Saturday, January 24, 2009

Response to a Bumper Sticker

I read a bumper-sticker, placed on the car parked along the path of my pre-dawn newspaper delivery route, some while ago. And it ’pushed a button’ somewhere within me. So, My Dear patient and tolerant Reader, you find yourself the victim of my ’venting.’ [smile]

If you want niceness to prevail in the world around you I offer this suggestion. How about asking “Please Be Nice” instead of dictating, in sarcastic tones, that the reader of your car’s bumper sticker (me, in this case) “Just Be Nice.” I will confess to my something-beyond-normal attention to the “music” or spirit of what is said. And, yes, I can perseverate on details that could easily be passed over. But… by golly… there is an undercurrent of unkindness, and indifferent insensitivity, that is growing into a major theme in our world. And I am ever-more convinced that it is born in innocuous messages. A bumper sticker that, no doubt, gave the driver of the car a feeling of having done a “good thing”… a “Better than thou” that cancels any possibility of something ‘nice’ coming from the exercise.

The phrase that is begun with the word “Just” is a phrase that is saying “All else aside… just _____”, or “I do not really care what your feelings, predispositions, or opinions are, just ____.” The employment of that four-letter word indicates the presence of intolerance, disrespect, and arrogant domination. The person driving that car is telling me “I don’t care what you think, who you are, or what you are dealing with right now … I am telling you to behave in a manner that I deem to be nice … because I feel that I have that right, and you should be obliged, to acquiesce to my command.”

Would it not be more in keeping with the supposed intent of that message to humble oneself, assume a posture of niceness:

NICENESS (definition)
1. Pleasing and agreeable in nature
2. Exhibiting courtesy and politeness
3. Showing or requiring sensitive discernment

In assuming such a posture, One would have to step down from their pedestal of pious self-importance. It is not easy to be arrogant when asking “Please.” But, Dear Friend, I submit that there can be a new and fresh undercurrent of kind consideration created in our world … that world that you and I touch … if we will but do the simple thing that begins with an honoring posture toward those whose lives intersect with ours.

Our world has a crying need for a lovingly caring and serving spirit from each of us to the other.

And all of my rambling on … sparked by a bumper sticker that was, no doubt, placed there with the best of intentions … though without the added moment of involvement in considering its implications. I would only ask that we all take the briefest of moments to consider our opportunities to, “Please Be Nice.”

There! Isn’t that nice? [loving smile]

Bumper-Sticker IMAGE: Cafe' Press


Suza said...

"Nicely" said!

John-Michael said...

I am grateful to Muses (in all forms), and to you, Kind Suza, for your thoughtful participation.

namaste ...

Suldog said...

I agree. One thing I am always appalled by (coming from me, this may seem like a pot calling the kettle black, but...) is the lack of respect for other people's feelings. Saying "Please" or "Thank You" is such an easy thing to do, it costs nothing, and it makes everything go so much more smoothly.

John-Michael said...

'Tis that "spoonful of sugar" that makes even the most distasteful of life's 'medicines' acceptable, Jim. That respectful consideration, of the Other Person, that elevates them and accepts a self-applied position of second to their humanity. The ability to bow, instead of demanding the genuflection of everyone else ... that silently and imperceptible elevates the Soul and gives the Spirit an ever-higher vantage point from which to enjoy life.

Your constantly evidenced practice, of that exercise of your will, is what drew my admiring attention to the grace and wonder of Who you are, My SulDog Friend. And I do appreciate You for it.

Anonymous said...


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