Let Me Give You a Piece of My Mind

March 8, 2010

I’m a bit softspoken.

Which is kind of weird for a pastor and a teacher.  Those are two jobs that require talking.  Plus, I pretty much say what I want to on this blog.  But I don’t do it in real life.

I know being soft-spoken and “meek” is probably holier looking than being a loudmouth.  But more often than not, I feel like a really holy super-pansy for my inability to speak up.  Like this weekend, I saw Alice in Wonderland.  It was pretty good, except for the chumps talking behind me the whole time.  And as much as I wanted to, I could not tell them to shut up.  But then again, no one else did either, so we pretty much all acted like a bunch of sock monkeys. 
I admire men who speak their mind and don’t take “no” for an answer.  I wish I were Gregory Peck.  Look at that picture.  Go ahead, admire it.  It’s glorious.  No one had to wonder what he was thinking.  He was probably telling the photographer to quit being such a pasty-faced shirtwaisted cad when this photo was snapped.

We all have lots of chances to speak up every day.  Let’s see how soft-spoken or bold you are.  Where do you draw the line and finally speak your mind?

The kid asks you if plastic is okay.
This should be a pretty simple one.  A customer should have no problem saying “No. Paper.”  But when I bagged groceries, every customer who asked for paper felt the need to give me their life story, justifying their need for paper.

“Oh, I’m afraid I have some extra recycling, and I have a new puppy and my kids need some cheap textbook covers, and I use the bags in the garden, and my husband needs something to catch the oil drips from the car, so I will be needing paper today.”

Like anyone cares.  But you know what?  I now have a slightly hard time saying “No.  Paper.”  Because I know that minimum wage worker would rather carelessly toss my bread and canned goods together in a plastic bag instead of carefully “Tetris-ing” my items together in a paper bag.

Your food order is slightly wrong.
Either I’m a pansy, or I just don’t care.  But I’ll usually let this one slide.  I know people who send things back if their order happens to not be to their delicate liking.  I say you made that choice, and you have to live with it.  Or risk getting your food spit on.

You get cut off in traffic.
This is where I shine as a man who gives others a piece of his mind.  It’s just unfortunate no one can hear me give them a piece of my mind.  But it’s probably a good thing I don’t have any small children with me in the car.

Someone calls you by the wrong name.
Back to wuss-ville for me.  We’ve all probably been there.  Someone makes a mistake.  They call us the wrong name.  I can usually correct someone I just met.  But if I’ve known them more than 24 hours, it’s just awful to embarass someone by correcting them on my name.  That shouldn’t be.  It’s my name!  And you should remember it!

Your kid is being bullied.
This is where most parents start sharpening their claws.  Who wouldn’t want to put your child’s bully in their place?  Who wouldn’t want to go to the bully’s house and confront his parents?  I had a bully who lived a block away from me.  I was pretty pleased when my Dad went over there and gave his dad the old “one-two,” as a matter of speaking.  But it didn’t solve anything.  I still had to confront the bully myself to get rid of him.

There is a belligerant drunk man on the bus.
It is really hard to confront strangers in public.  People can do almost anything and passers-by will do nothing.  If you doubt me, watch Dateline.  They catch people watching all kinds of crazy stuff going down.  I could walk out to the town square, strip down to my underwear and steal an old woman’s purse, and no one would say “boo.”

Your pastor asks if anyone has prayer requests.
This sounds really bad coming from a guy who asks for prayer requests from people at church.  But I lock up when I’m in a less familiar group and someone asks for prayer requests.  I’m petrified when people get up and start praying over people.  I keep my eyes on my feet when people start looking for people they can pray for.  I slink under the chairs when people start laying hands on one another.  When I ask for prayer requests, it’s more of a group prayer, not a “having a stranger put his hands on me” kind of prayer time.  I can’t be the only one who has a hard time with this, can I?

Your hotel room neighbors are a bit noisy.
This is another weakness.  I went camping last year with some friends.  About 100 feet away were some drunk guys playing their truck’s radio all night.  It took us way too long to realize they were not going to shut up, and even longer to realize no one else was going to get the job done. 

Your hotel room neighbors are a bit noisy…if you know what I mean.
Maybe it’s best to just wait this one out…or try to drown them out…if you know what I mean…wink, wink.  Like…turn the TV up really loud while watching Spongebob.

Do you speak your mind, or are you a pushover?  Where do you draw the line, and where do you let it slide?