"BUT WE'RE YOUR FRIENDS!"
By; Speaker Gerald A. Polley
As anyone who has ever worked with me can tell you, I'm not
known for my good temper. As long as I'm not bothered, I don't bother other
people. But when I say "Leave me alone!" I expect people to leave me alone.
Unfortunately there are always a few people around that can't understnad
that principle. As the years went on I often ended up being the oldest
guy working in the kitchen.
One time I was working with three young men in their early twenties who LOVED to roughouse with each other. I made it very clear they weren't to attempt ANY of this stuff with me! My birthday came along, and one of them got real cute about it. The next thing I knew two of them grabbed me, pinned me to the counter, while the third one was giving me a birthday spanking. I kept screaming for them to knock it off. They just kept roaring with laughter and continuing the abuse. Finally they let go and walked off, laughing about their prank. I grabbed a long wooden paddle used to stir soup in the thirty gallon cooker, and went after them. In a few moments I had all three driven into the corner, cowering, begging for mercy.
One of the waitresses came in. "Please, Gerald!" she begged, "Please leave them alone. They're just little boys. They don't understand what being a man is. Please don't hurt them any more!" I growled and went back to the dishes.
The manager came in and surveyed the damage. One young man's hand was badly bruised. Another's ear would be swollen for days and the other had assorted bruises. "I hope you three have learned your lesson!" she remarked. "I've known Gerald for years. You're lucky! If he'd wanted it to be this would have been a lot worse! From now on keep your hands to yourself. You want to be idiots with each other, do it, but leave other people alone!"
"There was no need for him doing this!" the cook whined. "It's not right! We didn't do anything! It was just a joke!"
"You don't touch other people," the manager answered, "who don't want to be touched! Now get back to work. If there's any trouble about this I'll fire all three of you!"
Let's just say the rest of the time I worked there these young men kept their distance, though one, one day, came up and asked if we were still friends.
"No," I answered.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I don't associate," I told him, "with people who don't understand what the word STOP means. Because if they don't understand it with me, sooner or later I end up hurting them."
"Well, all right," the young man answered. "I don't understand, we thought we were all friends. But if you can't be friends with us, that's YOUR choice."
I will never understand people like this. I try, but their attitudes just conflict with mine, they just conflict completely.
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