The Golden Rule
This week's #BlackCatBlogClub is brought to you by a weird experience I had in a grocery store one time.
Backstory: Most of you guys that we have become friends with know that Cory and I grew up church boys, I mean, we're still church boys, but we used to be church boys too (That joke will never get old. Thanks Mitch Hedberg. RIP). But growing up, especially being involved in children's ministries, you learn about, "The Golden Rule" and the whole, "treat others the way you want to be treated." I feel like that's not really just a church thing, but more just a not-crappy person thing but, you know, tomato-potato.
Okay. I'm in the grocery store. I'm buying a soda and probably candy, because I'm a child, and a customer stands behind me and goes, "OH GROSS."
Here is a list of what happened next,
First instinct: There's a freaking bug on me. It's probably big. It's probably the size of my head. I'm going to die today.
Realization once I realize that there isn't a mutant bug on me: This customer is literally waiting for me to look at them. Why do I know that? Because they are literally staring at me and making one of those crinkly faces someone gets when they step in a poop at the park.
I remembered the Golden Rule: "Treat others the way you want to be treated".
So I threw up on her.
I'm sure that this is not an uncommon thing for you buddies out there. I've had tattoos since the day I turned 18, I used to have 1 1/2 inch plugs and lip rings and that was always a super fun conversation to have with the local church lady, or guy at the store, or person that thinks it's tight to grab you by the arm to look at your tattoo of a fish. You know, because that's why I got em: so you could give me your opinion on them and touch me. (That's sarcasm, I didn't get tattoos for that.)
Back to the grocery store: Lady says, "gross". I think theres a bug on me. There's no bug. I turn around. She's staring at me. I'm Gross-Moment of Truth.
Cory and I have talked about situations like this not only with BlackCat but within our individual music careers: The first interaction. It takes one interaction with someone for them to form an opinion of you and everything you represent. You could be the person that saved 47 cats from a burning building and you donate all of your money to the local community center, you have that poor interaction with someone that maybe isn't even your fault and boom, you will never have the chance to talk about that.
So I turned around to this lovely woman, I say, "Hi, my name's Nick. Can I ask why you--"
Didn't even have a chance to finish before I got this lovely nugget, "You've got too many tattoos. It's disgusting. Your mother is probably so embarrassed."
Jokes on you, lady. My moms probably more embarrassed that I have a "Sorry Mom" sticker on my bike and that I post pictures of weird toads on Instagram and tell everyone thats what I look like every Monday, but not because I have tattoos.
I love making jokes. It's how I cope. But I also love making people uncomfortable, in the nicest way possible. So I said, "Oh man. I don't think she would be. But I'm pretty sure she would want me to do this," and I punched her in the head.
Just kidding. Sorry.
I was up at the cashier at this point and I asked the teller to hold onto my card and pay for this lady's groceries, I was going to grab a coffee and come back. (Don't get crazy, she didn't have some monster cart, it was maybe 2 or 3 things. I've been broke since forever, I couldn't afford that.) I stood in line waiting for my coffee and my new friend grabs me by the shoulder and says, "Why would you do that? Is that a joke or something?"
"Nope! Not a joke! Do you want a coffee?"
"What is your story? Why are you like this?"
This is pretty much what I said:
We have opportunities every day to show people who we are. We have maybe 10 seconds to say, "I am a person that cares about people. I am a person that is doing their best. I am a person, just like you," and I think that we forget about that sometimes. I have always learned that treating people the way I want to be treated is one of the most important things to remember in my everyday life, but I think lately, that idea has been more of a "Well if I'm nice to you, you have to be nice to me. If you're mean to me, I'm gonna wreck you."
I have been guilty of the latter more than I would care to admit.
I want to tell you the that this lady that started out calling me gross welled up with tears in her eyes and gave me a hug and said thank you and apologized. She didn't. But she did order a coffee. A big one. And then she left. And honestly, I'm really glad she did.
I'd like to think that people remember things like that and pass it on. I'd like to think that maybe the small things we do every day affect the ones around us. And we don't have to see it. I think what I'm trying to say is instead of treating people the way you want to be treated, treat them like you're never going to seem them again. Treat them like this is your only shot to show them who you are and what you represent.
I feel okay being a person that cares about people. I feel okay about being a person that is doing their best. I feel okay about being a person.