Nice your freaking face off, man

Aside

In the news recently, we’ve heard much about the healthcare debate. And the protests. This last week, protestors reportedly shouted the “n” word at Representatives John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), spit upon Rep. Cleaver, and called Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) the “f” word.  The actions of these protestors has enraged many Americans. It is not uncommon for emotions and energy to build among large groups of people, causing actions to get out of hand–a sort of mob mentality. You see it at concerts, sports games, and yes, protests. And while our country protects our speech–even words offensive to others–using slurs rarely, if ever, achieves any utilitarian result.  As we move forward from these events (or ones like them ), here are a few things to keep in mind that I believe would drive our attitudes to something productive and positive:

1.    Pissing people off is a privilege we should treasure without taking advantage of it

We have the privilege in our country to voice our beliefs freely. And while the opinions of others may make our skin crawl, reacting against them in an equally negative way will not sway our opponent from their perspectives. Disagree, yes. State our opinion, yes. But retaliate? No. As hard as it may be, we should appreciate the ability to fervently disagree with one another–and we should try to have skin that is thick enough to withstand it. Maybe I watch too much Law & Order, but if we keep prosecuting people for their words (like the guy who was convicted of degrading his ex-mother-in-law’s dignity by calling her a few swear words–I swear it’s true), we could find our constitutional right to free speech slowly eroded by court rulings and reactive laws. Now, I’m NOT endorsing that type of hateful talk the protestors uttered. Trust me. I’m on the skin-crawling, sick-to-my-stomach side of this issue. But, I doubt calling them names make a difference. We must act constructively in this situation and realize that people say mean, awful things in charged situations and make something positive/productive out of it. Which brings me to the next point.

2. For each negative action, there is a WAY better positive reaction

This is an opportunity. For debate and for dialogue. And for change. It seems that in politics and in life, the newer trend is for people to get their voice heard by being the loudest (and possibly most obnoxious or extreme) voice in the room. And typically those voices don’t care about listening to others. They just wanna be heard and obeyed. Imagine how much farther we could get in our legislature, in our homes, in our jobs, and in our schools if we had a conversation. Disagree. Debate. But let’s talk. Get excited, be assertive. But listen. Let’s not yell or close ourselves off to new ideas or solutions. Don’t allow our emotions to overrun us so much that we forget how to give consideration, to concede on a few neutral points.  Even agree to disagree. Why not? Let’s talk about controversial issues at home, with our friends, with acquaintances. Let our children hear the healthy debate, the calm and spirited consideration of all the points. Then our children can learn how to make a well-educated decision and they can learn to be diplomatic rather than reactive.  And they can have a better future because of it. Discussing our views in this way is a sign of maturity, confidence and intelligence. And in acting as such, we are all role models to each other. Couldn’t we all use some positive examples? I know I could.

3.  Take the higher road, even if you’re mad and you’re afraid of heights

This is a time for many to be upset, enraged, wounded and offended. The words and actions of those individuals opened many wounds in our collective psyche. Now, or in the future, all of us will have a myriad of experiences as equally upsetting. We must remember: don’t retaliate. Educate. Don’t respond in kind. Acknowledge the pain, and then decide what positive actions will yield greater, more far-reaching results than that offensive experience. The legislators that were victims of the hateful speech this week did not press charges (as far as I know); they moved on. They’ve seen worse, heard worse. And they had more important things to do.

We can keep a watchful eye on intolerance and hate, but acting positively will do well to keep our society moving forward to a more tolerant, equal place.

And the best way to get back at the mean, nasty, prejudiced, racist, biased, sexist (and so on) people in our lives?  NICE their freaking faces off. Be so kind, so good, so fair and compassionate that it makes them ill!

So go! Be nice. Be positive. Live and let live. Respond to negativity constructively!  You’ll make ’em sick. You’ll make me proud. You’ll make a real difference.

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500 bucks richer for a poor person

At work the other day, I was conversing with a lady about her first bus-riding experience, of which she shared her very unusual experience.  Only she and a blind man were riding the bus at the time when she noticed a wallet under a seat close by. She picked it up, inspected it, and found $500 inside. After an astonished pause, I asked, “Did they have an address in there to mail it to?” She replied, “Well, I called all the numbers in the wallet but none of them were in service, so I mailed it back to the person.” She then cackled and said, “But I kept the 500 bucks! I mean, he should be grateful just to get his wallet back.”

She kept the money. She. Kept. The. Money. ICK! She was so proud of herself for her profit from someone else’s misfortune. How do you respond to that?  Being at work I couldn’t react with the disgust and revulsion I felt, so I neutrally stated how happy he would be to have his wallet back, since it can be such a pain to replace personal documents. But inside I just could not believe that this woman would be so proud of taking some poor guy’s $500 that she would share it enthusiastically with a complete stranger.  I mean, she was delighted with herself. She thought she was the luckiest, smartest gal in the land. She had no idea what I was really thinking. What most anyone would be thinking. It was despicable. It was cold and pathetic.

It is one thing to find a dollar on the street with no evident owner and keep it. It is a whole other ordeal to know who the owner is and to rip him off anyways.  This kind of story, to me, is a reminder of how truly sad someone can be when they are poor in morals, decency, and in spirit.  I almost pity the woman for thinking that stealing $500 is something to brag about. Pity her for a bad upbringing, or for giving in to bad influences.  But, then, how can I pity someone so selfish and so heartless? Even when I’m trying to be nice to people, there is no room for that. At that point, it was hard to be civil. What disappoints me is how nice I thought she was at first, but then upon knowing this tale, I realized that she is the type of person I would never want to befriend….  When I think on the experience, I can only resolve to never do anything of that sort, and to raise my family with decency so they know to do the right thing in those situations. I can’t control that woman, but I can control my behavior. And if I ever lose my wallet, I hope to God she doesn’t find it!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

What is this tube in my belly & where did my appendix go?

In “Thank You Dr. So-And-So,” I mentioned the importance of paying respect/courtesy to our medical professionals…..  After spending a large amount of time in and out of a hospital this last month interacting with doctors, I have to say that many, but not all, doctors need to return the favor.

I know they spend years studying and that many things are boring and old-hat to them, but to the patient the issues are serious and a tremendous concern. Disregarding questions and concerns with a shrug or an irritated look is not only rude and insensitive, it is irresponsible and disrespectful. Who knows what a doctor might learn if they gave the patient a chance to speak? If they didn’t treat the patient like they didn’t know anything?

Many patients like to know what the doctors outside the hospital room are saying to each other about the patient’s case when on their rounds. Why not give them that option? Why do patients have to ask over and over for test results, for answers, for basic post-op care instructions?  This can be a problem with “bedside manner” or this can be administrative and commuicative error.  Either way, it would make the world a nicer place with a little more patience and information.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Be Nice. is on Facebook

Hi folks!

Be Nice.  has a page on Facebook. Click here to see it. If you want to search for it, it is not a “group” but rather a “page”!  Hope to see it gain some fans!

Cheers!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Integrity counts, even at $6.50/hour

I never understood how people could be okay with doing an average or below-average job the majority of the time. I understand that there are days where you just can’t do your best, and that there are circumstances where it isn’t possible. But there are people who just don’t do their best, ever. I’m sure there are reasons for it from time to time that any therapist could do wonders with. But there are also those who just don’t care.

I have heard people say, “If they want me to do a good job, they should pay me more.” And sure, many people should be paid much more than they are.  But what about personal integrity and self-worth? Don’t people want to show themselves that they can do their best? Don’t people know that their best is worth giving, if only because their best is something that no one else can do in the same way?

I do my best because at the end of the day, I want to feel good about what I did. Imagine how lousy it would feel to end an 8-12 hour day knowing that you didn’t do your best because someone wasn’t appreciative enough, or you don’t get paid enough.  Aren’t we enough? Isn’t it enough of a reward to know that what I do matters? That what I do may not seem like a big deal, and I might not get paid a lot, but it makes a difference? My job matters: whether it’s busing tables or busing people around.  I think about those women who clean the bathrooms in Grand Central Station. Yuck, what a job. I mean, those places get so gross and messy. But these women do it every day and I have so much respect for them. That is not an easy task. Imagine how much worse that job would be if they didn’t think it made a difference in peoples’ daily commutes.

I think when it comes to doing our best, we just have to believe that it does make a difference. Perhaps the evidence of a reward or appreciation  isn’t immediate, or even existent. Perhaps our boss is an ungrateful fool. But we can choose to base our integrity in our work on their opinions, or we can base it on the excellence of our actions.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Resolutions Part 2

My Fubby (“future-hubby”–I came up with that name for him after he said he didn’t like being called a fiance) reads the Drudge Report and found a wonderful article  posted in the Telegraph (UK) about being polite. In it the author discusses how it seems technology and a self-entitled, want-it-and-get-it-now attitude has caused people to feel that not only can they be impolite, but that they have the right to be rude.  Mr. Deacon (the author) wrote that technology has a way of cutting people off from their immediate environment and strangers they pass by. I feel very much the same way. These are some of the exact reasons that I created this blog.

One thing I found most interesting was the part where the author said that people would be rude, citing that they were being “honest,” and those who kept their negative opinions to themselves were considered “two-faced.” Since when is considering your opinion an opinion and keeping it to yourself “two-faced?”  Last I remember, the habit of keeping those things to yourself is an exemplary example of the motto, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

You can read the whole article here. I hope that Mr. Deacon’s recommendation to resolve to be a little more polite in 2009 reaches a great number of people.

 
© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.
 

 

Dear Abby says it best

My aunt Sharon sent me a newspaper clipping of a Dear Abby article from December 7th, 2008 (which is, by the way, a very nice, considerate, and thoughtful thing to do).

In the response, Ms. Van Buren wrote, “Good manners are a manifestation of the respect and concern we have for others.”

I could not agree more.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009. (Except Ms. Van Buren’s words.)