Lightning and the Lightning Bug
The subject came up, 'cause we were joking about me being old-fashioned. I don't think I am. "Stodgy" is how I think my buddy put it. He was teasing, of course, but what prompted him to say it in the first place was our reminiscing about the good old days and one time in particular when we were at a black tie event trying to look important and pick up women. There I was in a tux, holding court with a handful of women, and my fly was down. Apparently I stood there like that for at least half an hour. When someone finally pointed it out to me I was mortified. It wasn't that I was ashamed of my naughty bits, covered behind a trusty pair of boxers as they were. I'm quite proud of them. It was that I had shame. Some stuff just wasn't meant for public display.
I'm not gonna be like the crotchety old guy who starts every other sentence with something like "In my day..." On the contrary, today, these days, when I'm in public I'm constantly getting jabbed and pinched by Mrs. B for saying stupid things. I do it on purpose, 'cause I thik I'm funny. I may be the only person who thinks so. And I'm also careful to make sure what I'm saying to her can't be overheard. If someone did overhear me, no doubt I'd be ashamed some times. But I don't think shame exists anymore. And shame can be a good thing, I think. Shame, to varying degrees, is like the manifestation of a properly working conscience.
I'm not seeing that manifestation so much these days among my peers, whether it's brain dead celebutards prancing around w/out drawers on and, coincidentally, bending over to pick up loose change from the sidewalk right when the cameras and flash bulbs come out, Joe Average swearing like a sailor within earshot of elderly women and small children, or 13-year-old girls strutting the mall in tiny skirts and T-shirts with slogans like "Your boyfriend is a good kisser" and "Two boys for every girl" (actual slogans on shirts once sold a popular national retailer for teens).
Mrs. B and I were in the grocery Sunday afternoon - the Whole Foods on Federal Hwy in Fort Lauderdale, if you live in South Florida, and while she was waiting for stuff at the deli I decided to grab a coffee. There was a guy in line in front of me at the coffee counter. And as I walked up, this is the conversation I stumbled on between that guy and the barista:
Barista: So what's going on?
Guy: Nothing, just looking for somone.
Barista: Is he hot?
Guy: You know that guy who works in like frozen vegetables or something, that one with the dark hair?
Barista: He's hot. I think he has something for you.
Guy: Oh yeah, sexy.
Barista: He totally wants to tap that.... (imagine the rest)
Guy: Oh yeah, you know he wants to tap my....
Me (in thought only): You guys are insane. Do you care at all that a total stranger is standing here, listening to you talk about this kind of stuff?
BTW, in case Rosie O'D is reading, if the guy had been straight and talking explicitly about hooking up w/a girl, or it had been a girl in line, talking explicitly about hooking up up w/a guy, I'd have felt the same way.
Shame's good. Shame is the thing that prevents most of us from "actin' a fool," in public, as my Grandma Rosa used to say.
And to the co-worker who paused mid-stride in the aisle about eight feet from my desk and let a butt belch rip earlier - that's right; you know who you are; I saw/heard you - not cool. You, my friend, could use a little shame. You could use a little less protein your diet, but you could use a little shame too.