Written by Doug Apple, Wave94 Monday, 19 July 2010 10:56
They were cursing at each other, loudly. My friend was stuck in the parking lot, forced to witness the scene.He said it all started innocent enough. A woman was simply driving through the parking lot, and a man started to pull out.
Now who knows what was going on in this man’s or this woman’s life before this moment. Maybe they were frustrated with their kids. Maybe they had a fight with their spouse. Maybe they were ill. Maybe they were just in a bad mood.
But anyway, when the man started to pull out, the woman laid on the horn.
If you’ve ever been honked at, you know it’s a jolt. It’s like being shoved. It scrambles your brain for a second, then you must respond. A honk requires a response.
So what did he do? He started cursing at her.
Now I’m not a cursing man, but I have been honked at, and I can relate to the curser.
Last week I was at a gas station/McDonalds on I-95. I filled up with gas while my wife ran inside. When I was done, I could see she was ready to come out, so I pulled up by the front door. All of a sudden a woman honked at me.
I looked at the woman. I looked at all the empty parking spots, but she wanted the very one I was blocking. And no, it wasn’t handicapped.
My first split-second thought was to jump out and give her a piece of my mind. “How dare you honk at me. My wife will be out in two seconds. There are parking spots all over the place. Use one of those and stop honking, you blankety-blank blank blank.”
But my next split-second thought was that it was no big deal, I could simply pull up a few feet and let the woman in, which I did. She entered the restaurant as my wife walked out, and they probably shared a friendly greeting. The incident was over, no big deal, and life went on.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way it went down in my friend’s town. The man who was backing out and got honked at began cursing at the honker, and she began cursing back.
Uh-oh. People cursing back and forth is never good.
Now get this. Their cars ended up side by side. They both had their windows down and were cursing like sailors at each other.
This is what I call escalation. Since neither party was willing to pull the plug on the incident, it continued to escalate.
Finally the woman picked up her big drink and hurled it into the man’s face. And what do you know, he also had a big drink, and he, too, hurled it into the face of his new enemy.
And finally, finally, someone pulled the plug on the incident and drove away, but not before both of them made screaming fools of themselves and got soaked in stickiness.
Another story. I was in Palm Beach Gardens recently visiting relatives and went for a jog through the neighborhood. I really enjoyed the scenery with all the palm trees and nice landscaping. But then later I heard about a shooting right there on that sidewalk in broad daylight.
What? In that nice little neighborhood?
Yes, ma’am, and it happened because neither party was willing to pull the plug on the incident and walk away.
Two men were walking their dogs, and when they passed one another, the dogs got into it.
I don’t know why the men allowed it. Maybe they both wanted their dog to win. But anyway, one man said to the other, “Get your dog away from my dog or I’m going to shoot it.”
Well the other man didn’t pull his dog away, or at least not fast enough, so the first man pulled out a gun and shot the other man’s dog, and shot the man in the leg.
So because neither one of them pulled the plug on the incident, one ended up in the hospital and the other in jail.
The other day someone asked me for one distinguishing mark of a Christian. My first thought was “forgiveness.”
A Christian is quick to forgive.
Jesus taught us over and over to forgive, and when Peter said, “How often…up to seven times?” Jesus said, “Seventy times seven.”
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
So when you find yourself in an “incident,” be a Christian. Be quick to forgive. Be the one to humble yourself, and you will quickly pull the plug on the incident before it spirals out of control.
And if that sounds too weak or humiliating for you, I guess you’ll just have to end up in the hospital, or jail, or dragging yourself home with your tail between your legs, drenched in someone else’s soda.
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
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