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By Wm. May
Published: 03/28/18 Topics: Behavior, Cooking, Music, People, Self Improvement Comments: 0
It is too easy to believe that the world has changed, that it has become less predictable and that human beings have become less considerate, more harsh, more uncaring. Although I surely hope that is not true, remembering a warning from long ago, tells me things don't really change.
He was a friend, we played in a band together. He was the guitar player, the singer, and he was brilliant. I don't mean run-of-the-mill smart, but intelligent in a happy, smiling way that just says, "I know what I know." And more importantly, that he believed it. So we did, too.
The drummer in the band had gone to school with him since kindergarten. Both were 4.0 students in college. When queried the drummer said, "Yes, we are both straight A students, but I am fully aware that he has never gotten anything other than a perfect score."
Math and science, of course. 4.0. English and Chemistry A+. But also band, gym, student newspaper, and everything else. And of course, he was an Eagle Scout.
We actually made good money in the band, but the guitar player went off most summers to unknown small towns, where he was given a bicycle to ride around town selling encyclopedias. The sales pitch he learned bled over into his personality as truly a compassionate, truly caring and casual approach. His language was always friendly and non-threatening.
As we ate dinner in a local café, another band member mentioned their hamburger tasted like leather and he had decided to send it back to the kitchen. The guitarist laughed and said, "That's OK to send it back, but never be an ass about it."
Karl had also made money by working as fry cook in a local diner. He said, "You do know that if a customer is rude, the cooks will spit in the food before they return it back."
I laughed and said, "No, don't tell me that. Tell me it's not true." The guitar player smiled that smile that we'd come to recognize when he is absolutely sure he knows the facts and we don't.
"Oh yes, they will."
"Because cooks, dishwashers and wait staff aren't paid much, and certainly not enough to put up with bad people."
"But they could lose their jobs."
"Doesn’t matter, you can only push people so hard, before they fight back"
This conversation happened many years ago, Over years of dealing with customers, clients and people certainly more powerful than cooks, some have caused me to think of the guitarist.
People who get paid highly, such as maybe your doctor, dentist, accountant or lawyer, might listen and not react to bad manners. Your family may ignore your behavior. Your neighbors can avoid you.
But when dealing with everyone else, especially those who serve us all in restaurants, hotels, and even governmental offices, remember this. Be nice, or they will (in some way) spit in your food. And they'll laugh, because you'll never know.
Although he has continued to play music for years, the guitarist became a big success in his chosen profession, built wealth, raised a family and - I can imagine - he was loved by his customers, staff and partners.
I regret that we have not kept in close contact over the years, but I don’t have to imagine this, because I am absolutely sure. He has remained a pleasant, considerate person. He was far too smart to act in any other way.
Author: Wm. May
Blog #: 0596 – 03/28/18
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