I’m getting old. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Last month I celebrated my 45th birthday, 15 years or so past my self imposed expiration date, but, unlike milk which spoils quickly after its dot matrix stamped “Drink By” date, I seem to be getting mellower with age. I know, I know, you’re thinking… “Where is this going, Skip? Just where the fuck is all this going?”
Well, I’ll tell you…
You see, today in my time… the past in your time, I was insulted by a subordinate. Now, this was not just any insult, this was an insult that cut to my core… right down to a part of me where I hold my personal and private identity sacred. (Yes, there are some things I hold sacred… this I know is a shock to most of you.) This person, made their insult in what I hope was jest, but in all reality, to me at least, it was cruel and unwarranted. Especially since I did not initiate the conversation with this person. What the person said is irrelevant now, but when they said it, I stopped in my tracks and turned around and faced them.
I faced them in such a way that my body language should have told them I was ready to not just verbally but physically pulverize them into a greasy pool of DNA waiting to be picked up by the local crime scene cleaner. My legs were spread shoulder wide, my arms hung down in an arc, hands half clenched in anger, my head was tilted down slightly and through gritted teeth and a controlled grin I looked at my insulter and tried to gauge if this were worth my time and effort. This brief moment of introspection stopped me from acting rashly. I didn’t move towards them, I didn’t say what was on my mind and I damn sure didn’t give this person the satisfaction of making me lose my temper. But… but… I did respond, in a very controlled manner.
The gist of what I said can be boiled down to this… “I am not going to respond to you, and you of all people have no idea what I do. If you did, then you would know what you just said is false. If you again try to talk to me like this you will not like the result.” Wow, that sounds so much better than what I probably said, but like most people in the heat of an argument, I really don’t know what I said, but I know that it was not a threat nor was it taken as such. My insulter turned back to their locker and kept talking to me. I turned and walked away.
I walked away.
Five years ago I would have verbally destroyed this person at an extremely high decibal. Ten years ago I would have physically intimidated them and verbally destroyed them. Fifteen years ago I would have just decked them with a roundhouse punch. But today, looking back at birthday, I walked away without so much as raising my voice above conversational tones. Is this growth? Fatigue? Senility? Maybe a bit of all three? I don’t know. I don’t care.
What I do know is that my life at forty-five is almost if not already half over. I’ve made enemies of friends and friends of enemies in my life. I’ve come to ignore the daily drama of people steeped in pop –culture and I have tried to make my family my purpose. I’ve buried to many people I consider friends and close acquaintances and I’ve lost friends through misunderstandings because my focus was not on what was important. What is important? Really, I’m asking you, dear reader; What is important?
I know what I feel is important to me and I try to keep that carrot of knowledge in my frontal lobes focused at all time. I fail occasionally, as we all do, but I try. I think today’s test, yes, this was a test, was a success. It showed to me that I have grown. Am I a better man? A better person? Nah, I’m still messed up beyond any shrinks ability to fix but I think I am on the road to becoming a better person with a thicker skin.
Have a good week.