Honoring my Mother | Toilet humor

Last weekend, I read a graffiti boldly scrawled on a public toilet door, “Don’t judge me if your not perfect xxx.”

Tempting as it was to turn into a grammar police and scribbling a reply back to the vandal, I merely stared at the message for a long time (as I had nowhere to look, but straight at that dang door) and hoped it would turn into a mantra for my present predicament.

The long-standing Melanie Marquez joke, “Don’t judge my brother, he’s not a book,” followed by its limp variation, “Don’t judge me, I’m not a book” came to mind. However, that message on the door was different somehow, and it got me thinking. (I know of some artist-friends who actually write and compose words and music better when sitting at the “throne,” but that’s another story for later.)

Not admitting to a mistake because everybody makes them anyway, firmly sits on the premise of that graffiti. One dismisses a criticism because the one giving it is not perfect? Oh sure. I see that macho crap all the time and it’s actually a blatant display of self-righteousness. Clearly, that’s a cop-out excuse if you ever saw one; when an effort should have been the more decent reaction. If this were true, the idea of a dialogue might as well be scrapped also, because it would have lost its relevance and become nothing but a fruitless exercise.

Try to discern the comments on social media. Long and winding layers of excuses, in the guise of rebuttals, continually suckle and weave into that taken-out-of-context biblical quote about throwing the first stone (sorry, JC).

In real time, it’s the basic defense tactic commonly used by politicians and defense attorneys alike, though other professions are suspects as well. Even ordinary people make it as ordinary as toilet paper. So what gives?

Years ago when I was involved in theater, I remember that after every production, we would meticulously assess the pros and cons of the show, for the overall purpose of improving on the next performance. While there, I remember we would employ a certain method of criticism that specifically included criticizing yourself as well. This self-critique was an integral part of the exercise because it saw into your actual participation and specific role as an essential part of the whole. Nobody’s perfect? Sure. Everybody gets a turn then.

Self-righteousness and pride? Step aside.
Self-importance and bias? Kick it in the A-.
Straight talk or take a walk.

The method is firmly hinged on honesty (yes, it’s such a lovely word). One must have the honesty to accept that he has done wrong and must therefore strive to remedy, be better and not do it again. Non-negotiable.

So, no more puny excuses, because honesty saves everyone’s time, and the butt of the matter is this: as Jonathan Livingstone Seagull once squawked, “The truth shall set you free.”

That vandal deserves every bit of this. Flush.

Posted in Opinion