Published August 22, 2012
(In response to last weeks column)
The flashing of headlights to warn someone of a speed trap is protected by their constitutional right to freedom of speech. All of the feedback I got was pro flashing headlights. It seems as though nobody cares about obstructing justice, just about getting out of the ticket. As for the police, they just want to be able to do their job without hassle.
Three sides to every story...
Have you ever taken sides in an argument before you’ve heard both of them? Do you ever stop and think that maybe both sides are right or even drastically wrong? Maybe there’s a third side that everyone should listen to that is somewhere in the middle.
A male friend of mine, “Evan,” once told me about his golfing buddy who had finally gotten a long-overdue divorce. When I asked why, he exclaimed, “She was a royal .....!
“Wow, that’s harsh,“ I said. ”How do you know this”?
He went on to tell me how his friend was never allowed to golf with the guys and how she kept him on a short leash. I felt relieved that the poor guy had actually broken loose from her talons.
Months later, I met someone who told me that she was recently divorced and that her ex-husband had been cheating, using golfing as his alibi. I quickly put two and two together and realized that Evan’s friend wasn’t a poor guy at all, but simply a jerk.
How sad that I had listened to Evan when I had no solid evidence of the rumor he was spreading. I’m ashamed to say that I even passed the rumor on when I was asked about Evan’s buddy.
I have another friend who is always telling me how horrible her husband is. I’m constantly listening to her tell me that he won’t talk to her and that he just walks away and refuses to deal with anything. “What a jerk,” I’d say. “How do you deal with him day after day”?
I called their house once and he answered. While briefly speaking with him, I could hear my sweet friend in the background screeching and barking at him like something out of a horror movie. There was a brief pause and a huge sigh on his end.
I asked him, “who crapped in her coffee this morning”? To my surprise he answered in a somber voice, “She’s always like this. I have to just walk away sometimes.”
It wasn’t hard to add this one up, either. I was only hearing her side. He wasn’t a jerk at all, but simply trying to cope with the demon he was living with. I was embarrassed that I had actually sided with her and never even contemplated the idea that my dear sweet friend could have a side to her that I had never seen.
I have to say that I’m now more aware of the words I choose to call someone without hearing their defense first. I want to be a good friend and join forces with them, but not to damn the innocent.
All I’m asking is, should you insist on hearing both sides, or be a “good friend” and scream “hang ‘em,” because that’s what they want to hear?