Somebody Say Something

Our refrigerator went on the fritz last week so the Mrs. and I were poking around the appliance stores looking for a replacement. While there, we noticed a particularly rude and smart-mouthed teenager in another aisle causing her mother great pains as she kept rolling her eyes and complaining about having to wait while her mom talked to the salesman.

Her disrespect was so blatant that people all around were shaking their heads.

That’s when my wife said that famous sentence we all say, “Somebody ought to say something…”

Well, I run into these things all the time. I bet you do too.

In this case, I should have told that little girl if she didn’t straighten up she’d soon be able to read the Amana logo on her forehead whenever she looked in a mirror. Yet, I held my tongue.

But these things that need to be said, all of them would ideally be lumped under the topic, “Things that somebody should say but no one ever does.”

Well, who better than me to take a moment and say a few? For those I offend, here’s the first thing that should be said. Lighten up a little, okay?

Let’s begin…

Let’s Say Something

Coaches and supervisors that speak at athletic banquets or staff meetings should realize when they are poor public speakers and cut it a lot shorter than they do. Every single person in the room would be happier with them if they did. Every one.

Did any of these people ever stop to consider how patient and collectively polite a whole room of people are being when they all wish they could just stand up and yell, “Man, shut up already!”

How many years will this go on before people realize this basic fact? There, that had to be said. Now you can send this article anonymously to your kid’s coach before the next awards banquet. I’ll take the heat.

If you’re in an elevator with another person, you don’t have to stare at the numbers above the door. Say hello and smile. There is no reason to be in the presence of another living being and pretend not to be. Lighten up and say hello.

That car in front of you that’s driving slowly in the rain or snow; chances are the person driving is nervous, lost, or afraid. Do you think honking angrily or riding their bumper will improve their driving skills or help them drive up a phone pole? Wherever it is you’re going so fast, is it worth a human life? Imagine that’s your mom behind the wheel of that struggling car.

When your kid or employee makes a human error, like say, spills something or drops and breaks a dish or jams the copier please fight the urge to make the moment worse by yelling something like, “What the heck happened?”

In that moment, the person already feels bad enough, now here comes you demanding for them to retell the story and make it even more embarrassing. Anyway, you already know what happened — they made a mistake.

Try quietly going over and helping clean up. Maybe even smile and say something like, “Oh I’ve done that a million times.” Your calmness might help reduce the stress of the situation.

Try not being typical and overreacting. Fight the urge.

Younger people will always need the acknowledgement of accomplishments by older people. Whether they admit it or not, younger people are aware that older people have been on earth longer than them and have seen and been through more.

When those people dispense advice or recognize achievement, it means a lot to a younger person. I don’t just mean that parents should congratulate their sons or daughters for being great T-ball players.

I mean like a 40-year-old supervisor of one department saying to a 30-year-old new supervisor of another department something like, “Hey, you’re really good with people. A lot of people have noticed your strong people skills.”

Do you have any idea how good something like that can make someone feel? And what does it cost you? About five seconds of oxygen that you were going to exhale anyway?

You ever hear someone tell a story and they begin by saying something like, “Last Tuesday I was at the mall and…” And some genius nearby knows it was Monday not Tuesday when he/she was at the mall and immediately pipes in the correction like, “Uh, you were at the mall on Monday, not Tuesday.” Boy that person is really helpful, huh?

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