Don’t ever let anybody punk you. If they push you, push back. I don’t mean that literally. We’re no longer primitive cavemen that are only capable of throwing rocks. Lets use our intelligence. For some, that requires a little…a lot more effort than others. It’s OK if you’re slow, as long as you’re always catching up 🙂
Not too long ago, I was at a local block party where every house set their table outside and gathered their friends and family for a barrio style night of fun. Don Che, an elderly man loved by everybody in the barrio, rented a big jukebox with dual music and karaoke functions. The machine was connected to even bigger speakers that made the music reach the other side of town. Anyone was allowed to pick a few of their favorite songs on the jukebox and everyone was enjoying themselves.
Suddenly, one family decided to rebel and brought out their own big-ass speakers. Nobody made anything of it until they started setting their whole system up. They couldn’t be serious. A few minutes later, they began blasting their own music in a desperate attempt to drown out the loud music already playing from the jukebox. I don’t know why, but at that moment I thought that’s what it must feel like to hear that your parents are getting a divorce. Nothing makes sense, all you hear is incoherent loud noise, a kid could be chugging a bottle of tequila and it wouldn’t matter, nobody is doing anything about it, and everything is chaos. Complete social awkwardness. It is the only time I have ever felt the elephant in the room swing its trunk, hit everyone in the face and still have people act like nothing happened.
But not Don Che. Oh no, he just sat there quietly giving them the stanky-eye while sipping his beer in disbelief. It was his own neighbor right across the street that was doing this to him. An absolute public display of disrespect. Don Che’s wife, however, decided not to stoop to her neighbor’s level. Instead of raising the volume of her jukebox, she decided to switch it to Karaoke. She quietly selected a song and plugged in the microphone. She then turned to her neighbor’s wife, waved the karaoke microphone in the air and yelled, “Carmen! Hurry, I put your favorite song on and it’s about to start!” Don Che’s wife knew Carmen was a karaoke junky. Before you could say parangaricutirimicuaro, Carmen shut down her husband’s music, ran over to the karaoke machine and started singing her heart out. Don Che’s wife succeeded in outsmarting her neighbors. Creative conflict resolution at it’s best.