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Lighten Up! It’s Not that Serious

2 Oct

Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors
by Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint

To reference Bill Cosby’s 2007 book, “Come on, People.”

To which I’ll add: Listen Up! People. Stop taking everything so seriously. Really.

Think about it? Many of the things that upset or stress us on any given day are probably not as serious as they seem.

We shouldn’t “sweat the small stuff,” as a matter of conscientious practice. A lot of people are either looking for a fight, argument or altercation, or expect one,  a majority of the time. Here’s a for instance:

As I was standing (in one of the multiple lines) in a local McDonald’s early one evening to get a cup of coffee, the woman in front of me stood to one side and motioned me to go ahead of her. She’d already ordered. But as I was about to step up to the counter, a man, whom I guess was with his wife, moved to the register before I got to it. I just glanced at the lady waiting for her food with a slight frown, and shrugged. “Oh well.”

The man then paused suddenly, slid back over to where he had been, threw up his hands and laughingly said, “I don’t want no trouble.” Naturally,  I took grave offense to that remark, especially since it was unprovoked—and unwarranted. Maybe the comment was in reaction to me wearing my sunglasses indoors? I don’t know. If so, that’s my choice. Did I appear menacing in my camouflage jacket? I thought it showed patriotism. It wasn’t as if I had on a biker jacket emblazoned with a skull & crossbones, a bandanna and a “badass” attitude to match. And I wasn’t a random black male with a “hoodie” on. No, that couldn’t have been it. The man was African-American. But that’s a whole other issue.

The point is I felt this stranger was attempting to assail my character. I felt compelled to respond. So I turned to him, lowered my shades nose height, and simply replied, “There’s no trouble,” and added that I hadn’t said a word to him. “It’s not that serious,” I repeated, as I ordered my medium coffee with cream, two Splendas and two sugars to go.

The take-away here, I believe, is that we should all make a concerted effort to:

1)      withhold silly presumptions about people we don’t know

2)      try to give people the benefit of the doubt

3)      not always expect the worst-case scenario and above all

4)      Come on people. Lighten up! For God’s sake.

Life is too short to go through it angry.

Besides, bear in mind that it takes more facial muscles to form a scowl than a smile. Yeah.

Younger people will appreciate this when the lines, wrinkles, etc., start to appear.

Sherry Howard

One Story at a Time


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