I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My self-diagnostic program must be off line. My wife would probably say my OCD is out of control. My adult children would say that I have a narcissistic personality disorder. The grandkids would probably say I’m just "Grandpa, the Terrible". Maybe I just don’t think before I act, which is why I’m bad at Chess.
A couple of days ago I was en route to the temple of capitalism on a budget, Dollar General. From a couple of blocks away (the other side of town for us) I heard a thumping bass. When I got closer I figured out it was coming from a truck in the parking lot. It was blaring a song by Beastie Boys, or ICP, or some other group I don’t care about. The point is, the lyrics were profanity yelled over and over. I don’t know if the profanity was worse or if the unimaginative way it was used was the worse. I mean, if you’re going to act like a jerk at least be creative about it. The song sounded like a bunch of drunk GIs were trying to impress the only girl at a bar. It was bad.
I looked around for a likely suspect and found one near the check-out. I loudly asked him, "Is that your truck blaring a song about doing sexual things to your mother?" He admitted it was his, and said he’d better turn it town. I verbally agreed and called him a punk as he walked past me. I apologized to the cashier, who wasn’t happy with me. Afterwards I decided the male was probably her boyfriend.
I don’t know why I did that. I could say that I’m defending the honor of the ladies in the area, but most ladies can handle that sort of deal. I could say that I’m protecting children, but they have parents for that.
While many people have said I did the right thing, but that’s probably not true. The most obvious problem is that I look like a jerk, and the people in the store will never really trust me. I’m pretty sure that if I have a heart attack in "The General" I’m not getting CPR or defibrillated.
It’s like when I lived in St Louis. I took my young daughter to Wal-Mart to get a Mother’s day gift. In the next aisle I heard a couple of males loudly talking about getting women drunk and seducing them and worse. I told my daughter to stay put and I went around the end cap to confront what turned out to be large muscular half-wits. I told them to cut it out because my child was there. One mutant said, "She’s gonna hear it somewhere anyway." I was shocked, and then angry. I said, "Get out. Get out of the store now." I couldn’t believe they actually left. Maybe they thought I worked there.
Of course, it could have gone badly. They could have been waiting on us outside the store. They could have followed us home. My kid could have witnessed her Dad getting shot. I thought about that after the fact.
In retrospect, I should keep my mouth shut. I could have nicely asked the people to tone it down. In the St Louis case, I could have just explained to my daughter that people can be rude.
My point is to think about consequences when you act like a vigilante. By sticking my nose in I could have been, and could still be, attacked or marginalized in some way. My Grandma would say, "Look before you leap". I might change that to "Don’t leap at all".
Contact Charlie at email@example.com, but turn that music down first.