Here is another story I like to tell to make a point. Guess you would call it an object lesson. Know its been good for me and I’ve shared it over the years with a number of people who needed to hear it.
Friend of mine who lives west of town, we’ll call him Max, used to have an issue getting his newspaper delivered first thing in the morning. Took a while but he finally figured out what was happening. The mailman would stop by, pull his newspaper out of the box, read it during the day, and then put it back at the end of his route when he dropped off Max’s mail.
Over time this routine became a source of irritation for Max. Then one day there were other sources of irritation and the paper became the flashpoint. So Max decided he had a bate of it and wanted to do something.
He knew the mail carrier stopped by a country store every day on his route before heading back to the post office. So, he decided to wait for him at the store and confront him about his paper stealing habit. Max was primed to give him a piece of his mind, a real “what fer” in Southern parlance.
So here is your visual: old country store, white sided, rusted tin roof, wooden bench out front, Coca Cola sign with the name of the storekeeper on the side of the building, cold drinks in an old galvanized box, the kind you slid a lid sideways and reached down into, a few dry goods and lots of dust on the shelves, you know the place, hopefully. Max walks in the store, gets a drink out of the box, Coke in a glass bottle, and goes out front to wait on the wooden bench.
A few minutes later the storekeeper comes out. Weather talk ensues, then he asks Max what he’s waiting for. After hearing about it there is a pregnant pause, a moment of reflection, a look away into the fields and pastures surrounding the store. A few minutes of pondering.
“Max”, he asks, “would you do something for me?”
“Sure”, is the answer, not knowing he is about to be waylaid.
“Why don’t you just let him be the a**hole?”, then he turns and walks back in the store.
Max sat there a few more minutes considering the request, finished the last couple swallows of Coke, put the bottle in the old wooden rack beside the bench, got in his truck, and went back to the house.
On one hand, to me, it is a liberating story. Fraught with dynamics like transfer of power, release, self-actualization, and other twenty dollar words.
On the other hand, it’s just a cool story…..