The Renaissance Fair got me to thinking about how we all have our separate obsessions. Here are hundreds of people in leather and velvet get-up out in the hot sun, weaving, sword-fighting, glass-blowing, candle-making and setting up exhibits that they wish people like me would not climb up on. You can tell that many of them are really, really into it and they see each other all the time at medieval thingies and they discuss among themselves who is the most medieval-est and whose outfit looks like they bought it at Wal-Mart.
Whether it is a Renaissance Fair, a condo owner's association or the United States Judo Association, which I am off to attend tomorrow, there is always a small rabid group who is concerned about the purity of whatever group it is, raising their blood pressure over how there is NO WAY that Jeffrey Katzenjammer should be the secretary because he can only type with two fingers and he moves his lips when he reads.
NEWS FLASH - Whether it is the Renaissance Faire or the South Carolina Llama Growers' Association, the Chamber of Commerce of Petaluma or the Santa Monica Organic Knitters or, yes, any judo association - to most people, it is not a huge deal. Most of them will walk through whatever your event or meeting is, nod, take a picture, make a snide or nice comment in your blog. They will have the same reaction I did to the Renaissance Faire, "Hey, isn't that cool," but it really is not a central feature of life for any but a handful of people.
Judo is great. The Renaissance Faire is cool to look at, yarn is warm and llamas are furry. Whatever your thing is, I am sure it has something to recommend it, but seriously, chill. Jeffrey is doing the best he can and if it is really true that the pinnacle of achievement in his life is to be the secretary of some obscure association, how sad is that. He already has his own punishment, if he is a jerk, and if not and you get off his case, maybe he will have time to get to those reading lessons.
Forget the Jeffreys and the arguments about whose uniform is the whitest and who memorized Roberts Rules of Order. Try to appreciate the good things about what you are doing, the furriness of llamas. When you do have put up with an insufferable pompous ass, avoid them or ignore them. As Roy Hash of the USJA says, adopt the 'toad in the road philosophy' toward those who have nothing to do but stand around and criticize how you filled out your paperwork.
I asked him what that was and he explained,
"In Texas, we have a lot more toads than we need. If one of them is in the road and I can avoid running over it and messing up my tires, I do. If not, I run over it. I don't stop my truck and wait for it to decide to move. I don't turn away from my destination and go back home. And after I run over it, I never think about that toad again."
So, good for you for trying to improve the beauty of downtown Petaluma and the next time someone complains at a meeting that you did not get 11 forms signed in triplicate before you organized the elementary school to go out and pick up garbage, just nod and think of the toad in the road.