Don’t Be an Asshole

I was scrolling through my Facebook memories today and was struck by one of the douchiest things people do to one another.

If you’re like most of us, you spend a percentage of your day on Facebook. For years now, people have taken the month of November as an opportunity to state something they are thankful for each day of the month.

So, I’m scrolling through my memories and many of them are mentions of what I’m thankful for. Eight years ago today, this is what I wrote:

TIATF (Today I am thankful for) an English teacher I adored in school that taught me that I was so much more than what I thought I was/could be.  I wish she was still around so I could thank her over and over again in person.

First, I’ll say this. This teacher was NOT beloved by all. She was tough as nails and I was no exception to her scathing comments at times. I have heard accusations that she played favorites. Personally, I never saw that.

Over the course of three years of school, I had classes with her for a total of 15 semesters and in five different subjects. She was an advisor and also my theater director for a year. Was I a favorite? Maybe. But maybe it was because I voluntarily kept coming back for more punishment, and I worked my ass off to rise to her level of expectation.

So,  here’s the thing that I found to be so shitty, though. In the thread of comments that came after this Facebook declaration of me being thankful for a person that, above any other teacher/professor I’ve ever had, made a profound impact on my life and wishing that she was still alive so that I could say thank you (she died of brain cancer within 10 years of my graduation), a person commented about what an awful person she was and how damaging her comments on high school papers were, etc.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this type of sentiment from classmates. Some are even more vocal. But that’s just it. These people KNOW how I feel about this teacher. We are a pretty tight knit class to this day, and it’s no secret that there are a small number of us that really had a love/hate relationship with this woman.

So why is it somehow OK to say something so shitty to someone after they have just declared that this person had an immeasurable impact on their life? Would they ever dream about saying this of someone’s long deceased parent? Sibling? Friend?  Probably not. But God forbid you be a changed person that believes in her own potential because of a person that someone else had a bad experience with. Uh, just shut your fucking pie hole if you don’t have anything nice to say. How about that? Or maybe I could mention how I’ve always thought that favorite coach of yours was a supreme asshole and go on to cite the examples of why I know this to be true. Maybe that would be good for you?

Fuck. Why are we so awful to each other. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on someone who had a lasting impression on us. My guess is that, regardless of how loving and caring and gentle that person might have been, they still were a “take no shit” type of person, too. They probably didn’t let you get away with being less than they knew you were capable of being, either.
Look, your “game changer” person is not necesarily going to be someone else’s. Respect that. And CELEBRATE those people in your life that are your game changers. They made you the kick ass individual that you are today.

And tell the haters to shove it up their ass.


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