We All Have an Uncle Joe

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You’d have to be living under a rock to not have noticed all the ridiculousness going on in this country. It’s gotten so crazy that families have been fractured over politics. Not adultery, not money… politics. 

How did we get here? That’s a long, and possibly contentious, discussion for which I am in no mood. Instead, I thought I would ruminate on how we can all learn to get along a little better. My step by step, foolproof plan to returning just a tiny bit of civility to this world.

  1. Don’t be a Jackdonkey. 

Yep, that’s it. One step. Easy, right? If only it were! Thankfully, I do have a few examples of how to keep to this civility plan when faced with the temptation to foment division. 

  • You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, stopping to watch videos of kids falling down, cats playing piano, defrocked dad bods auditioning for the inevitable suburban set Magic Mike sequel, or whatever your “friends” have shared. When all of a sudden, there it is. A political rant. Uh oh, how in the world can you resist responding to this positively inflammatory, salacious post that is in direct opposition to your own views? Knowing that you must set this poster straight with a heartfelt treatise on how they are a horrible person for the views they hold, and are obviously your intellectual subordinate, your fingers fly over the keyboard. Before you know it you’ve written a thousand word diatribe and your pinky is poised over the enter key. What does a Jackdonkey do? A Jackdonkey pushes enter and then waits for the fireworks to start. But because you have decided you don’t want to be a Jackdonkey, what do you do? You float that pinky finger up to the delete key and erase your epistle. Now go to YouTube and watch some Vines. Because Vines make the world better, 7 seconds at a time.
  • The urge for coffee is strong, so you pack up your trusty electronic device and head to the local coffeeshop. It’s crowded, because coffee is life, so you know it will be difficult to find a seat. Coffee in hand, you begin the hunt for a table. Just when you think all hope is lost, a table for two opens up. You swoop in, place your backpack in one chair and slide your derrière into the other chair. Laptop out, headphones in hand, you’re ready to plug-in just as a person you have met once, at a social function, walks up and asks if they can sit with you. “Oh crap, you think to yourself. How do I get out of this one?” Well, the first question is, do you want to be a Jackdonkey? Because if you do, then tell the interloper that you’re waiting on someone. You can even check your watch to make it more convincing. But what it you DON’T want to be a Jackdonkey? Then you get on your feet, move your backpack to the floor, and offer the spare seat to your acquaintance. And then, here’s the tough part, you put your headphones back in your bag and strike up a conversation. Bonus props to you if you manage to talk about something other than the weather.
  • And now the tough one. It’s Thanksgiving. The whole family is seated around the table, plates filled to the point of gravy dripping onto the tablecloth, and the conversation is roaring. Just as it looks like this will be a harmonious occasion, Uncle Joe, itching for a fight, opens his big, fat mouth and utters an opinion he knows full well you find detestable. There’s a collective breath hold as the family prepares to take cover in anticipation of your inevitable, fiery response. But you’ve decided to not be a Jackdonkey, so instead of starting an argument that you know will end with mashed potatoes on the ceiling, your mother in the bathroom crying, and your Aunt Betty (Joe’s wife) pouring herself three fingers of scotch, you swallow your pride and remain silent. That’s right, you don’t say a word. You simply continue enjoying your turkey dinner, thus crowning Uncle Joe the sole Jackdonkey in the room. If you manage to do that successfully, I promise the fat, calories and cholesterol in that big meal won’t count. Not a single bit.

I truly believe this plan, if utilized by even just a few of us, can make the world a better place. I hope you’ll try it with me. And if that fails, thanks to the perpetual nature of the interwebz, we’ll always have Vines.

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