There's a fellow named Ross I won't admit in public to having read. He talks about all kinds of things, but one of the least-related to what he's known for is this: he talks about handicapped bullies. There's one guy in particular who showed up at an antiwar rally, said some of the same things other people were booed off stage for, but said them, as a vet, from a wheelchair. And the people didn't say an awful lot, because it looks bad to boo a guy in a wheelchair offstage. And Ross shouted at him, "you're a bully!". He did it because this guy used the fact that he was in a wheelchair to force unpopular sentiments at a group, because he knew they didn't dare hit back, as it were.
I thought this was a so-so story. It was an interesting point, but I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Maybe six months ago, I found out how I felt about it, in the parking lot of OSH.
There was a guy in a beat-up old pickup truck across the lot. He was yelling obscenities at a guy who had walked in front of him. The guy had quickly gotten out of his way, but he just kept doing it. Looking over, I couldn't figure out why this confrontation didn't either stop or get uglier quickly. And then I realized. The abusive guy in the truck was sitting under a handicapped tag, hanging from his rearview mirror. And screaming loudly at this random innocent guy. I felt embarrassed. I didn't know what to do. These things are always clearer in retrospect. And I still feel a little ashamed that I just ignored it and went into OSH for whatever I was buying that day.
But now I know what to do. And now I know I can yell at the guy, "you're a bully" and genuinely mean it. I wonder how much of getting better at life is just keeping your past mistakes in mind...
Feel free to guess who "Ross" is, above. I'm not responding yay or nay to any guesses :-)