Thursday, April 5, 2007

Be nice..

All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.

When I was a younger man, was dating a girl who is now long since my ex. I went to a family gathering with her for thanksgiving, and met both of her grandmothers.
Her dad's mom, Mimi, was a sweet rotund German woman. A holocaust survivor. She had run a successful business, and had sold bath towels to two presidents, and Elvis. She had her flaws, but mostly she was fun and totally enamorate of all kinds of small things. The colors and taste of food, a sunny day, clothes, whatever. "Schatse, zat is see prettiest dress on you!" "Look a the peppers, what a lovely yellow!" "You are a nice young man, you take care of my granddaughter." She was nice.
My ex's maternal grandmother, was tall, gaunt, and bitchy. That's all I remember of her. That's it. I don't remember what she said that was bitchy. Can't remember her name. Don't know what she did before retiring. Nothing.
It takes so little energy to be nice to people, but it makes such an impression. If you are mean, people forget YOU. They only remember the rotten things you did or said. If you are nice, people remember you, what you did, what you looked like. When we are all dead, people we were mean to (and we've all been mean to someone) will not remark at our passing at all. The people are nice to (hopefully you've been nice to someone) will morn and remember. As I get older, that means more to me.
It cannot be said that in my misspent youth, and a few times since, I haven't been otherwise. I have been an insufferable prick to at least an even score of people (and probably more), but "Ahm tryin' lawd, Ahm tryin'." While I firmly believe that there is someone in this world that thought, with good reason, that Gandhi (personally, not politically) was a raging asshole and somewhere else someone thought: "that Joe Stalin is such a nice man" those folks were probably few and far between, and it shows. I know that Gandhi made his own clothes, and marched to the sea to make salt. I know he was a huge believer in the power of non-violent protest, and I know what his wife looks like. I know he said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I know Stalin had a bunch of people killed, aaaaand that's about it.
I don't think anyone should suffer at the hands of the cantankerous and mean, but smiling and being nice to everyone else doesn't cost anything, and people will remember.
So let's be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

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