I am offended that someone is offended. I should probably make that my motto (“I am offended that you are offended”).
Sometimes I ask myself if I should stop fighting fire with fire, but I’ve never come up with a reason why I should. If someone has an attitude, I’ll match their attitude. It seems fair. But I don’t know, maybe there is a way to allow someone else to be an asshole without being an asshole back. Any ideas?
Today was a day of mourning for an associate of mine (not related to the death of Mac Tonnies, which I am not really in mourning over since I did not know him personally, though I respected him). She (the person in mourning) was caught in the middle of a metaphorical fire fight between an attorney offended that my boss sought a second opinion, and me, defending my boss’ right to get a second opinion.
Level of asshole-dom on the part of the offended attorney? Unclear. He didn’t call us to complain — which would have been high-asshole-ness. He apparently wanted to call our new attorney and complain — which sounds like a mid-level-offense (since our attorney could always tell him to sod off). I didn’t really know, so I reacted somewhere in the mid to high range, telling her that his feelings were irrelevant, and that I was offended that he would let his feelings get in the way of the process. Neither I nor my boss were about to let someone’s mood affect purely logical actions, which contracts are.
Maybe I didn’t need to say it? Maybe I didn’t need to point it out? But it was only the truth, and is there anything wrong with pointing out the truth? I have tons of “truth” boosting my sense of righteousness, but there’s also a strong awareness that this was a day of mourning for the woman in between, and the last thing I’d have wanted was for her to deal with our static on a day like this.
If I was totally Zen, I could have demurely said, “He sounds quite passionate about his opinion, but today is not a day for such matters to be discussed”, rather than striking back at him for being an asshole.
I know one man who would have been able to respond like that — an elder teacher named Richmond Mayo-Smith. Not the one who passed in 1901. He was a retired educator, who had novel opinions about many things, including the idea that the days where people exchanged their time for money are over (or should be). A delightful mind, and one capable of seeing when someone is inviting him into a mood that he would not want to support in any way. That gift is one I do not yet have.