Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Stroke Survival: What to Say to Rude Folks

I've been impaired, in one way or another for close to three decades. I've got "bionic" joints, have had my spine rebuilt, and now strokes. I only wish my "bionic" joints worked as well as they did for the Six Million/Billion Dollar Man (1973/2020 respectively), but all in all, they work almost as well as the original parts. At least I'm not in excruciating pain with them only a nagging ache when the weather turns.

In all those years, I've run into several rather rude, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior in others. There are the well meaning folk, nosy folk, helpful advice folk, snide folk, and the down right obnoxious folk. It takes all kinds to run this world, I guess. I do my best to ignore them, but sometimes, their comments just hit me the wrong way or I reached my limit four folks ago and I blast them. I've written about a few episodes here.

As a minister, I preach to turn the other cheek (rather than retaliation) and I know I should. But I'm only human. My cheeks get mighty sore. I think of Jesus and what he endured before the cross and try to emulate Him, but I fail. Repeatedly, I fail. Then instead of being forgiving,  I'll either seethe with anger over the incident, or kick myself for not turning the other cheek. Usually it's both when the anger dissipates.We are our own worse enemies. Nobody could beat us up better than ourselves. Sound familiar?

Still I can't stop my mouth. Almost never with a curse words, instead I usually use words that drip from my tongue like honey from a spoon. For those that know me well start looking for cover when they hear it. I learned long ago to use diplomatic words when confronting an enemy. I refuse to stoop to their level by using crude, harsh words. The nosy, and trying to be helpful folk out there will get your meaning rather quickly.

The outright rude and obnoxious folks won't. For them, I use a different tact. First, I ignore them. Some people won't be ignored or back down. Second, I confront them. "What in the devil is your deal?" With this one be prepared to listen to all the wrongs the world has done them. Don't try to fix his problems. Be aware that you are not the cause. Simply ask, "What exactly did I do to you to deserve this treatment?" By this time, he is flabbergasted and probably speechless. Simply thank him for his honesty and remind him that change begins with him. Be sure to add, "Have a blessed day" as you turn to leave.

Another tactic I have used is offering to trade places. I know how rough living is in the replacement part, cancer, a failing heart, and a partially paralyzed body is. Not many folks have been through the battles I have. I usually win this one. (grinning) Of course this means having to explain what he's trading for and him ready to listen. After this comparison, most will scuff imaginary dust from their pants and murmur, "No, thanks" before they walk away especially after last year.

Now dealing with bullies is another thing. I just refuse to engage. When confronted with a bully, I've dealt with more than my fair share where there was no out. Nine times out of ten, they will be screaming at the top of their lungs. Screaming back at him will do no good because he's not listening.  He makes himself a "bigger man" by making you feel or look smaller. Don't stoop to his level.

Brace yourself and keep calm even if you are scared out of your wits. By his behavior he will likely draw a crowd. That's what he'll love. In his mind, he is growing in stature and respect even though just the opposite is true. He may ball his fists at you, and then you've got him. Simply say in a calm voice, "That's assault." With a crowd (or a witness) around you, simply walk away if you can. Be ready for the grab or shove, because its coming. When it does, say "That's battery. How long do you want to stay in jail for?" Hopefully by now, someone has called the police.

Be aware that I use the pronoun for a male, but it can be a female. No one can take away your rights to be unless you give it to them. Remember that. You are a special and unique individual. These types of intrusions into your life disrupts your life only if you let it.

Nothing is impossible.


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