By; Speaker Gerald A. Polley

I don't know why, the last few days I keep thinking about Terry and I suppose I won't get him out of my mind until I write down what happpened with him. It is one of those stories that shows no matter how bad the situation is, some good can come of it. I met Terry when I began working at a rather exclusive restaurant. At first he seemed like a nice kid. We talked extensively about philosophy and religion and he seemed interested in Spiritism. Then one day he came to work acting really weird. A few minutes later he came into the kitchen with his girlfriend, who was a waitress at the restaurant and began to totally ridicule me! This went on for several minutes 'til I finally said "All right, Terry, that's enough! Don't use me to show off in front of your bitch. Get out of the kitchen. You don't talk to people like that!" "You're nothing!" Terry screamed, "You're nobody! You don't tell me what to do! It's a free country. I can say anything I want to you and you can't do a thing about it!" I came around the corner, grabbed him and shoved him towards the diningroom.
"Get out of the kitchen!" I told him, "NOW!"
"No f 'n jerk like you shoves me!" Terry screamed.
Then he started to throw punches at me. His attempts were so pitiful I just wadded them off and stood there laughing at him, which angered him even more. The boss finally ran into the kitchen, grabbed Terry and subdued him. "What's going on here?" he insisted.
"I wasn't doing anything," Terry answered. "I was just talking to Gerald and he started shoving me, telling me to get out of the kitchen!"
"That's not true!" the cook remarked, coming over. He explained what really happened.
"That's IT!" the owner snapped. "Your father's been a friend of mine for years, but I won't put up with your attitude any more. You're all done. Get out of here! I've told you NOT to come to work in this condition! Go on, get out of here!" "This isn't right!" Terry screamed, "This isn't right! It's his fault! I didn't do anything. Why are you listening to their lies?" "Because I know them," the manager answered, "and I know you. GET OUT!" Everything quieted down a few minutes later.
Terry's girlfriend came back, standing on the other side of the counter and said "Gerald, you had no right to call me a bitch!"
I answered "When you stand there and laugh when someone like Terry is ridiculing an innocent person, you're just as bad as he is because you're encouraging what he does. He's only doing it to show off and impress you."
The young lady went "Huh!" and walked off. The next morning, however, she again appeared at the counter, this time acting very timid. "Gerald," she began, "I spoke to my father last night. He said you're absolutely right! I apologize for my behavior. I thought it was all just joking. I didn't realize it was offensive."
"That's all right," I told her. The rest of the time I worked there her and I were good friends. She dumped Terry, which made him even angrier! Months of harrassment ensued. He sicked two of his buddies on me who I promptly sent packing. He followed me around in the store where I shopped, harrassing me, until the manager kicked him and his friends out. A molitov cocktail was thrown at my car but missed by a mile. He bludgeoned the little old lady's cat down the street who he also had problems with, and hung it on my door with a note saying "You're next!"
I complained repeatedly to the police but they informed me Terry's family was very imfluential in the area and they would prefer I not make complaints against him unless I had witnesses that he was responsible for these actions. The harrassment suddenly died off, and almost a year went by. I had changed jobs, moved across the river sharing an apartment with my mother because she had moved to the area, when one afternoon the phone rang. It was Terry! It seemed he had started going back to church and got religion again, and wanted to apologize for his behavior. I told him that there was no way in hell he could apologize for his behavior, and to never get in my face. As long as he didn't bother me, I wouldn't bother him. But he was to never come near me.
Terry began to scream on the phone that I had to accept his apology. He wouldn't be freed of the burden until I did. I told him exactly what he could do with his apology and hung up. I had barely gotten across the room when the phone rang again! I picked it up and a screaming woman announced that she was Terry's mother, and who in the hell did I think I was to refuse to accept her son's apology? Their family had been influential in the area for years. It was important to her son that I accept his apology and I was going to do it! I informed the woman exactly what she was, and how much I cared about her family history.
I explained to her what her son was, and that I had a pretty good idea where he had gotten his problem from, because it was pretty obvious that his mother was as ignorant as he was. I then hung up! That afternoon I was getting ready for work when the phone rang again. My mother answered it. "It's a man," she remarked, "something about you insulted his son and wife?" I shrugged and took the phone.
Sure enough! It was Terry's father, and he was just as obnoxious as his mother! I explained to him that I wasn't going to apologize to his wife, she was exactly what I said she was. Neither was I going to accept his son's apology, and if he wanted to sue me for slander to go right ahead and do so. I then hung up. My mother complained that she wished when I had a disagreement with people I could be a little bit more polite. I just smiled and headed off to work thinking that would be the end of it. After all, Terry had run out of relatives.
However, a couple of days later the phone rang again. Someone asked if I was Gerald Polley and I said "Yes."
Then he continued, "Good morning, my son! This is Father Murphy of the Riverside Perish. I'm calling on behalf of Terry W______. God insists, my son, that you accept his apology and grant your forgiveness. After all, a little teasing from a young man is understandable. Terry is deeply upset that he cannot obtain your forgiveness."
"You f ' idiot!" I answered. "First of all, I'm no relative of yours, especially not your son! And I find it extremely insulting that you refer to me as such. Only my birth father has a right to refer to me as his son. Secondly, I'm a Spiritist. I'm not Christian. I don't believe in your God, therefore, what He thinks on any matter doesn't concern me in the least. Thirdly, it was far more than a little teasing. What Terry did went beyond the bounds of reason. If he is genuinely repentant when we meet in the next life I'll accept his apology, but knowing what a liar he is, and how little he values the truth, I'll reserve my forgiveness 'til then. Don't you EVER call me again!"
I hung up the phone and started to walk off. Again it rang and I walked back picking it up, rather irritated. "Yes?" I snapped. "Excuse me for calling again, Mr. Polley," came Father Murphy's voice, "that conversation obviously got off to a very bad start. I would like very much to hear your version of what has occured between you and Terry."
My atitude softened somewheat and I explained to the good Father what had occured. "My goodness!" he remarked when I finished. "This is not what the W_____'s have been telling me! They claim there was just some innocent harrassment, boyish stuff, and that your attitude in not accepting your son's apology is totally unexplainable. I see, now, this is nowhere near the truth! Thank you for explaining things to me. These beliefs of yours sound very interesting! Could we get together for coffee some time? I would be very interested in discussing them!"
I was totally shocked but agreed, and we had several get togethers in the next few months, and the Father and I became rather good friends. Though I do not enjoy going through such situations as I had with Terry, that particular one proved quite beneficial!


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