You are cleared for stupidity

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had just kept your opinion to yourself? Or at the very least, just kept your mouth shut? I think this guy wishes he had followed both rules.

This guy got on the horn and started blasting gays, grannies and ‘grandes’ (a reference to overweight, obese people), unaware that he had neglected to turn off his communication device. Oops!

I thought it was hilarious from the perspective that guys like this deserve to be lambasted and publicly flogged for their stupidity. It illustrates the point that the person you know in public, may not always be the person he is in private.

No doubt this guy is humiliated that his conversation was heard by others whom he thought were not privy to his rant. But how often does that happen with less severe consequences? Have you ever butt-dialed someone and didn’t realize it until it’s too late and you’ve made some very disparaging remarks about certain people including the person that you’ve butt dialed? I can’t say that its ever happened to me but I do know a few people who have been in that situation and I can tell you that it didn’t go well for them.

It may not even be your cell phone (the “Foot in Mouth” syndrome is not limited to personal devices). For instance, have you ever sent an email to your best friend, and in that email your trashing someone, only to get a reply a short while later from the person you were talking trash about? How about posting something online in a chat room, in an Instant Message or (yikes) in a blog?

It could be in person. Have you ever participated in a conversation at work, church or in any type of setting where you’re talking about someone and that someone just happens to be within earshot of your conversation?

Over the years, the workplace (at least to my knowledge) has become a much safer place because there are laws on the State and the national level that prohibit us from discussing certain topics including, but not limited to, race, medical history/condition or sexual orientation or religion to name a few. Most company’s have laws of good governance in place to help police these types of things from making the workplace a cesspool of office drama.

Unfortunately, there are still times and places where these types of discussions fall short of the mark which is not surprising. We are human after all and its hard to deny the allure of participating in a bit of character or group assassination.

I’m not immune to it either. Sometimes someone will tell me something that seems scandalous, shocking or revealing and some of the thoughts that jog through my head at that moment are, ‘Does so-and-so’s family know this?’ ‘Who should I share this information with?’ ‘This is unbelievable, I need to tell someone!’

Thankfully “Good-Me” is getting better and better at convincing “Bad-Me” to pump the brakes and take a moment to consider the implications of what this could do, not only to the persons involved, but to my own character (or what’s left of it). Many times, people tell me information in total confidence and I believe that it should remain in confidence never to be divulged or shared with anyone else.

Can you imagine a world where politicians had no recourse but to act with the utmost respect and decency for their opponent? What a difference that would make in competitive sports, in the hallways at school and even in our church pews where this type of behavior is clearly against most spiritual ideology no matter what tenet or form of deity you worship.

Here’s a (scary) glimpse at my own humanity: I have my own personal opinion and feelings on certain red-hot issues. They don’t always fall in line with what the rest of the world believes or even the beliefs of those whom I consider to be in my own circle of influence. I, like many people in this day and age of political correctness, know that these ‘heavy’ topics require a certain amount of sensitivity.

Sometimes I discuss these topics openly with people. My intentions, however, are merely curiosity and for my own education. There is no malice and I do not wish to intentionally harm, force my opinion on anyone or defame people. My opinions on these topics are based solely on my own research and education and if I’m still uncertain about how I feel on a topic, I do not share my opinions until I’m certain I am well informed.

Sadly, there are so many like this pilot who understand that they are entitled to their own opinion but don’t quite understand that you don’t have to share it.

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