Are You 'The One In Every Crowd'?
SEE IF YOU CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT IS THE SAME IN ALL OF THESE RESTAURANT PHOTOS.
You can tell by this story's headline that I am in a serious mood. I wish to decency that I could write this as a humorous adventure, but my better judgement will not let me do that. I am presenting a story that may or may not affect you, your family or friends. At least I hope that it doesn't. The subject, "Are You 'The One In Every Crowd'?" is nonetheless important to how you and I conduct ourselves when we interact with the service industry--postal employees, carpenters, day laborers, and even restaurants. Mostly restaurants because this is the most-sensitive area where abusive behavior is more common and stands out for all to witness.
I have, in my travelling days, heard that expression, 'there's one in every crowd,' and in a Taco Bell restaurant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, one bitter-cold Friday night. My family and I had stopped at this restaurant for the proverbial "Friday night eat out" event and since none of us had tried Taco Bell, it seemed like the smart thing to do. Stop and enjoy a meal of tasty Mexican food.
Coining ESPN's Game Day celebrity, Lee Corso's phrase, "not so fast, my friend," for you guessed it, there was one in this crowd. One guy who insisted on standing in line behind other customers, smoking a cigarette--and blowing the smoke in all directions. I wasn't one to start any friction since I was an "out-of-towner," so I just endured this aggravation and kept my trap shut. Suddenly, a middle-aged gentleman, I think he was from Michigan (from the way he talked), walked up to the smoker and said in a loud voice, "Yes, there's one in every crowd," and walked away in an obvious huff. I didn't blame the Michigan customer. The smoker should have respected the restaurant and the customers who didn't smoke cigarettes.
Don't misunderstand. I am not a moralist. I do not go around poking my finger into everyone's face telling them what is right or wrong, but if that smoker had tried this stunt in 2011, with all the anti-smoking rules in effect in restaurants, bars, places of business and workplaces, he would have either been asked in a nice way to leave, or be escorted out by the police. Gee, how things have changed since 1984, the time I was in the Taco Bell in Muscle Shoals.
My point of this story is this: Respect for others goes a long way. With anyone. Respect for other people's property, including their livestock, and family dogs and cats, goes a long way as well. I may be wrong here, but has respect for others in today's mainstream society become a lost and fading part of the culture we live in? Honest? When was the last time that you saw someone, anyone, exercise common courtesy. Without being forced to do it? I thought so. And here again, I come off sounding like some nerd from the mid-fifties by saying that I try my best to not only exhibit, but practice courtesy whenever I can. Exhibiting and exercising courtesy. There is a difference.
Now to the 'meat of the subject,' 'Are You That One In Every Crowd,' that I want to present in a courteous, manner able and respectful manner. Is that okay with you? Now I realize that this story will not have anything to do with most of you, but the ones who are affected by my story, I beg you to just take your time. Be honest with yourself. And face up, if you are 'That One In Every Crowd,' for it is the wisest thing you will do for yourself. Self-improvement. Another lost art in the evolution of our society.
First, let me 'go out on a limb,' by confessing that thanks to my wife and daughter, I had to face the fact one lonesome day in November, I forget the year, that "I" was probably 'the biggest one in every crowd,' for my wife and daughter told me in a nice way that when we three were in restaurants, "I" was the one who was being looked at by other customers. I first thought my wife and daughter were paying me a compliment. I said 'thanks,' smiled, and then all my good feeling was wiped out when they explained, "Kenny, (that's what my wife calls me. My daughter of course, called me, dad) it's like a Broadway production to eat with you in public. You whistle, yell at friends, talk to any waitress who smiles at you and other people are being turned-off by your behavior." I admit it. That hurt. But after I thought long and hard about what they had said, I had to agree. They were correct. I was putting on a 'one man show' every time we set foot in a restaurant--in or out of town. Looking back, no wonder all those customers shook their heads as I would joke like Milton Berle and talk about anything on my mind to what few friends who just happened to be at the restaurant at the time.
I changed. And I am glad that I did. Now days, when my wife eat together in public or eat with friends in public, or in our home or theirs, I listen to my wife and friends more. And talk less. No more corny one-liners. No tap dancing in the restaurant kitchen as the restaurant employees clap in unison at my nifty dance steps. That Kenneth is gone. So long. I am glad now that my wife and daughter loved me that much to offer me some needed-correction in the way I behaved in public. Men, if you have a wife and daughter like this, tell them how much you appreciate them looking out for your dignity and public image. They will love hearing your words of praise.
Now, to find out if "You Are That One In Every Crowd," take this simple test. Check the statements that are true about you. No one will ever know. This is between you and yourself.
IN RESTAURANTS . . .Do You
1. Bang the table if your food is not on time?
2. Yell at the cook in a hateful tone of voice, "Hey, buddy! I ain't gettin' any younger here!"
3. Talk loud to other patrons how slow this restaurant is and this might be your last time?
4. Throw the paper that your straw is wrapped in at your wife or children because you cannot find anything constructive to talk about?
5. Get up, let out a loud, disgusting sigh and go to the men's room and mumble negative things on your way back?
6. Tell your wife (so others will hear you, namely the restaurant manager), "If I had known that this place run on molasses, I would have brought my dinner in a brown bag!"
7. Tell your waitress, "I've lost five pounds since I've been sitting here," as she refills your water or drink.
If you saw yourself in one or more of these seven questions, then you, like me once, are "That One In Every Crowd," but do not worry. I can help. Only one who has been 'That One In Every Crowd,' can help.
TO IMPROVE. . .Do This
A. Before you enter the place of service--post office, lumber yard, home improvement store, restaurant or library, just take a moment to THINK. That's right. Think. About where you are at. You are not at home. Your bullying ways of talking will not be appreciated. By anyone. Just think.
B. RELAX. Sometimes when I was "That One In Every Crowd," I was nervous about being in public and the only way I could counteract the stress was talk loud, be funny and talk at a hundred miles per hour. This principle did not work. And if you are doing what I did, it probably isn't working for you either. Just relax. Breathe a few minutes when you get out of the car. You will see a dramatic difference in how you act.
C. LOOK DOWN. This will help you to not make eye-contact with people, another social trigger that causes loud, hateful talk. Just walk slowly with your wife or friends to the table, sit down, relax some more and start a moderate-toned conversation with your friends. This takes the pressure off of you to talk about you and the terrible, nerve-racking day you have had.
D. SMILE. Often. This may be the most-simple tip of all that will help you the most. Smiling makes you relax and gives off a peaceful, friendly vibe from yourself. Others will not suddenly want to stop eating and leave when you smile, unless you are smiling as you help yourself to their pork chops they are eating. That was a joke to lighten things up for I know, first-hand, how difficult this is for you. I didn't say that changing was easy. But with some hard work and practical use of my tips, you will be the 'toast of the town' in no time.
E. COMPLIMENT. Your waitress. In moderation, as she refills your glass with water or cup with coffee. Tell her, "you are going a good job," or, "everyone needs to be a waitress at one time in their life for that is hard work," your waitress will be more-relaxed when she brings your food. If you are still the "old you," belligerent, loud-mouthed, and bullying people around you, she will be intimidated by you and think that you are going to curse her out when she does bring your food if it's a tad late. So please. I beg you. Change your public image. And you will be flocked all the time by friends who love to be around you. I promise.
As an added feature, I give you a solid list of
PLACES THAT DO NOT TOLERATE LOUD MOUTHS, BULLIES, AND PEOPLE WITH NO SOCIAL SKILLS IN PUBLIC:
TRUCK STOPS - if you try any of the things the "old you" does in other public places, I can assure you that the owners, managers of any truck stop will not tolerate your antics. The men and women who use these businesses are professional trucker's and they have stopped to rest, eat, and relax. Not put up with someone who constantly runs their mouth with complaints, stupid jokes, cuts against the truck stop employees or truckers. I implore you. Change.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES - I know, will send you packing if you are loud and boisterous. Do not use, "I was only kidding," as your excuse. That may work some, but not in a library where people are reading, studying and getting information on how to better themselves. Just think, relax, look down, and be quiet-spoken and you will be fine in a library.
CHURCHES - yes, churches. You may not act-up in your own church for fear that people will find out the 'real you,' so you might be tempted to show-out if you are invited to attend a different church with friends. Please, do not say, "Is this choir holding a sacred hymnal marathon this morning?" and bang the pews. Some churches, although humble and care for others, will have enough and the deacons or elders will show you their parking lot.
DOCTOR'S OFFICES - this, my friend, is a very-sensitive place to show your true colors of using profanity, talking loud, and making noise out of aggravation for not being next in line. I have known of some doctors themselves coming out of their examination rooms to ask a stand-out troublemaker in the waiting room the door. Doctors and nurses take their callings seriously. Remember this when you are sick and have to visit a doctor's office.
POLICE STATIONS - especially police stations. Above all the rest. Do not act-up, show-out, make a public spectacle of yourself or you will be in a lot of trouble. "What would I be doing at a police station?" you ask. Well, what if you are called in by the police to tell what happened at an automobile wreck you witnessed. Or you want to report some suspicious activity on your block. You need to first, think, like I said earlier, yes, relax to the best of your ability, and focus on where you are at. You are not at a quaint little restaurant where a "Millie Jo" works. No, friend. You are in the place where the men in blue work protecting me and people like you from vicious criminals. And keep in mind that policemen, like firefighters, EMT's and ambulance workers, put their lives on the line everyday. For little or no respect. It would serve you to learn to respect policemen, state troopers, firefighters, EMT's, ambulance workers . . .
And people who write articles in HubPages.
Just threw that in there. I thought it couldn't hurt.