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  • Writer's pictureVicki Viall

Let's Cut the Crap!

I was chatting with a customer on the phone this week. He spoke with an accent and, from the word "Go!" had me cracking up. When I answered the phone, his first words were, "Thank goodness I got someone who speaks English!"

It's a good thing I hadn't just take a swig of soda, cause it would have been all over my office. I laughed. I had to. There was no choice. We both did.

When I was able to speak again, I thanked him and remarked that one of the things missing from our world right now is good ole laughter.

It's true. And, one huge reason when I am on the phone, I don't filter my thoughts as they seek to escape through my mouth. It has led to more laughter with customers who had been angry, uptight, having a difficult time making ends meet in a difficult time to even be trying.

And, that conversation got me thinking that laughter is not the only thing in short supply. So are kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, humbleness, acceptance, and so many other virtues and attributes.

Why? What happened? And, how can we change that?

While thinking of that, I had two memories revive in my memory at the same time.

First, let me state that the woman I consider to truly have been a mother to me, was not related by blood. In fact, I am mostly white and she was black. I do have Indian and some other things in me, too.

When I state that I do not see people in color, I am not exaggerating or lying. I don't. I see them by looking for their hearts through their eyes and actions and words.

That brings me to the two memories mentioned above. The first was at one of my duty stations. As the Leading Petty Officer of my office at that time, I took the five ladies working for me to lunch at the Exchange. It was a nice lunch, and we were having a fun conversation when one of them stopped speaking and looked at me.

I looked at her and said, "What"

She said, "You don't see it, do you? You really don't see it?"

I was so thoroughly confused that I could only shrug.

She asked if I was aware that people kept looking our way. I said sure, but I figured it because I was the only person in there in uniform.

They all started laughing. I laughed, too.

Another luncheon companion added, "You don't even know you are the only white person in here, do you?"

I looked around, and for the first time, saw what they said was fact.

She added, "You REALLY didn't notice, did you?"

I shrugged and gave an honest answer: "No."

The second time, I was with my friend Kerrill stopping at TCBY for a treat. My friend, Cleo, owned the TCBY and I introduced them to each other addressing them each by the terms I usually introduced them with.

"Kerrill, this is my brother Cleo and Cleo this is my brother Kerrill."

We were in the middle of the chat which somehow was about white women driving with all their car windows up and the A/C on high and how funny they looked with their windblown hair in a closed car.

At that point, Cleo actually jumped and looked at me. "I'm sorry, Vicki!! I always forget you are white!"

I laughed as did both of them. I said, "Cleo, it you haven't figured it out yet, I have never seen you or Kerrill as black before. I truly think of you as brothers. Period. End of discussion?"

And, guess what? Life went on.

So, why is there so much trouble over race in the world? I have never understood it. I truly do look for a person's heart when I look in their eyes. That's what I care about. Who they are and what they are about. I could care less about the color of their skin. It. Just. Does. Not. Matter!

There are so many things going on right now that I just don't understand. I want to. But, no one is capable of explaining it in any way that makes sense.

Morgan Freeman has a clip playing around the Facebook neighborhood where he states something like, "I am going to refer to you as a man, not a white man. And, I am going to ask you to refer to me as a man, not a black man. End of problem."

There is also a post on Facebook about a man named Brandon Tatum. It is awesome and so timely. Everyone who is breathing should read it. In fact, just do that right now. We'll wait.

Do I have all the answers? Of course not. I don't even know most of the questions. I am just really tired of what's going on. I am tired of seeing people rioting and looting, people hitting others, watching the death toll rise and for not a single reason related to "the cause."

So, let me add right here. YES, there are bad cops. YES, there are good cops. There are good and bad people all around us. It has been that way since Adam and Eve. It will be that way tomorrow. It will be that way next year. It will be that way three centuries from now.

How about this: instead of waiting for someone, anyone else to make the first move, why don't we be the first person to reach out in friendship, to offer a hug, a kind word, a smile, and more kind words.

We can keep on muddling down the paths we are on, or we can be the reason for change.

I vote for being the reason for change. Let's do this. We all have too much to lose to not give it a try.

Starting right now. We got this. And, to anyone reading this, when I address YOU as FRIEND, I mean it. I don't care what color your skin is. I don't care what you are wearing. I don't care what kind of vehicle you drive. I don't care where you live. I just care that love you Mac 'n Cheese as much as I do and that you only see my heart, not my skin color. Well, I may be joking about the Mac 'n Cheese. We will discuss that more later.

For the time being, on your mark, get set, let's get this done!

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