipation of a potential public confrontation will force everyone to reflect upon his or her behavior towards others.
The shared universality of both the situation and the punishment will promote understanding, encourage apologies and contribute to less severe retributions.
The criteria that the confrontations be public will serve multiple purposes:
- Witnesses will help to assure that procedures are followed, slaps are openhanded and unlawful retaliations are rare and recorded
- Being confronted in public will increase the humbling effects of the confrontations and serve to announce the offenders' previous offenses and their present degree of contrition.
- Stipulating that the confrontations must be public gives those who recognize their guilt the option of calling in sick, staying home and not answering the door...a cowards way out, but acceptable. Conspicuous by their absences, these admitted A**holes will bear their self inflicted label when they crawl out from their holes the day after "Slap An A**hole Day". And they will have to choose to change their ways or make themselves scarce on the next "SAA Day". How many sick days will unrepentant A**holes be willing to burn?
Some people won't be confronted all day, while others may encounter multiple moments.
There was a supervisor where I used to work who everyone agreed would have a line of anxious "confronters" stretching down the aisle and into the parking lot if he came to work on "Slap An A**hole Day". And he would wear his reddened cheek like a scarlet letter for days to come.
How long before the revelation, when even the most die hard A**holes see the error of their ways, and climb down from the dung heap and join CIVIL-ization?
Upon reflection, I suppose that this solution has some basis in the old adage "Spare the rod, spoil the child".
I simply contend that "Consequences are the Key".
The beauty of "Slap An A**hole Day" is that whether A**holes present themselves to be confronted, or they remove themselves from public, for that one day the rest of us win.
© Copy right CPrice 2010 All rights reserved.