April 20th, 2010


The Gospel of Eric

[Courtesy] Eric 1:1

I often remind my son the importance of practicing. His counter-argument of course are those with a natural ability. I remind him that while seemingly good at many things, these prodigies aren't good at everything and practice alone can help him excel at anything he chooses to set his hand to.

This morning it dawned on my I may have to retract my statement and apologize to him - because either everyone I travel on the road with is a first-time driver, or the days, months, and years of "practice" they've had driving simply does not translate to better ability. Seriously - how difficult is it to learn to GET OUT OF THE LEFT HAND LANE if traffic is driving faster than you are? That isn't a rhetorical question. Seriously - what the fuck is going through your head? Do you not find it easier to not be either completely clueless or more facilitatory? I know I do! In fact, I spent a lot of time on the road trying to not piss off other people - not the opposite (though as an aside, I do end up upsetting the holier-than-thou crowd (see below) in my attempts to drive safely and accurately - can't please all of the people all of the time)!

My ire today was caused by a driver who turned right, down the parking lot lane at work I was waiting to turn right out of - without signaling. I'm not making this up. She turned without indicating! For those of you who are new to driving, or dumb, I wasn't just waiting there for fun. She had the right-of-way, and I was waiting for her to drive past me so I could turn.

To me it all boils down to courtesy.

In this day and age courtesy is not only underutilized, but more importantly, undervalued. We, as a society place no value on it and therefore do not attempt to practice it - and the reasons for not doing so are mind-blowingly Darwinistic. Yes, you're going to die soon because you don't deserve to live. Sad but true. Despite seeing it and hearing it over and over, I still find it difficult to imagine living in a world where other people just don't care about anything but themselves. The very core of my existence aches at the thought that these people live and breath. And you God-fearing folks: You do not have the market cornered on politeness. Quite the contrary - given Christianity's penchant for justification you are often the worst offenders. You know this is true, but you justify that as well. GOOD LUCK TO YOU IN THE AFTERLIFE.

Speaking of highly-fragmented religions, at the core of nearly every spiritual doctrine is a variation of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I'm not interested in the last time you saw that practiced, rather, when was the last time you practiced it yourself? We're not perfect beings - none of us are - but I've found that I can simultaneously lower my frustration and increase my personal happiness footprint by being agreeable and accommodating most of the time. Sure I still stare at people until they disappear when the situation calls for it - but those are the exceptions and not the rules. If you find that your situation calls for it more often than not, the problem may be yours.

For those of you who agree that an act of love can mask a thousand offenses (And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,) perhaps you too can understand that its inverse remains true to me. There are a thousand reasons to not use your turn-signal, but they all culminate with being rude, and I can't abide rudeness.

Go forth today and be excellent to each other, as I will be excellent to you.