So Why Am I Angry?

I am a guy that loves to read a feel good story, which I don’t get to do very often, given all the local and national crises that permeate our media.  But this week was different.  I had not one, but two stories that spoke of personal integrity.

The first was about a homeless man that found a backpack containing $40000 in cash and travelers checks and turned it over to the police without keeping a penny.  The second story involved a Dairy Queen manager that saw a lady (in this case, a term I use loosely) pick up and place in her purse a $20 bill that had been dropped by a visually impaired person.  Not only did the manager refuse to serve her unless she returned it, but upon her refusal to do so, took $20 of his own money and gave it to the victim.  

I loved both stories, and apparently, I am not alone.  When last I heard, a man had set up a web site to collect money for the homeless gent and to date had received $91000.  The store manager I am sure is receiving some just dues as well, including a call from Warren Buffet.  I suspect his future is going to look a little brighter.

So why am I angry?  Why, in retrospect, do these stories upset me.  Well, here is why.  I asked myself “what have we become that two people doing the right thing have so captivated our attention?  Why are we so surprised and pleased when a couple of cases of personal integrity bubble to the surface?”  Maybe it is because we are and have become a nation that has lost it’s moral compass.  Doing “the right thing” has become subjective.  It is no longer a given.  The values that I have long held and were taught as a boy seem to have somehow become obsolete.  It is OK to look the other way.  I wonder how many customers in that Dairy Queen saw what happened and  just silently thought “oh well, nothing I can do about that.  It’s not my problem man.”

When did this happen?  Where was I when honesty exited stage right?  Well, I was right here, same place I have been for a long time, seeing signs of dishonesty and disrespect creeping more and more aggressively into my environment.  Watching the “it’s only wrong if you get caught” mindset become more and more prevalent.  How could this have happened?

One need look no further than another recent story that has gained some headlines recently. Ex NFL football player Brian Holloway’s home was broken into recently by 300 teenagers that thought it was OK to throw a party there.  Drugs and alcohol were in abundance as evidenced by the Facebook tweets that were posted while the party was still in progress.  The result was over $20000 in damages as well as thefts.  Why did they think they could do this to someone else’s property?  Because they could.  In the world of mob rule, there are no consequences, or so they believe.  And they may be right.  Mr Holloway to his credit, posted the pictures of over 100 of the participants on the web asking only “how do we save 300 lives that thought this was a good idea?”  He began a campaign to hold the teens responsible and address the problem of teen alcohol and drug abuse.

End of story?  I’m afraid not.  Here is the postscript.  Mr Holloway asked for volunteers to help clean up his home in preparation for a picnic for 1000 military personnel planned for this weekend.   Fifty people showed up. and ONLY ONE OF THEM HAD BEEN AT THE PARTY.  Further, many of the parents are UPSET WITH MR HOLLOWAY for posting (actually re-posting) their kids pictures on the web, some even threatening to sue him.

So there you have it.  I’m not sure which makes me the most angry.  The fact that this generation is so out of control because of the “my kid can do no wrong” attitude of their parents, or the fact that we have become so complacent that when we see someone do the right thing, we consider it an anomaly.

Don’t get me wrong. I love living here and still take pride in my country.  I just hate to see what it is becoming.  It just makes me sad.  Are we really becoming the “ugly American’s” we have long been accused of being.  I hope not, but it is becoming a little harder to defend.



About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Integrity, Opinions, Reflection, Sad, Self Esteem, Senses and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to So Why Am I Angry?

  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    We live in the ‘who give’s a damn’ era where the self is more important than the whole. Where children don’t have to excel at anything and they believe the world owes them a living. Me, me, me is the catchcry and to hell with the rest of you.
    Great insights in this blog Oldmainer.


  2. Eva van Beek says:

    Believe me, it is not only a problem in your country. Today, people always tend to look the other way, even if it is just standing up in the bus to give your seat to a handicapped/elderly/pregnant person. I don’t know when it stopped, teaching your children respect of vulnerable and older people. For me it has to do with our society (western society) teaching that you and your needs are the most important, everything/-body else comes second. We are at the peak (or maybe not yet) of the “me-me-me” Society. Not that it is necessarily better in the so-called “collective” societies, but at least there young people still have respect of older members of the society. I not only blame it on the parents who basically look out for themselves and not for their children anymore, but also on schools. Teaching respect should be a top-priority from kindergarten onwards!


    • oldmainer says:

      Re the me me society. I was standing in line yesterday at a hardware store with three people behind me. I was the next to be served but it was taking a while. The cashier said “sir, they are opening the register next to me”. Immediately the three people behind me rushed over there. Another two soon got in line behind me when my cashier said again “sir, they are opening lane 8”, and again the two people behind me rushed over there. Times have changed.Eva, and not for the better.


  3. bgbowers says:

    It’s not just America. Having lived in South Africa, UK, New Zealand and Australia, I’m beginning to think it’s a malaise largely related to Anglo-Saxon-Western-Societies. Honesty has become a dirty word and the insanity of politically correct has crept into every nook and cranny of society. Laurie’s right, it’s every man/woman for himself/herself, nobody takes responsibility for their actions, wrongdoers and criminals have somehow become the victims etc. etc. But worst of all, it’s general lack of respect and ignorance. I still think that the world would be a better place if everyone asked the question: “How would I feel if I was in that situation/in their shoes?”
    As always, a great post that says what some people are thinking but never dare to say out loud.


  4. gpcox says:

    So true! In my opinion, that’s why the Greatest Generation stands apart from all those that followed.


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