There are certain ideas that people have about you when they learn what you do for a living. The general public makes all kinds of assumptions and judgments about those who work in law enforcement, healthcare, finance, carnivals, etc. It’s no different for Professional Staff Instructors who conduct training for the Crisis Prevention Institute. To my friends, family and neighbors I’m the “crisis prevention guy”. I have no right to get angry and I can never be cross or in a bad mood. I must always be pleasant, cheerful and magnanimous. It occurred to me that it really restricts what I can do in life. Nonviolence and happiness must be the constant themes of my existence.
For example, I can never read “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. Most of Poe is absolutely off limits for that matter. Bands I am prohibited from listening to are the Violent Femmes, Guns N’ Roses and Slayer. For similar reasons I can no longer listen to “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. Additionally “Summertime Blues” by The Who is just too darn depressing. I’m limited to “Happy Jack” or “Love Reign O’er Me”. “Fight Club” with Brad Pitt and “Tombstone” with Kurt Russell are not suitable movies for me. The narrow list of movie titles that are acceptable includes “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Care Bears to the Rescue”. Forget just about anything with Joe Pesci or Robert De Niro, especially if they are in the same movie.
Instead of telling you to break a leg I will simply wish you good luck. If I don’t know the answer to your question I will never say, “Beats me”. I will shrug my shoulders instead of saying the aforementioned unmentionable for fear of being labeled a masochist. I will never take a crash course or cram for anything because hitting the books is not an option for me. Instead of doing a bang-up job, I will simply do my best. If I enjoy something, I will not tell you that I got a kick out of it. And if I’m hungry, I will never just grab a bite. That sounds overzealous and I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I will purely eat something quickly.
No longer will I hit the hay or hit the sack. Instead of hitting I will just lie down and not fall, but go to sleep. Far be it for me to jump the gun. I can start at the same time as everyone else. I will never be a thorn in ones side, I prefer to live and let live and leave well enough alone. I’d rather just joke with someone rather than pull their leg because I don’t want to sound aggressive. I will try to be agreeable and amiable for fear of ever rubbing someone the wrong way. It would be unwise for me to shoot the breeze with you for I am a terrible shot and someone might get hurt. I will chat with you instead so that no one has to dodge a bullet.
If you are going too slowly I will refrain from telling you to step on it. I will merely suggest that you get your butt in gear as that phrase contains no element of stepping on anything. If even that sounds offensive to you and you get upset, I won’t tell you to stop having a spazz attack. I may tell you to take a chill pill however or simply to take it easy. Don’t reply that you will take it any way you can get it because I may misinterpret that and I can’t allow myself to get all bent out of shape. It’s too messy and sounds too forceful.
If you are too loud or being obnoxious I will try not to tell you to zip your lip. That conjures up all kinds of unpleasant imagery and is a little pushy. “Please use your inside voice” sounds so much more diplomatic.
As you can see, I have to be very careful in how I navigate my way through this world. There are many pitfalls and hazards hiding unforeseen disasters. And if I make a verbal mistake in your presence, please do not give me a slap on the wrist. That’s way too vicious. I will simply bite my tongue; check that. I’ll avoid speaking altogether.