Friday, November 30, 2012

Through The Fire And Flames.

It started innocuously, as a nice Thursday evening dinner at Rib Crib with my family.

Aven challenged me to a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, and I'm here to tell you, he actually beat me one out of four times. The boy beat me. 

This was essentially the look I gave him after he won.
He looked up at me and said, "You let me win that one, didn't you dad?"

Faced with a crossroad, I decided to actually tell him the truth, in hopes that it would encourage him to feel better about himself, and let him know he's capable of doing great things if he tries. 

Then I beat the brakes off him in the last game. 

Just because I want him to do great things doesn't mean I want to lose.

For those that don't know, I'm practically deaf in one ear, and I really can't hear out of the other. Although I've had my hearing tested, and the doctor said it really wasn't that bad, I still think it's terrible. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I started overhearing a conversation at the table just in front of me. 

And then you can imagine my surprise when I started hearing this guy use every curse word I've ever been privileged to know while discussing the television show "Duck Dynasty" with his family. 

I've never watched the show, but with wisdom like this dripping from the mouths of the cast, I might have to. 
You might even be able to imagine my surprise when I saw that his family consisted of a little girl around 10 years of age.

My friends, I do try not to be a hypocrite.

I have used curse words in the past. 

Hell, I use them now (sometimes). 

But what I don't do, EVER, is use them in front of my children. 

Now listen. If that's your thing, or if you've accidentally let the F-bomb slip in front of your 5 year old, I'm not judging you. I'm absolutely positive that if a situation called for it, and my carefully placed "kid-filter" wasn't firmly situated, then I'd change my rules on cursing in front of children in an instant. 

But I don't go to Rib Crib on a Thursday night and talk about an insanely popular TV show sprinkling the conversation with profanity as one might sprinkle salt on their catfish dinner. 

As die-hard readers of this blog, or die-hard fans of my stories will know, I do not like confrontations. However, having children has somewhat changed that. 

While being mildly offended myself, I recognized that our kids weren't listening to the man at all. They were engrossed in their corn dogs and grilled cheese, blocking out all ambient noise, and the boy was busy kicking me in the leg thinking it belonged to the table. 

I decided to withhold a confrontation about the language until after my wife and kids left the table. I told The Missus what I was going to do, and I sent them on their way. 

I got up, my mind racing with possibilities. 

I walked over slowly, my body going cold, anticipating the man's movements, trying to ascertain how aggressive he might be, and how he was going to react. 

I was, to put it bluntly, scared to death. 

I approached the table and smiled. I looked at the man and said, "Sir, I apologize for interrupting, but the language you're using is absolutely terrible, and there are kids all around." 

He glared at me. 

"Well, I have the right to free speech. So why don't you f*ck off." 

My temper flared. 

"Yes sir, and I have the ability to take that right away from you if I have to." 

He caught my meaning, and unfortunately, he called my bluff. 

He rose from the table at a Rib Crib on a Thursday night, cocked his fist, and hit me square in the jaw, knocking me out...

...I got up, my mind racing with possibilities. 

I walked over slowly, my body going cold, anticipating the man's movements, trying to ascertain how aggressive he might be, and how he was going to react. 

I was, to put it bluntly, scared to death. 

I approached the table and smiled. I looked at the man and said, "Sir, I apologize for interrupting, but the language you're using is absolutely terrible, and there are kids all around." 

And, in the most surprising twist of all, the man looked up at me with actual shame in his eyes. 

"Sir, I apologize for that. I'm very sorry." 

I smiled, thanked him, and walked out the door. 

It turns out, standing up to myself is a lot harder than standing up to others. Hopefully I remember that next time.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." - James Neil Hollingworth