I’ve sort of been sitting on this one for a while. Actually, it’s been years since I decided that it would make for a good blog post. I had initially planned to compile a list of the top ten things to say if you wanted to be punched in the face. I haven’t been successful in coming up with anything beyond the one that I experienced personally.
My experience wasn’t one where I said something that deserved a punch. No, something was said to me. I refrained from violence, but I really think a fist to the face would have been justified. Read on to see if you agree.
A few years back, I found myself in an uncomfortable position. I was asked to appear in court to support a friend who was being falsely accused of some pretty ridiculous things. For the privacy of those involved, I won’t divulge names or details. However, I will admit that there were several former friends and acquaintances on the opposite side of the aisle.
At the end of that court day, one of those opposing acquaintances were exiting at the same time as I was. I held the door. After all, despite being on two different sides of this argument, I wasn’t going to let that change the way I treated people. Not that I’m the nicest person in the world, or the greatest at keeping up my side of a conversation, but I’m decent enough to hold a door for people.
As this opposing acquaintance passed through the door, he looked at me and said, “You know, Aaron, I’d really like to think that your dad would be disappointed in you right now.”
On the outside, I didn’t let that statement affect me. My facial expression didn’t change. Years of stoicism paid off. I didn’t respond with any words or gestures. I continued on my way, ignoring him and anyone that was with him. Inside, however, those words hit me hard.
That man’s words didn’t hit me hard because I thought there was any truth to them. It hurt because this opposing acquaintance didn’t know my father. He had no basis for claiming that my deceased dad would be disappointed in me. Therefore, he was calling into question not only my integrity, but that of my father as well. That’s what hurt.
I held it together until I was alone at lunch with friends and family. At that point, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I broke down into tears. This former acquaintance had accomplished his mission. I’m certain that this man only said what he said in order to get a reaction from me. My honest, gut reaction was to punch him in the face. He had no right to say what he did. He didn’t know my dad, other than by reputation. And it’s clear to me now that his view of my father’s reputation is severely skewed, especially if he thinks that Grayson Peck would be, in any way, disappointed in his son.
But I didn’t give this man the satisfaction of a response. I didn’t punch him. Mostly because we were in the lobby of a county courthouse surrounded by sheriff’s deputies. Also, because I really didn’t want to become one of their supposed antagonists when all I was doing was standing beside a person that had been wronged.
Let me say this: I love my Dad very much. He’s not with us anymore, but I know the man that he was. I may be disappointed in myself from time to time, with decisions I’ve made or with where I am in my life, but I will never doubt the fact that Dad was proud of me, and would be to this day. I’m sure there have been times and there will be times when something I do or say would have caused him to disagree with me in some way or another, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t still love and support me as his son. And in this situation that I found myself in, I believe he would have been standing right beside me in support of this friend.
So, a little advice, if you ever want to get someone to punch you in the face, feel free to insult the memory of their deceased parents. I’m sure it’s a quick way to get a broken nose or a busted lip. Unless you happen to do it in the foyer of a courthouse and the person whose skin you’ve tried to get under is man enough to take the higher road and walk away.
Like I said, I had planned to make out a list of things that fall into this category, but, as you can see, I only had the one example. Do you have any examples of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments.