Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Anger and Discretion

The offense occurred about thirty-six years ago and I no longer remember what it was. It wasn’t important but the lesson I learned was important and has stayed with me.

I was in the Army and two men did something foolish, destructive and insensitive. A vague memory links it to some act of vandalism in the chapel but I could be mistaken. I worked with a First Sergeant who was a small chain-smoking man from Tennessee. When he heard about the offense, he immediately became angry, vented his anger with profanity and ordered another soldier to find the two men involved and tell them he wanted to see them the next morning at 6:30 AM. After the messenger left, he turned to me and another soldier and said, “I’ve learned not to react from anger. If possible, I put things off until I’ve cooled down and can handle them better.”

This memory surfaced last night as I wrote for today. I’ve had an idea for about a month and started writing but I was writing from a perspective of anger. I finished writing but wasn’t satisfied with it and decided to lay it aside until this morning. The sun’s not up yet but in the light of a new day I think it’s best to wait, become more objective, rewrite and use it later.

I wonder if the First Sergeant is still living. If so, he would be about 80 and, of the thousands of soldiers he met, he probably doesn’t remember me but, I remember him. He taught me by example how to handle anger with discretion.

Thanks, Bobby. I hope life has treated you well.

6 Comments:

Blogger CHIC-HANDSOME said...

life just a good

9/26/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

It is a lesson I have yet to master. I am getting better at allowing the blood to cool, but have far to go before I am out of the novice category. If I can keep that first word from leaving my mouth...

9/26/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger whitesnake said...

Oh Yes..........it's true!

9/26/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gaye said...

There's alot to be said for this lesson. People don't really "listen" when you come at them with impulsive anger; they're too busy shifting to defensive mode. Now confront them calmly and sternly and they usually walk away puzzled with their tails between their legs. (All this coming from the gal that the blogworld sees as the angry chick!...I'm really not!)

9/27/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Michael said...

OK, I'll count to ten before replying to this post.......




Alright, here goes my reply.......




Great post, Paul!

9/27/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Somtimes, I remember this, sometimes ...

9/28/2006 07:24:00 AM  

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