RDP #76 – FREEDOM
Old English frēodōm (see free, -dom).
(Author’s note: This is NOT a true story, but it could have been!)
“It’s a free country, right?” queried the adolescent boy in front of me who had just dropped his jeans so he could scratch his rear more effectively. “There’s no law against scratching!”
He turned away from me, certain he had steamrolled over my quiet objection to being exposed to his privates. I shook my head in dismay. What world we live in!
Apparently, though, he was gathering a head of steam. “You old fossils need to DIE!” he hollered. His face was bright red, eyes aflame, fists clenched. He was scary, but it’s been a long time since a teen boy was able to intimidate me.
Smiling, I agreed that all of us “old fossils” would eventually die, to make room for his generation. “You are going to be an old fossil sooner than you think.”
Not wanting any further conversation with him, I backed my cart out of the checkout and looked for a different one, thinking that would be the end of it. But no, he wasn’t finished. He followed me, ranting at the top of his lungs about being sick of people telling him what to do. He wasn’t going to take it any more. Did I hear him? DID I HEAR HIM?
It would have been possible to hear him out in the parking lot, but I was saved from having to answer him. A couple of security guards came up behind him and rather forcefully showed him the exit. He was still ranting and making threats.
By this time, the guards had found me getting ready to push my cart out to my car. One of them said he wanted to walk me to my car, just in case the guy was still out there and watching for me.
Of course I thanked him, and we had a pleasant conversation along the way.
“I knew that guy in high school,” said my escort. “He’s always been a jerk, and anytime he was caught he’d holler about this being a free country, and he had a right to do whatever.”
“That’s really too bad,” I said. “What he doesn’t understand is that when he steps into someone else’s space and misbehaves, he’s stomping all over their freedoms, including the freedom to do a grocery run without having to see some kid’s skinny behind. If we want to maintain our freedom, we need to respect everyone else’s as much as we treasure our own.”