Go ahead, make your day (or someone else’s)

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I’ve heard wisdom comes with age, and that gray/white hair is a sign of wisdom. With that in mind, my arthritic, gray-and-white-haired self has decided to share some tidbits of wisdom that I’ll simply call “wise-bits.” I hope at least one will make your day.

Wise-bit #1: If the third time you yank or bang on the locked door of a public restroom in quick succession someone inside responds loudly, “Occupied,” or “Just a minute” — also for the third time — please assume that it’s occupied. Someone’s in there. Give them a minute. Maybe two.

Wise-bit #2: If you get in line at one of the multiple self-check lanes at an unnamed department store whose name rhymes with Fall-Mart, and someone is waiting in front of you, assume they also are waiting to use the self-check register you are waiting on. Don’t assume they’re just taking up space. Don’t walk around them and insert yourself further ahead in the line.

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Wise-bit #3: Be careful about using absolutes. Are there absolutes? Absolutely. Always avoid using “never” and never use “always.” For example:

(a) Give a toddler a cookie every day without fail and then don’t give them one today. “You never give me a cookie!” is a likely response from said toddler.  If you’re not a toddler, don’t act like a toddler.

(b) Or, ask your 12-year-old daughter what she wants to do for fun, then take her to see the movie she wants to see and to eat at the place she wants to go and to the store she wants to shop at and then listen to her complain on the drive home, “I thought we were going to do something fun today.” If you’re not a 12-year-old daughter, don’t act like a 12-year-old daughter.

Wise-bit #4: When parking your vehicle in public, if you do not have a handicapped parking placard or license plate, do not use handicapped-accessible parking. Seems like a simple thing. Those blue signs with simple graphic wheelchairs on them are not invitations for parking if you “will only be a minute,” “are just going to the pharmacy” or are lazy or fat. I’ve belonged in all those categories at some point, and live in at least one.

(a) For further illustration, I’ll explain it the way the chief of the volunteer fire department in my home town addressed the issue with parking in fire lanes. Q: Can I park in a fire lane (for any reason)? A: Are you a fire truck? If yes, then yes. If no, then no. Are you driving a fire truck at this moment? If yes, then yes. If no, then no.

(b) And those motorized scooters to assist shoppers who have difficulty walking? Don’t get me started. I’ve been run into by three children on one scooter as I walked with my cane in Fall-Mart and an able-bodied adult chased them on another scooter.

Wise-bit #5: Stop complaining about everything. Just because you have a voice doesn’t mean you should use it to whine and grumble about things. Just hush it for once and say something you’ll be glad you said, that encourages someone or makes their day or [EDITOR’S NOTE: The columnist was given a doughnut and a few minutes to collect himself before continuing.]

OK, so not everyone with white hair is wise. I’ve had white hair in my beard since I was 21.

Just pay attention to #5. Encourage someone.

There was a band I used to listen to a lot but then recently realized I’d heard nothing new from them for several years. I looked them up online and saw they’d parted ways. I saw one guy was recording and performing on his own now and sent him a friend request on Facebook. When he accepted, I sent him a quick message saying I wasn’t a stalker (a sure-sign red flag, right there) but wanted him to know I loved his music. He shot me a “thank you for being a fan” sort of reply, and I was happy.

Then, about an hour later, he messaged me again.

“That actually made my day man. Love & peace to you friend.”

And that made my day, too.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.