The old saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” is not so true anymore. I caused some hurt to a total stranger a day ago, when I saw a woman let her dog do a big dump on the grass median in front of a restaurant. She moved on without cleaning it up, so I said quite forcefully” Are you going to clean up that shit?” Then she replied with a soft answer, “Yes, I have to get some napkins.”
I moved on being to embarrased with my sharp tongue to linger and discuss the matter.
Why did I have to think that I was the dog poop police at that time? Was it because I take a proprietory interest in the grounds around my beachfront, and continuously clean out the green strip of beer bottles and fast food trash?
Maybe. Or was I just temporarily irked at a the sight of a smallish dog laying down such a big pile, and was not going to keep my temper any longer?
I do not usually make any comment towards people who behave badly in public. I do not caution parents in the library when their kids run screaming up and down the aisles.
I say nothing when kids get smacked at the grocery store.
I move on and do not debate in rancorous terms with the loud mothed preacher on the downtown corner, or try to argue with the various missionary groups hawking their wares. The police told me it is their right to spout any amount of nonsense in the public square as long as it is not blocking traffic.
Some times I forget the Golden Rule, which is to treat others in the manner that I want to be treated.
I never act up in public and so no one ever has reason to be admonishing me for breaches of propriety or even bad manners. I don’t even jay walk, I return books and videos on time! I take my turn!
Why can’t everyone else? But the other thing about Golden Rules is that Silence is golden too so I keep out of trouble ( for the most part) by not saying things that hurt.
I wonder if this is what makes curses effective? When you roundly curse someone, do they take it seriously and do some self fulfilling actions?
If you tell a child he is no good, or ugly, is that going to make a difference?
If you pray over a person, is she going to act in accordance with your prayers?
I do not know anything about that because I have never had the experience of effective prayers.
When my mom died of cancer there were prayers said I am sure. So those who were praying for her good health had no results.
Those who prayed that she get to heaven had no clue.
Then my younger brother died four years later of leukemia. Those who prayed for him had no better result than for my mom.
In the Catholic church that held all these prayers we were exhorted to “Pray for Peace”.
In 1953 I watched the tanks roll by on the flatbed train cars headed for San Francisco, and then Korea.
We are still praying for peace I guess, but it somehow does not seem to have any effect on world events.
Some with a sense of wit say that it would give just as good results to pray to your bookcase, or pit bull.
All I can do is “hope” not pray that the pit bulls in my neighborhood have a caring owner and keep the plastic bags handy.