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Be Excellent to Each Other

From the Colorado Dermatology Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Concert from Nosebleed Section

It was 1980 something and Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band were putting on a concert in San Antonio, and my spouse and I got tickets – in the nosebleed section. So, I took binoculars. When we arrived in the nosebleed section we discovered that’s also where the bikers were. Aromatic smoke, lots of leather, lots of tats (this was long before skin art became a fashion statement), lots of big burly guys that could have come out of some Hell’s Angels movie. And my wife and I who definitely didn’t fit in! Well, a little into the concert – and perhaps somewhat influenced by the music and maybe even the aromatic smoke – as my wife and I were trading the binoculars to see those tiny little figures on the stage I impulsively asked the biker dude in back of us if he’d like to look through the binoculars. One of those actions that you immediately question – but there it was. The biker dude blew out a cloud of that aromatic smoke, took the binoculars, said something like “Sure, man”, looked at the stage through the glass for a few minutes and then passed the binoculars down the row to the other bikers to use. And guess what? The binoculars came back to me in due course along with a “Thank You” from the bikers who, it turned out, were there to enjoy Bob Seeger and have a good time just as we were.

The moral of this story is the reinforcement of two very basic tenets I have found to be true: “Don’t judge people based on other people’s opinions or your own insecurities” and “Never operate out of fear.” I’ve been fortunate to have lived in several parts of the world and around the USA, and what I’ve found is that most people, unless they are threatened, forced, or have been manipulated and are being used as pawns to serve someone else’s purpose, have the same basic wants and values. And, if we acknowledge those wants and values and treat people with respect, most people will respond in kind – and isn’t that really a better and easier way to live than hating, fearing, or disrespecting someone you’ve never met or a culture you’ve never experienced?

And who knows – maybe someone will show you the same courtesy and grace.

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