Is anyone in America frightened besides me?

I really thought I’d heard everything from the bombastic Trump.


It shocked me that he was suggesting that he would not accept the results of the coming national election. But I thought the backlash he got was enough to take care of his careless claims.

Then, we have our most recent story covered by all the major networks. Trump doesn’t want to have an election at all. He wants to cancel it. Just ‘give it to Trump’ he says, referring himself in third person.

That gave me the ice water in the veins sensation that is usually reserved for narrowly being missed on a highway by a semi.

America, I think he’s serious.

And, he’s had good company in the recent past.

There is a large section of America who simply will not accept that a Black president has brought our nation out of the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Don’t try to fool them with facts, they won’t see it. A woman actually called for a revolution if Trump loses. Trump, who rose to power bemoaning the loss of liberty in America, is now calling for the nation to give up its right to vote and make him their dictator.

What frightens me, is that I think some might be willing to listen.

Let Daddy-bear take care of everything, they might think. Growing up depending on the government for everything else, why not give up their liberties? What would that really mean? God forbid that a woman just might be sitting in the oval office. Anything, even the loss of one’s bill of rights would be better than that!

Last week, I found a delightful little book at the public library. It was packaged like a children’s book. It was even titled that way.  But then a quick read and a look at the call letters on its spine made me have my doubts.

The book was called, “The child’s first book of Trump.”

I know that this candidate has gotten his share of satire directed at him. However, at first glance, it looks like even children are being encouraged to throw stones at the Donald.

Or—maybe not.

The book shows an elephantine orange balloon not even being given the dignity of being called human. “Beast” is one alternate descriptor.

From his televised outbursts, I don’t think that it’s a book that Trump would find funny.

Not a bit.

A person with a strong sense of self would find it funny, maybe uproariously so. They might even add a page or two to lampoon themselves.

Likely Trump will try to sue the author. Or the publisher.

In this book, at the end, the reader is advised to ignore the Trump. This he cannot abide. This he cannot stand. Ignore him and he’ll likely deflate.

Maybe, he’ll even go away.

Or, will he?

I’m not sure that many of the masses who proudly wear ‘deplorable’ t-shirts (This was spotted in a local mall recently) would understand how closely Adolf Hitler’s rise to power mirrors what Donald has used in his own campaign. It is eerie, and can’t be ignored.

He, like Hitler, is a fan of the ‘big lie.’ If you say something, no matter how patently untrue, over and over, enough times, somebody (usually a lot of people) are going to believe you.

And there are a lot of people out there who believe in the Donald.

America is emerging from a horrible crisis, made by an illegal war. You may not agree with me on that, but everyone has to agree that there were serious problems in the last eight years. President Barrack Obama advised in his first inaugural speech that it would be worse before it got better.

It got better, but not quickly enough for some in our instant-gratification society. And so, many turned against him. To support their angst, some tried to dress up the facts in the same clothing that made the fairy tale Emperor naked as a jaybird.

People believed them. Because it was convenient. Because it supported their self-pity, greed, hunger for power and latent racism.

Because it was just easier to do.

Hitler rallied a large class of people who became strong by making scapegoats of those seen as the ‘enemy’ of Germany. Trump has mobilized people doing the same—using women, minorities and people of different religions as the lightening rod. We have seen a segment of our population arise that is shocking and ugly.

But—they’d better be taken seriously.

These are the folks that may try to forcibly get Trump the throne that he so covets. The people with the guns, the dogs, and the hatred to back them. They may actually see themselves as heroes in some ‘do or die’ cause which involves ‘them and us.’ Never realizing how they are being used by a man who is power hungry and who doesn’t care about them except as a means to an end.

During the 1930’s, there was a huge pacifist movement over most of the world during that time. People had been through the ugly first world war, and they didn’t want another one. They wanted peace. They wanted hope. They thought that pretty words and patient gestures would win the day. They kept giving Hitler more and more room to expand, hoping that he’d eventually be satisfied and stop.

They were naïve. Are we?

It’s been 71 years since the end of the second world war. There has been a growing movement of Neo-Nazism in this country and all over the world. There is a strong sense of entitlement from our youth, and from those who really have the most to lose should a tyrant like Trump seize control.

Every American, indeed every person in the world watching this election should be frightened. Because, the Donald means it. He wants to cancel the election, because he knows that he can’t win fairly. Once he got to the White House, forget working with the three branches of government who provide a system of checks and balances. He’d just overpower them. Call in the military, or his unwashed friends who put him in office with their 4×4’s and rifles. America would cease to exist.

We can’t afford to ignore Donald because he’s not going away. If he loses a free election, which now seems likely, he’s not just going to oppose it, he’s going to do everything in his power to cause an obstruction that makes congressional games of the past look like child’s play. We can’t afford to cluck at him like a generations of Neville Chamberlains (the English Prime minister who placated Hitler.) We must understand Trump to be the madman that he truly is.

This man has encouraged violence at his rallies. This man has encouraged that physical harm happen to his opposing candidate. He wants to build a wall similar to the one a Republican president once demanded be torn down in the USSR.

He’s coming for your freedoms, folks, and don’t think for a moment that he isn’t.

Trump says that Hillary Clinton lies. Okay, so she has. Haven’t we? I really think the person who is not guilty should throw the first stone. She supports the right of choice in women’s reproductive health issues. Okay. Don’t support that? Then, do something to stop abortion  by supporting these women in trouble. Don’t put a crazy man in the most powerful office in the world.

Like it or not, like HER or not, Hillary Clinton is your only sane choice. No Politician is ever perfect. They’re never going to be. But you can choose between a future and what may possibly be the beginning of the third world war.

Don’t ignore the Donald. Go to the polls. And make the right choice for freedom and sanity. This guy is serious—and he is Dangerous.

Go to the polls and let your voice be heard.  It’s freedom or fascism. America or Trump’s destructive vision of a Nazi-like world.

The choice is up to you.


Regarding an incident in a ‘Christian environment’

This was a day off. I had looked forward to coming over to the seminary library across from where I live and doing some research about 13th century England. That’s what I thought I was coming for when I put on my sweats and headed across the road.

Maybe the Lord intended it to be more.

I’ve learned in my 38 years of being a Christian, that God’s kinda weird like that. You think you’re headed somewhere to do something you like. You might actually get to do that. But sometimes, just sometimes, God has some work for you to do there, too.

It’s happened in the weirdest places. Places where someone said something that invited the conversation about how greatly God loves us. How greatly that he desires to be loved by us, and all the many reasons why he deserves it. My life story alone would be a testament to that. But that’s a story for another time.

In this library, there is one floor for community borrowers to use the internet. Using my smart phone, I can do everything I want to do–research, even writing. But it takes longer. So, when I have time, I head over here.

I got here about noon, and immediately groaned inside. There were two folks nearby that the description ‘boundary free’ was made for. And, I know, I talk a LOT about boundaries, but there’s a reason for it.

Boundaries are important.

The two individuals were indulging (and I use that word purposefully) in a loud conversation that would distract anyone trying to study or research. This is a pet peeve I’ve had for years in coming to this library. There was a time that coming here was a substitute for fulfilling human relationships for me, and I spent more time here than I did anywhere else. As my life has grown, and my relationships deepened, that’s no longer the case.

I understand, with sympathy, if that’s all you’ve got. If that’s the only place there might be to get your social and attention needs met. However, I don’t ever remember being so loud that anyone ever called me out on it because I was disturbing others.

The loud male of the two individuals used to work and study at the seminary and has a voice that projects. He might be better off as a radio broadcaster. At some point in his 30 or 40 something years, someone should have gently taken him aside and told him to adjust his volume. Perhaps, they have. If they have, apparently, the lesson didn’t take. Or maybe, he just didn’t care about the needs and rights of others.

The lady of the duo tends to stop me every time we are near each other in public. She always, without taking a breath, has a long litany of current crises, spoken with copious tears. There was a time when I would have, thinking it was expected of me, prayed for her on the spot. However, as time passed and my own boundaries improved, I saw this lady was never crisis free.

And that likely, these events (if they were true) were either self-made by bad choices or the need to get attention. I felt like she sucked out my spirit each time she pounced on me and demanded gratification.

I started avoiding her.

This morning, the two of them, Mr. Booming Voice and Mrs. Everyone Owes Me Sympathy were together. I kept my eyes on the floor and prayed fervently that neither would recognize me. Their volume got to an amazing point.

Then, a miracle happened.

A student library worker came over and was firm and respectful with them. She told them to lower their voices. To show respect for others, that surely they understand the need to allow others to have quiet to study and to work. Then, she walked away.

Immediately, another boundary-free individual advised the male loud-talker (regarding the library worker) to ‘complain on her, get rid of her.’ He didn’t like the ‘way’ she called them out. He’d heard her do it before. It was a “Christian environment’ he said. That sort of thing should not happen. He suggested that the loud male talk to the head Librarian about this. The one who could hire or fire the student worker. He said that he would come along as a witness.

And inside me, anger happened.

Anger that went from 0 to 60 in about five seconds. I did my erstwhile library companion, who I unfortunately know well, one better. I contacted the library supervisor before he could, online. And let her know my perception of what really happened.

And maybe, its really just my perception. But when you work with someone, and watch their behavior over almost a decade, you get a pretty good idea about who they are–strengths, weaknesses, and ability to change. This guy is the same as when I first met him–a aging, defiant, short-tempered guy who has no clue why his wife divorced him, and why he has been unable to keep a job.

Having him as a ‘witness’ is your worst nightmare. But there’s more. My guess is that his objection to the library worker’s behavior has its roots in racism, not anything else. She was black. The man she spoke to (and his equally loud female buddy) were white. How dare she, right?

But listen up, white America, fairness is here to stay. Equality has arrived. And if you don’t like being called out by someone who looks different than you, find a cave to live your life in, with people who think just like you.

His comment about a Christian environment really drove me to the ledge. I remember this guy working with me at a restaurant a while back. He did a half way job, wouldn’t accept constructive criticism, and made nasty cracks about women coworkers who tried to get him to do things the way he was trained. He didn’t last long. And no one missed him when he left, nor were they really surprised.

I’m not sure what sort of alternate universe he lives in, but apparently it is responsibility and consequence free. No one should correct you when you’re disrespecting the rights of others–even if it their job. Especially if they don’t look like you.

But my library friend may need to review key parts of the New Testament about what his savior, a dark skinned Jewish man, had to say about personal responsibility.

Firstly–we have some.

To God. Then to each other and to ourselves.

That doesn’t make us victims, nor does it give us a right to be bullies. It doesn’t give us a right to sail through life expecting that when we act selfishly or without care for others that we’ll have it overlooked.

And yes, there is a time and place for everything, but I don’t think the library worker did anything wrong.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I take personal outrage when some self-important busybody comes up to me to tell me what they think I need to know. I’m not going to do that to them, and I don’t want them to do that with me. I’ve called a few out on that. To one completely inappropriate woman I used to work with, I told her, “I don’t think we have the level of accountability in our relationship for you to say that to me.”

I meant it then, and I mean it now. Before we call someone out on anything, we need to check what relationship we have with someone. Before we just assume we can correct them, or as is sickeningly used in my community, ‘encourage’ them (i.e.-call them out) on something that is annoying to us.

In this case, the worker had come to work that morning. Her job is check out material, answer questions and keep order at the library. That’s her relationship to everyone in the library building. If she hadn’t addressed the two loud talkers (and they were very loud and disruptive) it would be an unspoken assumption that this behavior was okay.

It did not make it less of a Christian environment for her to call out inappropriate behavior. It made it more of one.

I don’t know this lady, really. She’s about my age, and seems to be a no-nonsense type. The type that I probably wouldn’t crack a joke with. But that’s okay. Maybe we’ll never have the ease of that kind of relationship. But as of today, she darn sure has my undying respect. She did her job, she did it firmly and with dignity. If the two offenders and the ‘witness’ n’ever do well who objected don’t like it, they can go to a coffee shop where they can be disruptive at will.

A Christian environment has rules and expectations. Love is about responsibility and expectation as much as it is about warm fuzzies and grace. Cheap grace is when a person keeps messing up with no desire to change, knows they are offending others, and keeps doing it. God may forgive them, but I doubt the quality of their lives and relationships will improve.

I came to the library to study and research. I’m going to get to do that. But first, I wanted to speak out about Christian community. What it is and what it definitely is not. The student worker was right on. God bless her.

I wish there were 1000 more brave souls just like her.


Boys will be boys? (The problem with misogyny)

Some real life examples:

A young middle school girl gets into a fight with a boy, and is taken to the principal’s office. The principal tells her that she is a ‘tease, like all women are.’ The little boy stands there and listens intently.

A woman sitting in a restaurant is approached by a stranger, who disregards the book that she is reading, insists on talking to her, and ends the conversation by telling her to ‘lose some weight.’

A man confronted with the sexual abuse of a relative (that he did nothing to prevent) yells at the social worker that he will ‘kill her’ and that the reason she is ‘fat’ is because ‘she can’t get any and she takes it out on men’ like him.

 “I’m the man in my house, and I run things because I’ve got this thing in my pants.” This said by a wealthy customer  to a cashier who had made a comment about women being treated equally.

“You’ll never be able to prove it” A restaurant manager says to the worker who he frequently is inappropriate with, who he later lays off work because she ‘freaks out’ around him.

A presidential candidate, after being exposed for talking crudely about women, and feeling entitled to grab and kiss women, says, ‘that’s just locker room talk.’ Some women support him because they despise the strong female candidate opposing him.

The problem with misogyny, it would appear, is that the men doing it don’t think that they are wrong.

It would be simple to look at all of the above truthful accounts and consign them to some bottom-feeding population of welfare recipients, uneducated, or toothless bunch of Jerry Springer fans.

Problem is, that most of the men above were men of good incomes, well educated men, pillars in their community in some cases, who somehow felt entitled.

Entitled to what? At being able, in fact, expecting to get away with, treating a woman any way that he wanted.

If we look at candidate Donald Trump, it would appear to be that he thinks women are objects for his potential gratification. He believes that his money or fame entitles him to kisses and gropes if the woman is beautiful to him. And it seems that he believes that such women are shallow or submissive enough to accept such behavior and not complain.

And sadly, especially in the past, some women have allowed such behavior.

I remember talking to my paternal grandmother about my father’s sexual abuse of me and others. When I expressed confusion about what happened, she sighed and said, “Oh honey, all men are like that.”

And I truly believe that she, also being a victim of such abuse, honestly believed this was true.

Women have been socialized, in the not so long ago past, that they ‘had’ to put up with certain types of behavior. They could lose their jobs, after all. This being before laws went into effect that could end the careers of the gropers and touchers who used position and power to sexually molest their employees.

Some of it, however, is just how women have been socialized in this country.

We are trained to be ‘nice.’ We are trained to cover our bodies, not be flirty or suggestive, because God knows men can’t control themselves. If a man acts inappropriately, we’re supposed to look over it, because if we respond as they deserve, and tell them to take a flying leap, they just might think (and can tell others) that we are lesbians.

And that won’t do, will it?

We are trained to put up with much, tolerate much, and try to explain away everything.

We’re trained to roll our eyes when the men in our lives break bad and act like Archie Bunker or Donald Trump. We’re trained so well to be Edith Bunker’s would-be twin, that at times injustice often appears to win the day.

But, not always.

I’ve been astounded, and saddened to hear female supporters of Trump excuse, downplay, or even giggle about his antics. Many of them are elderly women of the generation that often didn’t have a choice (due to no sexual harassment legislation,) to do anything but to try to laugh it off.  They act out the stereotypes that were force-fed them and are suspicious, even nasty towards strong women like Hillary Clinton, who does not tolerate female bashing or potential sexual exploitation.

With such women, I wonder if it is not envy of Hillary’s generation, and the ones which have followed, who can protest, who can bring legal action and charges, who can be believed.

But still, the women of today have their holdouts.

The world is different, but not that different. I still see women in professional positions who think that they have to flirt with their male bosses, dress provocatively, and put up with their ‘man stuff’ (inappropriate talk, unwanted advances, etc.) because ‘boys will be boys.’

I actually heard a high ranking female professional blame a woman for being raped. She said that it was the girls fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She stated, “Dumb girl.”

As if it were the girls sole responsibility to keep herself out of harm’s way. As if men are not responsible for controling themselves.

These are the sorts of messages our young men get. From television, movies, social media, radio, and yes, from their own parents. The more conservative you go, especially in religious circles, the more stereotypical you can get. Messages like men should be understood, given the benefit of the doubt by women. Anything less is somehow not feminine. Somehow not Christian.

However, we need only to look at Christ’s human incarnation to debunk that. When given the chance to send Mary to the kitchen to help her sister, Jesus chose to let her remain with him. When given the opportunity to support the hypocritical stoning of a woman caught in adultery, Jesus called on the men to examine their own souls first.

Jesus respected women. In fact, it was women who discovered that he was no longer in the tomb. Any man who thinks that being lecherous, abusive, and crude is acting as a follower of Christ has clearly chosen a false Messiah—Jesus didn’t act like that, nor did he condone it.

I think we have an opportunity, as parents, teachers, social workers, whatever our role, to teach the next generation that women-hating is wrong. That using women is wrong. That pretending to be nice so that a woman will admit a man to her bed is also wrong. That manipulation or exploitation of any sort—is wrong.

There has been such a lack of accountability in our culture for men. I recall having to wait to move into an apartment because the sole male occupant refused to clean it up. He was waiting for his girlfriend and mother to do it. When asked why, he grinned and said, “Oh, you know, I’m a guy.”

His girlfriend and mother did later clean it, while being angry at me for insisting that he move out on time and leave a clean apartment. Simply said, they enabled this irresponsible male who thought (and had been trained to think) that being a ‘guy’ meant waiting for the women in his life to do the heavy-lifting.

There are many men in our society who can cook, clean, launder, sew and still throw a football. There are many men in our society who would not tolerate a woman being mistreated. There are many who refuse to repeat the stereotypes that they were spoon-fed to the next generation of young men. Society is changing, and it seems to be threatening to those who have enjoyed or even suffered from past status quo.

But we simply can’t turn a blind eye to men (and boys) acting badly. If they act this way, they need to be called on it. If they can’t accept responsibility for their acts, they need, simply, to be shunned.

It is possible to be a man and act with self-control, respect and dignity. To not see women as simply an object to get their sexual and other needs met. To know that simply because a woman is beautiful does not give men the right to touch them. Two year olds do that when they see something visually appealing. More is expected of adult men.

We need to send this message out loud and clear by who we elect for governmental office, and yes, also who we allow in our lives and in our personal space. Sending a message like this does not make women less feminine.

Women can be both feminine and strong. In today’s world, more than ever, we need to be both.

Inside Hillary’s “Basket”

It seems to me that the right to freedom of speech, is, to say the least, subjective.

It seems that, at least to some politicos and their supporters, that you only have the right to free speech (without apology) if you agree with THEIR views.

Donald Trump’s entire campaign has been run on stirring up America’s latent fears about losing freedom and how to regain said liberties. And yes, I have had a lot of fun razzing some of his supporters. The ‘Billy Bobs’ who declare their loud, unwashed support for Trump, and his desire to make “Murica” great again.

One writer gave a gag campaign promise that making “Murica great” would be ensuring that beer tasted better and women’s ‘boobs’ were larger.

Okay, I guess you got a good part of the population sold.

We’ve had our fun with Donald’s hair, Donald’s women, and his creepy comments about two of his daughters. One he said he might go after if she wasn’t his daughter.


The other  daughter, he stated, took after her mother in two areas—legs and boobs. Really Donald? Why are you noticing those parts on your biological child?

Big Ugh.

Yet, I’ve noticed when I post satire or even Donald’s latest self-combustion on my political page on Facebook, I get amazing comments. If the people weren’t friends, I would possibly make unkind comments in response. But then, I would lose those friends.

I notice that a lot of people who support Trump lack the ability to properly spell. That’s not a joke. Just look at some online comments. What worries me is that similar education-free folk also put Bevin into office in Kentucky, who is now happily trying to take their insurance benefits away.

This morning, on the radio, a Arizona realtor, a strong Trump supporter, compared him to a ‘bright light in the heavens.’ I nearly choked. She then said, “He says what I think.”

Which brings us to Hillary’s ‘basket of deplorables’ comment.

Listen up, Folks—Hillary, when she said that, said what I THINK.

Not about every Trump supporter. But about a few.

Like David Duke, who was formerly of high leadership in the Klu Klux Klan. Like the defiant Kentucky House of Representative candidate Dan Johnson, who posted pictures of President Obama as an Ape on Facebook.  Like the white nationalist who applied to be a delegate in Trump’s campaign. Only when a major firestorm started about this, did he resign.

Inside Hillary’s basket are the sexists–think Donald’s recent comment about the beauty pageant contestant who gained weight. Add to that basket the racists, who beyond all reasonable efforts to convince them otherwise, still believe Latinos are here to take jobs away from them, instead of taking the dangerous, low-paying jobs Americans are unwilling to do.

Need more company in that basket? The folks who think that Obama is in league with the Islamic state to take over the world. Or, those who supported the birther movement, and still quietly mutter about it, despite it being disproven, and even being turned around and denied by their candidate.

Lastly, in that basket go the folks who childishly chant “All lives matter” when confronted by justifiably angry African-Americans saying that ‘black lives matter.’ Okay, I’m with you–all lives DO matter. But to generalize on this specific issue is once again attempting a cover-up of the problem. That problem being, that for far too many years, a large segment of our minority population have been treated as if their lives DID NOT matter.

When injustice is ignored for generations, can any reasonable or decent person expect no protest? “Black Lives Matter” is a great slogan–because it calls attention to the very real blindness of white privilege. Coming up with a taunt to throw back to disenfranchise those protesting is just as evil as the crimes that have taken the lives of innocent black citizens.

I recently met a wonderful Islamic woman who is legally in the United States. We did some work together. We liked each other and got into a long conversation after work. Religion came up. She spent most of that conversation trying to prove to me that not all Muslims are bad, extreme, or hate women.

She need not have bothered.

I never believed that all Muslims were bad, extreme or violent. Sad that we have become a nation where such apologies are seen as a preface to a friendship between people of different cultures or religions.

Hillary, after making only a few snarky comments here and there before opening fire at the Democratic National Convention, really caught fire for the ‘Deplorable’ comment. She duly issued regret. People still jumped on her.

However, when Donald spews his nonsense, a lot of his supporters just wince and say “He’s just being Donald.”


Hillary started her comment with the apologetic, “To be grossly generalistic.” Now it is possible that some who over-reacted don’t know what that word (generalistic) means. Or, maybe that’s just me being unkind. What’s really the problem here?

Why is it that when Hillary, a college educated woman, speaks and tells what she sadly sees to be the truth about some of Trump’s supporters, she gets universal hell-to-pay? Since when has telling the truth about some of Trump’s loudest fans gone out of vogue? Or telling the truth in general?

Trump thumps his manly man chest and spouts out exaggerated and often unprovable comments. Inflamatory things. Things that might cause a nuclear war had he access to the nuclear codes. Then he waves it off saying that he ‘didn’t mean it that way.”  Yet, Hillary speaks about a group that we all know is out there and politicians on the other side of the aisle collectively lose their minds.

America, let’s face it, haters exist. By the time some read my blog, they may put me in that group. I’m okay with that, because I know who I am. Not a hater. Maybe a disdainer, but not a hater. I just don’t like to see people suppressing the free speech rights of others then whining about the loss of their own rights.

If Trump has done one thing right in his campaign, he has brought the puss in the infection that affects America to the limelight. Hillary’s ‘deplorables’ are only evidence of that long ignored infection. We can’t fix that issue without education, discussion and the same application of laws for everyone. The same justice for everyone. In that, our country is sadly lacking.

America needs to look inside its collective heart and examine the contents. What we really think. What we really feel. Do we need a man who proudly calls himself a ‘genius’ for not paying his taxes? Do we need a serial adulterer who threatens to talk about a woman’s struggle with her husband’s infidelity? Do we need a man who has encouraged a competitive world power to hack into our secure data base?

Look at the true issues here without getting vile or ugly. Hillary’s deplorables are out there. Human hate and evil have existed from the beginning of time. However, in our time, a lot of that evil seems to be attracted to the person of Donald Trump.

We all need to look deeply at ourselves, and be absolutely sure that we don’t fit into that basket too.

Tipping is NOT a Science

I like to tip. Really big when I can.

‘Really big’ for me may not seem like much for you. I’m thinking in percentages of what the meal cost. It’s not unusual for me to go over 50% in a tip, sometimes even when the service isn’t that great. I really have to feel mistreated before I’ll go a measly 10 or 15 percent.

And I really think that how a person tips says a lot about them.

I’ve been a waitress a few times in my life. The job isn’t easy. I’ve worked around Army flight students who thought that we were all easy and liked being pawed. I had one guy in a top-gun like flight suit lay down five one dollar bills. He gave me a big, toothy grin and told me confidently, “Okay, this is how it will go. You start out with five. I will take away one dollar for every mistake you make.”

I don’t think I went back to his table.

Even then, in days of almost nil self-esteem, such behavior went all over me.

I’ve heard tales, and I’ve seen them acted out in front of me. I’ve heard fellow servers tell me that women never tip, are critical, snarky and jealous if their dates pay the slightest bit of attention to you. And no matter how much the guy might like you, that lady (if he hopes to stay on good terms with her) controls the tip.

Believing that from past experience, I tended to be overly solicitous of the woman. But that made the man mad, who suggested that I might want a date with HIS date. Finally, I stopped really paying attention to either party, did the best job I could, and accepted whatever was left for me.

After leaving that sort of work to return to professional work, I noticed a few things, however. Especially in how people who have never done this job treat the people who do.

One lady, at a bank, heard me talk about how hard waitresses work. With a ugly look on her face (and she really couldn’t afford to make herself look much worse) she proudly stated that she purposely under-tipped. Her idea was that waiters and waitresses made a kings ransom. Then she managed to shock everyone around her by saying, “Why should they make more money than I do?”

I wanted to say “Maybe because they’re on their feet 10 hours a day and don’t sit on their butt at a bank like you do.” I didn’t say it. I gave her the long look and cold smile I reserve for people who I really think have no souls. When I heard she had retired from her long-time job, I wondered if the celebration at that bank was more to celebrate her coming absence.

Then, I heard of the aging bachelor (divorced) who whined, and made all sorts of demands, mostly that his drink glass stay filled to the brim. I knew this person pretty well by this time, and knew him to be somewhat stingy in some ways. I could respect that–but not when you demand that a tired restaurant worker bust their behind for you and then you dole out a dollar for their work–or less. “Oh, I forgot,” doesn’t cut it, folks.

This was a man I was considering dating. When I heard about his behavior, it was like a big bucket of ice water on those considerations. No, thank you.

I think how we treat folks who are paid to serve us, speaks out loud about who we are. Tipping isn’t really a science, it is a measure of the contents of our hearts.

I WANT to tip well. I’ve lived the life. I want to encourage. Some of my favorite places to eat are, to say it gently, ‘greasy spoons’ where the employees are probably not paid well. I want to make a difference in those lives that may be working that job only as a last resort. And even when one or two don’t do well, I still want to encourage them. I’ve at times been a bad server. But there were reasons. Depression, heartbreak, money-troubles, unbelievable stress. Some folks were kind to me, anyway.

And it made me want to do better.

I guess it goes back to the golden rule. If you were that server with aching feet, a unreasonable boss, leering or unkind other guests, and a table of children who just tossed food everywhere, how would you want to be treated?

Some tell me that tipping should be strictly about the quality of service provided. I disagree. Sometimes it should be about grace.

Tipping is NOT a science. Today, at lunch, my server had to be told to bring me something to drink, take my order. I’d been sitting there for a pretty long time, worried about using up my lunch hour. I had to wait a pretty long time for a re-fill on my drink. But she managed to get the food right and was pretty nice while doing it.

As I left, I saw her behind the building, talking on her phone. You know, maybe she wasn’t talking. Maybe she was playing Pokémon-Go. Maybe she was shopping. Maybe she was texting. I don’t know.

And, I don’t care. I left her a decent tip, because I wanted her to know that there are decent people out there. Not everyone judges or holds someone to some huge standard. Sometimes by giving grace, it teaches the recipient about grace.

And sometimes, giving grace is all that really matters.