|When offended, the World's Greatest Cat keeps it to herself.|
I offended someone last night. I'm not sure how, since what I said was completely innocuous - or so I thought. Still, I offended someone. Perhaps profoundly. Now, I'm not going to bother getting into the details of the situation. Suffice to say it occurred at a public gathering and was the result of a compliment I made to third parties.
I don't know the person who I set off. Not even a little. My compliment (which, again, was not directed at this individual) contained no slurs or swears. It didn't even contain any attempt at humor - which is a rarity for me. Still, what I thought was an act of kindness towards others turned out to be an act which triggered a tear filled rant.
Needless to say I considered finding an opportune time to make things right with this person. I decided not to, though, basing my decision on the fact that the individual was either: emotionally troubled, wildly immature, inebriated, or some combination of the three.
Now that I've had some time to think things over, however, I'm also considering a third option: that the person in question is merely a product of this time and place in history. After all, being offended has now replaced baseball as America's treasured pastime.
Think about it - you can't turn on the news or go on the internet without hearing about some "offensive" thing someone has uttered, tweeted or otherwise written. Problem is, half the time - at least half the time - the offensive act isn't really offensive. Or it's something so petty, it warrants nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders. Only crazy people continuously blow harmless things out of proportion, a fact which leads me to write the following, sad words:
America has become a nation of nutcases.
It's true. We have to accept this fact if we're going to move on and get our act together. We've got lives to lead, people. We can't keep wasting our time wringing our collective hands over some athlete making a locker room joke over another athlete's ethnicity. Or because someone had the audacity to light a cigarette while sitting on a park bench. Seriously, the second hand smoke isn't going to kill your child, trust me on this.
Think about it: the world is loaded with people who want to kill and enslave us. That's not hyperbole, it's the truth. If we want to have the strength to fend off that kind of evil we can't waste our time and energy endlessly mining words and actions in the hope of feeding our paranoia. Honestly, if we really want to be offended, Al Qaeda will gladly give us things to be offended over...if we survive long enough to be offended.
You may well ask what makes me the expert on these matters. Well, I myself am someone who, by nature, is easily offended by the littlest things. Truly. I can be annoying as hell. Yet I can now also say with certainty that I recognize my problem. As they say, identifying a problem is half the battle.
With that in mind, I'm perfectly aware there are genuinely offensive things being said and done out there. Mean things. Hurtful things. Yet people simply aren't going to stop being insensitive and cruel. In other words, I'm just going to have to keep on living my life, righting wrongs when I can and otherwise behaving - or at least trying to behave - like a person who has his wits about him.
Otherwise, I'll have to stock up on tissues and lozenges, since there's a lot out there for me to scream and cry about. And you don't want to see that. Seriously. It's pathetic.