Thursday, July 16, 2009


Have you ever been rendered speechless by someone's audacity? I mean, you are following the rules, minding your own business, and somebody blows out of nowhere with something so out there...that you just stand there and go, "uh...WHAT?" And NO, I am not whining specifically about the crazy stuff that the current administration is doing. After all...I did that LAST night.

But honestly...while I was at CVS waiting on medication to be filled...medication that we may not be allowed to have at some point (sorry...) I saw a paperback copy of Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" sitting on the shelf. And NO, I did not rip it to shreds in aisle 3 although I did seriously think about it.

Audacity is defined (according to as "boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions." Well, that pretty much includes just about everybody I have come into contact with lately.

Teenagers have a special brand of audacity. We know that they are prone to be a bit on the ridiculous side because their brains are not fully developed yet, they have no real sense of reality from which to draw, and they are still a little drunk with power from being the little princes/princesses in the household. I have great kids, but I have been rendered speechless by some of the following comments from mine or from others I have been in close proximity to over the past several years:

"If you didn't want me to expect to have a new shouldn't have sent me to a school where everyone's parents buy their kids new cars."

"Why can't we go on vacation? How is it possible for everyone else to go on vacation but we can't afford it?"

"I don't want a job this summer, I want to backpack in Europe. I won't be able to do this when I'm old."

"The shoes are only $75. I don't know what I'll wear them with...but they are really cute."

"Why is the house always a mess? Why can't we have a maid?"

"Aw man...why can't we have anything decent for dinner?"

"Why do I have to unload the groceries?"

Yeah. I used to think that this behavior was due to a sense of entitlement...but I have come to recognize that this is only part of the story. The other part is that teenagers are just boneheaded. We thought all of the things that they actually said when we were that age. The difference? We didn't dare say it out loud...or if we did...we'd only do it once.

And then there are adults who feel that because of the hand they were dealt...they have a right to a break somewhere else. And unfortunately, that "break" they want involves breaking rules that you have patiently followed. So they have three kids and are too busy to stand in line to wait their turn? They will just go to the front of the line "just to ask a question." They will complain incessantly at work about how much they hate their job, gripe about the lack of promotional opportunities, and will go ballistic if they don't get every week off that their kids are on break from school because they "can't afford a babysitter." Never mind that someone else might be in the same boat.

I'm also incensed by people who tie everything to race, gender, age, religion, background or seniority if it suits their needs. If we could have just one public issue involving race without Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson involved, I might just pass out from the shock. And just for the record...I'm not holding my breath. I liked Al Sharpton a lot more when he had a cameo in "Mr. Deeds" than I do when he's on Fox or any other network...anytime...anywhere.

In the years when unemployment was low (um...which would be...NOT now...) I learned to accept that service providers would be shockingly audacious. I had almost resigned myself to not having phone calls returned, waiting in doctor's offices for eons, and not being thanked for my business at any food establishment except Chic-fil-A. I listened to cashiers at the grocery store verbalizing their hatred for management and their coworkers while I pretended to be searching for coupons in my purse. I became immune to wait times on help lines that exceeded the gestation of elephants.

Don't even get me started on the audacity of celebrities...who believe that their talent, exposure, or family money entitles them to dictate what is acceptable when the lifestyles that they often adopt are certainly anything but.

Audacity. Wouldn't it be better to channel that boldness for good? To have the audacity to respectfully but strongly state and defend your beliefs. To look at others whose audacity shocks you and to kindly suggest an alternative way of thinking? And for them to have the audacity to embrace it? Here's hoping...

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