It takes a strong man to hold his tongue. And I'm not just talking about Yaphet Kotto.
It's not always easy to keep your opinions to yourself. There are countless situations in which one feels compelled to voice their thoughts, whether to respond to a personal slight, or correct a misguided assumption, or enlighten an ignoramus. But I say if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Every day, we -- each and every one of us -- are faced with situations in which a clever put down or an angry retort might serve us well. In the short term, such outbursts can result in a brief moment of self-satisfaction, a feeling of superiority, even the approving laughter of our peers. But before you lash out at your next victim, ask yourself exactly what effect your smug inconsideration has. For in the long run, only your reputation suffers.
There are a lot of tiny rules in this life that I consider to be pretty gosh-darn pointless, many of them having to do with file sharing. But respecting one another, despite all our differences and despite what rules we each choose to observe or disregard, is the most important thing we can do. And if that means stifling a negative impulse to rip someone a new one, so be it.
I would never demean another's beliefs, but I am not a religious man. Yet just like our President, I see a lot of merit in living the way Jesus Christ preached in the New Testament. It makes a lot more sense to turn the other cheek, to practice the "Golden Rule," than it does to let anger rule your heart. We are nothing if not our brothers' keepers, and we would do well to treat others as we would like to be treated.
There are a number of instances so far in this column in which I could have gone for the easy laugh, tossed a casual insult towards Christians or Republicans or you. And I admit, the idea of it gives me pleasure. It arouses me. But in the long run, such a simple gambit weakens me both as a writer and as a human being. It's the easy way out, going for laughs when the situation calls for substance. In fact, I wish I hadn't said I was aroused. If I offended anyone, I apologize. It was foolish of me, and juvenile.
Respect. Courtesy. Patience. Love. These are the things that last. These are the things that matter.
We would do well to think twice before harming another person, either with our words or our actions. We are all in this together, fighting for a little piece of happiness, so who are we to begrudge one another for achieving it? It doesn't do anyone any good to let the devil in our hearts and be ruled by fear or anger or envy.
If a friend asks for advice, restrain yourself from mocking him before giving him your sincere attention. Would he call you a pathetic shithook if you asked him if it was strange to have sexual fantasies about beehives? No, he wouldn't. And so what if he would? Perhaps you can penetrate his heart with a little bit of kindness.
If a colleague is rubbing you the wrong way during a meeting, don't shoot him down by mocking his inferior Powerpoint skills. Would he make you look bad in front of your boss just because you had really bad b.o.? Of course not. And so what if he would? Who are you to judge someone else's behavior? Perhaps he is allergic to soap.
Everyone will be better off if you exercise some self-control and do your best to turn the other cheek. Nothing is worth getting so het up that you let loose strings of profanities and insults that would make Bob Saget blush.
After all, is there anything in life really worth getting upset about?
Your favorite team lost a big game? So what.
Your ex-girlfriend got married? Big deal.
Someone called you a sissy boy and poured beer on your head in front of your date? Boo hoo.
Life is life. If it wasn't hard it wouldn't be living. Why make it harder on yourself by sweating the small stuff, the medium stuff, even the huge stuff? Take a chill pill and appreciate all the beautiful things life holds in store for you. Even the bad things.
After all, life's unpredictablity is what makes it so amazing! So smile! You'll live longer!
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
6.8.07 @ 5:36p
Honestly, I'm speechless.
6.8.07 @ 5:45p
HA! This is awesome!
6.8.07 @ 7:36p
Wow! It's a long time since I've read anything this positive.
6.8.07 @ 10:44p
Someone hacked into Mike's account again.
6.11.07 @ 1:48a
This is bullshit.
6.11.07 @ 12:41p
If this isn't a 180, I don't know what is. I'm rubbing my eyes now...
6.11.07 @ 9:30p
You're dead to me, Mike.
6.16.07 @ 3:38p
Did anybody consider that this might be sarcasm? If it isn't, then bravo!