Count to Ten: Then Act

Like most of you out there in reader-land, I am a human being. Well, maybe like all of you I guess.

That is exactly what happened in this particular case. My friend did this thing without weighing the potential negative impact of what he perceived to be a positive action. I am writing this little treatise to let him know that there is life after dumb-ass. I am living proof of that.

There have been a couple of times over the past several years when I really screwed up. I wrote commentaries that were flat-out wrong. I wrote things about people that were hurtful, based upon flawed data. While I wrote them with the best of intentions, that excuse was of no consequence because the facts were wrong and my tone was insulting and spiteful.

In those cases, the cure for the disease of stupidity was a simple dose of honesty. I owned up to my error and created commentary that was totally apologetic in nature. Many people find it hard to accept responsibility for their actions. These people never come to accept the liability for their actions.

That is not just how I view these things. It is a belief that I have come to have as a result of the manner in which I have lived my life. It is my belief that as a writer I owe a special duty to the concepts of truth and honesty. That serves as the tether between my soul and the concept of integrity.

In each of those cases where I showed a public case of the dumb-ass to those of you out in reader-land, I felt that an apology was in order. In each of those cases, the apology was accepted. Just remember that an apology can never erase the impact of the words which caused the damage. Words once spoken or written can never be recovered.

Have you ever tried to put toothpaste back into the tube from whence it came? You cannot do it. Think about it my friends. When words leave your mouth and enter the free air of our great nation, they are subject to the interpretations placed upon them by the folks who hear them.

The same concept holds true when the written word leaves your brain, passes through your arms and hands to the keyboard on your computer and thence onto the screens of anyone who chooses to read your words. Whether the content is on-line or within the print media, the result is the same. There is a permanent record of your thoughts. Right or wrong, they are there for everyone to see.

Perhaps my associate was seeking to stimulate thought. Maybe he was merely writing to inform. You know, it might even be that he was writing to motivate. Each of these is a possibility. Whichever it was, his words have unleashed a very angry swarm of bees.

The anger of those bees is being directed to everyone in the immediate vicinity of my friend. Each of us now finds it necessary to devote an inordinate amount of time to addressing the issues which were thrown down in the print article he authored; much like ancient knights and gentlemen threw down their gauntlet to challenge someone to a duel.

My friends, sometimes a writer needs to seek the counsel of his friends and advisors. I truly understand this concept my friends. I really do. Last week's commentary on the battle for federal funding came about as a result of numerous drafts, lots of advice, and several trips to the corner where I muttered my "don't be a dumb-ass" mantra. What could have been a destructive piece became an informative, motivational bit of commentary.

There are probably 20 pieces of commentary that will never see the light of your computer screen. You will never read them. It is not that their message is lacking. It is just that I wrote them when I was angry or agitated. I wrote stupid things. I wrote hurtful things. Luckily under the terms of my "don't be a dumb-ass" approach to life, the numerous hurtful genies that I created were never released from the lamp of my computer.

Funny, just pounding out my frustrations often makes me feel better. Thankfully my inner circle of good buddies has helped me. It is my suggestion that each of you assemble a small inner circle of trusted associates. When I say small, make it one, two, or three. More than that and you get too many conflicting opinions. The potential for a release of your secret thoughts grows as the number of people who knows about them increases.