Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Slap judgment

Indignation pandemic, Jim Stingl, Donald Driver, Tom Barrett

“Suddenly, people a thousand miles away hate your guts.”

That’s what happens, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl points out, in a world where our every thoughtless moment might be passed around the YouTubeverse by people whose judgments are as fast as slapping the “share” button.

One of the poor women whose guts are now hated by multitudes intercepted a football player’s shoe.  I am under the impression that in football, when you see an object flying toward you, the whole point is to grab it and not let someone else get it. But in this case, someone else was a kid, and hence our mass indignation.

I didn’t know that the custom of stripping and tossing your clothing to crowds, a convention of burlesque, had migrated to sports. So I guess YouTube is educational after all.

As someone whose better ideas sometimes arrive more slowly than her dumber ones, I sympathize with the now-reviled woman. I can imagine getting caught in the heat of the moment, going for the tossed clothing item and not even noticing who you were slapping aside in the process. Especially when the ecdysiast is Donald Driver.

And then, as this woman did, I can imagine realizing what I’d done. Smack forehead. Long for a do-over. Apologize profusely, with almost no one watching this time.

Stingl couldn’t locate the other-now-reviled woman to interview. She slapped Mayor Tom Barrett after his concession speech.  That slap second didn't seem so shocking to me. Maybe it’s because the woman reminded me of a beloved family friend, Auntie Norma. She wasn’t much of a talker, but she sure let you know how she felt.

When I told Auntie Norma I quit  playing flute, tears welled in her eyes, a sure sign of danger, and she slapped my face in that not really painful, almost a caress, but still utterly annoying way she had. “Oh, how can you?” she exclaimed. “You will be sorry!” Then she hugged me.

I thought they didn’t make them like Norma anymore, at least in the too-far-from-the-old-country-to-be-considered-ethnic-anymore crowd, but I see I was wrong.

I’m revisiting the story because the comments suggest the indignation sufferers missed Stingl’s point. Which is not to make too much of small things. Cut each other a little slack. As Driver said, "Packer Nation, let's remember that the woman who grabbed the shoe is human. We all make mistakes."

After all, it’s only a matter of time before someone records that little thing you just did, maybe editing it a teensy critical bit to make you look even more foolish, and sends it out for all the world to judge.

Slap. Snap. Like that.


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