Opinion

OPINION | GARY SMITH: Don’t beat up people and other pearls of wisdom

Do we really have to be reminded it’s a bad idea?

I walked into a pharmacy the other day.

I know, that would have sounded better if, instead of "pharmacy," I had written "bar" and I'd walked in with a bear or a gorilla or assorted faith leaders or with a frog on my head. At least it would have been a better setup for a joke. However, the reality of time is that I go into a lot more pharmacies than bars now, and I'm typically unaccompanied.

A digression: I was in the pharmacy because a member of my "care team" had sent me there to pick up a prescription. This is a distinct change for me. Until recently I didn't have any prescriptions. And for another, I'm still not quite sure how I acquired a "care team" and exactly what my role on this "care team" is.

Since I'm typically the only one of the "care team" wearing one of those gowns that stays open in the back, I feel like my role is sort of like the cow on the "steak team." Involved, committed, but with very little decision making.

Anyway, back to the pharmacy, again, very much on my own. I was standing in line, waiting to pick up my prescription when I noticed a sign asking us to be mutually respectful of each other and mentioned that assaulting a health care worker is a felony.

And I have thoughts. So many thoughts.

For one, I realize we all seem to have a slightly shorter fuse. But are we really at a place where we have to be reminded that assaulting people is a bad thing? OK, that's a rhetorical question, but just in case it's still stumping you, yes, assaulting people is a bad thing. A really bad thing.

Assaulting nice people is a bad thing. Heck, despite what you may have determined from the comments on social media and episodes of "Yellowstone," you really don't get to assault even those people who seemingly deserve assaulting.

And the nice lady behind the counter at your local pharmacy who has to spend her entire day face to face with people who have various sorts of ailments, many of them contagious, and who really just wants to fill your order and get you on your way is at the top of the list of nice people who do not deserve the assaulting you really can't do anyway, this not being the Wild Wild West or Medieval Europe.

Also on the list? Ride-share drivers. Hotel personnel. The folks behind the counter at the airport. Teachers. Librarians. Civil servants. Checkout people. Youth sports coaches and officials. Not-so-youth coaches and officials. Police (that seems sort of a given), firemen, sanitation workers, mailmen, package and food delivery folks, waiters, waitresses and hosts or hostesses. Convenience store clerks. Fast food workers.

A note: You really shouldn't do it, but if you want to try assaulting a Waffle House worker, you're liable to get what you deserve and it won't be a pecan waffle. I've seen the videos and at my most agitated and physically prepared, I wasn't big enough to ride that ride. It has the advantage of being a bad idea that will end badly.

Having said that, I also have to wonder, again, if we've reached a point where we have to make sure we're all aware particular groups of folks can't be assaulted. I mean, not to sound like a broken record but assaulting people is a bad thing. That those people are just trying to help you and certainly don't deserve your ire makes it worse, but our elected officials shouldn't have to tell you that.

Sort of like those signs that inform you there are big fines for hitting workers in construction zones. Not sure my first thought in those situations is "Man, I'd like to blow by those barrels at about 90 miles an hour, scattering road workers like bowling pins, but that fine, whoof!"

An add-on to the earlier assault conversation: Hitting people with your car is a really, really bad thing. And also assault.

The late, great (even though he did coach at Texas) basketball coach Abe Lemons once said he didn't like a lot of rules because "If I make a set of rules, then a guy goes out and steals an airplane. He comes back and says 'It wasn't on the list of rules.'"

So, there we have it. Don't assault anyone, don't hit anyone with your car. And don't steal an airplane.

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