Monday, November 1, 2010

Moved On

Dear friends and dedicated readers. If you are at this site, you are at the wrong place. Views From the 14th Floor has moved to New look.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What Ever Happened to Respect?

It is Friday and I had a rough day at the neighborhood high school where I teach. Yes there are gangs in the building, but that's not the overriding problem here. The problem is that in certain sectors of society, or perhaps society as a whole, there has been a serious breakdown in the idea that one needs to show respect to one's fellow human beings. The idea that elders and people in positions of responsibility need to be shown respect is all too often found laughable. How did we get here.

Let me take you back to the jumping off point with a couple of anecdotes. I teach a senior level political science class during the second period of the day. The students vary from one child who dyes her hair green and made a 29 on her ACT test last year (If you don't know, that's really good.) to students who still read on an elementary school level and chafe at being made to sit in a classroom and do anything constructive, like learn about how your country is governed.

Today, two largish 17 year old boys were sitting in the left rear corner of the classroom while I was taking attendance and tending to basic administrative tasks. They were a little louder and more boisterous than I would like, but it was Friday and I was taking care of business. Then there was a loud crash. A desk was knocked over. Inwardly I was saying "What the fuck?" Outwardly, I let slip, under my breath, "Goddammit!"

I stopped what I was doing and told the young man in the corner to stop playing and pick up the desk. His reply was "I didn't do it. He did." I looked at the other kid seated near him. He didn't say a word so I asked him if he was responsible. He denied it. I was becoming annoyed. I needed to get the class back on track. "One of you needs to pick up the desk. I don't care who. Just pick up the desk." There was no response. No one moved. I had to repeat, this time in a more severe tone, "One of you pick up the desk or both of you will have to go. I really don't want to go there."

The two of them looked at each other and the second kid picked up the desk. The first kid made some smart remark. He has a history of smarting off in class. He likes to make remarks that have nothing to do with what we're discussing and trying to be funny at all times in that adolescent I'm a smart-ass and everyone thinks I'm cool kind of way. I told him to pick up his things and move to the front row. He said "Why?" I replied, "Because I asked you to do so and I'd appreciate it if you got up and moved to the front. He decided that he didn't have to move. "I'm not going anywhere. Go ahead. Call security. I'll go to detention."

So at this point what do you do? Cave in to the teenagers and you lose control of the room. They can and will do whatever they want to disrupt the class. I had to call for security and stop the class to a standstill while I filled out the paperwork. I turned my back to write something on the board for the rest of the class while I waited for security to show up and someone hit me in the back of the head with a small piece of paper. Shrugged it off and made a snide comment about seniors in high school behaving like 12 year olds.

Security came and took away the first kid. I looked at the second kid and told him to pick up his things and move to the front of the room. This one chose to swear at me and stalk out of the room. He tried to slam the door as hard as he could on the way out, but they recently put new hinges and springs on the doors so they close slowly and can't be slammed. Tsk! Tsk! Had to call the office and ask security to return to the third floor to pick up the paperwork on the second kid. Had to take the time to fill out the paperwork on the second kid. By the time all of this was over and I'd finished with the attendance report and basic b.s. somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes had flown the coop.

This afternoon I had to lecture a Freshman about his tendency to talk non-stop in class and disrupt the class. He was amazed for some reason. He had to argue with me. He told me, "You're crazy man. You're acting like I was......on and on." The point is that these kids have to know that they've done something wrong. It's not as though I never did anything wrong when I was their age, but I had the respect for the institution of education and the people involved to accept it when they dressed me down. Take the fall. Swallow the pill. Admit that you screwed up and move on. When did it become the norm for people to rail against their superiors? When did it become the norm to think that you could swear at people, call them names, throw things at them, and this would be acceptable behavior?

It is very tempting to write this off to the fact that I work in a neighborhood that most would call ghetto and the behavior of many of these kids is often called "acting ghetto." The trouble is that some of this sort of thing has permeated our entire society. A Congressman shouts out "You lie!" when the President is speaking. Tea Party ralliers shout racial epithets and throw things at African-American members of Congress. Glenn Beck and right-wing media routinely make up false statements about the President and sell it as the truth. Say something to another human being about how they've acted badly and they threaten your life.

People have learned to act and react with a sense of self-entitlement that is unjustified. If you screwed up, own up to it. There is structure to our society and rules for civilized behavior. When these rules and their sanctions disappear we might as well be living in an anarchy where life is, as the philosopher said, "nasty, brutish, and short." A little respect for your fellow humanity goes a long way, and in the long run results in more successful lives. That is all I wish to convey to the kids I encounter at times like these. We don't have to like each other. We don't have to hang out together. We do have to exhibit a modicum of respect for one another, however. Not doing so, has disastrous results.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are We Just a Bunch of Cavemen, or What?

I was seriously prepared to comment on the upcoming Mayoral election in Chicago and the fact its devolution into a race-based free-for-all. Speaking of devolution, however, there is something else that has been pressing on my mind for a week or so now. It needs to be addressed, and odd as it may sound coming from a 59 year old white male, I am thoroughly appalled and annoyed by men's attitudes toward women, their expectations, and their assumptions. We're talking about male-female relations worldwide, not just in areas we might think of as backwards. America and the so-called developed world have their problems as well, in this respect.

Let me start from the beginning of my current annoyance about this issue. A short while ago there was a feel good story in the Chicago news about a man who rescued a woman from a rape attempt in a public bathroom at the Foster Avenue beach house. While it is admirable that the man in question had his head in the right place and responded to the screams from the bathroom, the other side of the story is that a man, an American man, followed the woman into the bathroom, punched her repeatedly, beat her head against the cinder block wall, dragged her into a stall, and was trying to get his pants and hers down to consummate the deed when he was dragged off by the rescuer. He punched the rescuer and ran.

The attempted rapist in this scenario was arrested and identified in a lineup, by the victim. Now here is where this story gets really sordid. In a statement to police, the perpetrator of this crime said, "She wouldn't fuck me, so I beat on her..." Now it occurs to me, "What kind of sick sucker just expects a woman to fuck him because he's a man who wants to fuck and she's a woman and she's there?" The trouble is that this attitude is all too common in many sectors of society.

Let me relate just one more little anecdote of this ghetto mindset to bring the point home. I teach in a public high school in a not so good neighborhood and a couple of years back one of my students was arrested for sexual assaulting a woman at gunpoint. When arrested, his statement to the police, in some apparent attempt to justify his actions, was something on the order of "My girlfriend is pregnant and won't fuck me. I ain't had none in a long time. I just couldn't stand it no more, so....." This is the thing. In some sectors of American society you take what you want from women. That's what they're there for.

Noted that these are extreme cases, but we need to take a long look at how male-female relations in general are structured on this planet Earth. When you take a long look at the more conservative societies of the Islamic world, you find that women are, as a rule, relegated to second-class status. The whole thing about women covering themselves head to toe is just mind-boggling. Are we to believe that men are incapable of restraining themselves when confronted with a woman's sexuality? Just looking at a woman who even remotely resembles a woman in shape and form is enough to cause a man to rape her? Is that what this is about?

Several years ago Babs and I were in Morocco on a train, in one of those cars that have little compartments that hold 6 people, 3 on each side facing each other. Babs was obviously with me, but was not wearing a head scarf or one of those "cover it all up" outfits common in that part of the world. Several Moroccan men got on the train in Rabat and entered our compartment. The Moroccan woman who had not felt it necessary to cover her head when she was alone in the compartment with Americans made a show of covering her head. Then one of the guys sat down next to Babs and proceeded to put his hand on her leg. Babs was indignant and he removed it, but the assumptions and the assumed right to do this were appalling.

This is just a drop in the bucket when you consider that women in Iran are threatened with stoning for adultery. Women in Afghanistan are routinely intimidated to keep them from going to school. Women in Saudi Arabia are prohibited from driving cars or from going out of their homes without the accompaniment of an adult male member of their family. Women in parts of Africa have their clitoris removed to prevent them from having any pleasure in the sex act. Apparently the males in that part of the world feel that females who have pleasure in sex are sluts and impure.

Mind you these examples are pretty extreme, but even in so-called civilized corners of the planet male-female relations are not exactly the relationship of equals. As I recall, there are various Christian groups that press the idea that the man is always the head of the family and it is a woman's duty to obey him. No less of a mainstream Christian group than the Catholic Church disapproves of any form of birth control. They press the idea that sex is for procreation only, and women have no say in whether they should give birth to a child if they opt for having sexual relations.

Then there is the thing about women in modern industrialized societies doing the same jobs as men and making significantly less than men who do the same job. There is the thing about women being pointed toward vocations "more suited to women" and away from traditionally male-dominated professions like engineering and science. On and on and on ad infinitum. It is 2010 A.D. We can clone body parts, but religions don't want us to. We can send humans to destinations beyond our planetary boundaries, yet men around the globe cannot grasp a concept so simple as "women are our equals, just made sexually different so we as a species can reproduce." Is that so hard to grasp, really? Or are we still just a bunch of glorified Cro-Magnons?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Republican Politics and Reality

The mid-term elections will be coming up in just a little over a month and the TV attack ads are ratcheting up. All manner of Tea Party rallies are out there raking in money to finance assorted right-wing craziness and the personal spending habits of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. And now the Republican Party has unveiled its "Pledge to America." I have perused it and frankly it reminds me a lot of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" of a few years ago. As I recall, a lot of us referred to it, more realistically I'd like to think, as "The Contract On America."

Just for the sake of clarity, let's review what is included in the Republican "Pledge to America."
1) The Republican Party pledges to keep tax rates absurdly low on the richest 1% of Americans. That would be millionaires and billionaires. This is despite the fact that doing so will increase the national debt by several hundreds of billions of dollars.
2) The Republican Party wants to roll back regulations on big business and Wall Street. This is despite all evidence that points to the fact that lack of regulation is part of what caused the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930's.
3) The Republican Party is in no way, shape, or form prepared to insure the future of Social Security or Medicare. This is despite the fact that millions upon millions of elderly Americans are dependent on both to insure their health and livelihood. Apparently, if you're rich you don't need either, so therefore you don't believe anybody else should either and you damned well don't want to pay for their retirement or healthcare. Tell it to my grandmother.
4) The Republican Party is in denial about any links between fossil fuels and global warming and are not prepared to do anything to stop or slow down the process. This is despite real scientific evidence that we are creating eco-disaster.
5) The Republican Party is not prepared to pay for repairing or updating our crumbling infrastructure. That would mean tax dollars, and they are against paying taxes. This is despite the fact that investment in our infrastructure is necessary and doing so means creating jobs for our citizens.
6) The Republican Party is apparently against any government spending whatsoever, unless it is for salaries for Republicans and for any and all military projects. They seem to have never met a military expenditure that they didn't like.
7) The Republican Party wants to repeal the recently enacted health care laws. This is despite the fact that millions of ordinary Americans are benefitting from affordable health care because of this reform.
8) The Republican Party would like you to believe that returning to the same tired old Trickle Down Economics nonsense and corporate giveaway policies will benefit America. Sure they will benefit America, but only a small part of America, really rich America. Everyone else will continue struggling.

To be sure, what the Republican Party is advocating is the same ideas that were expressed in the 1920's as "Trickle Down Economics." Those policies famously led to the Great Depression in the 1930's. For the record John Maynard Keynes recommended that government invest in creation of jobs so as to create a cash flow and get the economy moving that time. Remember the WPA, the CCC, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and scads of other projects that helped put Americans back to work, and built roads, bridges, and public buildings? Remember that? The Republican Party was opposed to that too.

To be sure, what the Republican Party is advocating is the same ideas that were expressed in the 1980's as "Supply-Side Economics" or "Reaganomics" or as George H.W. Bush called them, "Voodoo Economics." Mr. Reagan and company argued that we could actually create more tax revenue by cutting taxes and stimulating the economy. He also was known to pretty much oppose any government expenditure except, you guessed it, military projects. He created the greatest budget deficits in U.S. History, to that point and a 6 trillion dollar national debt.

To be sure, what the Republican Party is advocating is the same ideas that were promoted by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney during their 8 year fiasco in charge of our nation. While Bill Clinton left office with a balanced budget and a shrinking national debt, G.W. Bush, through his tax cuts, ill-advised wars, and total gutting of all corporate regulation managed to leave office with an even bigger national debt than was created by Ronald Reagan and with the worst economic disaster in history since the Great Depression.

As Joe Friday would have told us, "Just the facts Ma'am." Let's get real here. The current administration hasn't totally changed the world, but they did save the country from certain economic disaster when they gave assistance to the banking industry and the auto industry and they began a process of oversight of corporate America. The Republican Party has, despite opportunities to do good for all Americans, become the party of "NO!" They have become the party that uses any legal means possible to obstruct anything that might be good for average Americans. They have become the party of "Let's make up facts or twist the real facts any way possible to make the other party look bad." They have, to a large extent, become the party of liars.

There is so much more that can be said, but we, as Americans, need to know the truth. We need to seriously consider the consequences of our vote. We need to recognize the fact that this country is going to become a backwater nothing of a country if we turn it over to the Republican Party. We run the risk of becoming a nation that people want to leave to go somewhere else where there is opportunity instead of the "Land of Opportunity" that we have historically been. Just remember that voting Republican is irresponsible and bad politics and do the right thing. Remember, "Friends don't let friends vote Republican."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So When Is the Autumnal Equinox (First Day of Fall) Anyway?

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, or at least it should be. Having Googled the equinox, I found out that some say it's on September 22 this year, and some say it's on September 23. Traditionally, the Autumnal Equinox has been September 21 and the Vernal Equinox has been March 21 and all of that scientific fact is just getting in the way I tell you. Does anyone really care that the suns rays cross the equator at exactly 9;43 AM EDT on September 23? Just made that fact up, so don't quote me on it. The Naval Observatory tells me it occurs at exactly 11:29 PM on September 22. Another source assures me that it occurs on September 23. Google it yourself if you're so insistent on being to the minute scientifically correct for goodness sakes. September 21 is close enough and traditional enough for me.

If the truth were known, everyone would know that my wife's birthday signals the beginning of Fall for me, and that occurs on September 20. Happy birthday Babs. Happy beginning of Fall. Equinox Schmequinox. The trees are beginning to change colors. The days are getting shorter. Let's not get picky. Next thing, you're going to tell me that summer doesn't actually begin on the day that school's out.

What's that? The Summer Solstice. Yes I know a Solstice is a Pontiac. Yes I know Pontiac's are not being made anymore. Can we get back to the point? Yes I know the summer solstice is when the sun's rays are northernmost in our hemisphere and this occurrence can vary from June 20 to June 23 from year to year. Once again, who cares? As a kid, my summers always began precisely when I picked up that last report card of the year and went home until September. As a teacher, my summers begin when I have handed out that last report card, turned in my keys to the school office, and when I head out the door with the idea of going home and changing into shorts. Actual solstice dates be damned. Got nothing to do with real summers.

Vernal Equinoxes? Okay I know that they occur somewhere between March 20 and March 23, but let's get real. This has nothing to do with real spring. Hours of sunlight be damned. In the city of Chicago, right next to Lake Michigan, it is cold and wet until sometime in late May or early June. Spring lasts maybe two days and then someone flips the switch and it's mid-summer temperatures. Fifty one day. Eighty-five the next day. There are some in the City of Chicago who think Spring is a myth as elusive as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Just something you teach your kids. Doesn't really exist. Of course there are those who say the same about Jesus and religion as well, but that's a topic for another day.

Now I've gone through both equinoxes and one solstice, and that leaves one lone seasonal marker that I haven't mentioned. That is the Winter Solstice. Yes we know that it is traditionally December 21 (in the Northern Hemisphere) and can vary from December 20 to 23. And we know that in my mind it is not likely to be quite that scientifically exact. Yes I know all about the sun shining its hardest on the opposite end of the planet and circles around said sun and days getting longer after that, but when does actual winter set in in my mind, in your mind?

This brings to mind a serious digression. If you think the days get seriously short in the Northern U.S. in mid-December, try going to Iceland at Christmas sometime. Did that. One word to describe most of the day, dark. The sun comes up for a few short hours somewhere around 10 AM and goes down shortly thereafter, at about 2 PM. The sun never achieves any serious brightness, but has that late afternoon yellowish slanting light look that you get in late afternoon, only it's like that all day, all 3 or 4 hours of it. Got to see the Northern Lights up close and personal though.

Anyway, I was trying to decide when the Winter Solstice (First Day of Winter) actually is. You know, living in the Upper Midwest of the U.S. it gets crappy cold somewhere around the middle of November. I could make those last couple of weeks of November the last gasp of Fall and December 1 the actual first day of winter. Makes sense to me. I could make the first serious falling of the snow the first day of winter and that varies from year to year, but it's usually somewhere in December. (This is not to be confused with winter in Minneapolis. I lived there for a while and it snows from the end of October to the beginning of May. I defy you to tell me that Fall or Spring have intruded on that long-assed winter.)

Of course winter sometimes signals its beginning by the beginning of Winter Vacation from school. We could go with December 25, Christmas Day, as the beginning of winter. The Christians made it a holiday so they didn't have to take the winter festival away from the pagans. That could work. All in all, though, the beginning of my winter is pretty loosey goosey. When it gets cold and crappy, it's winter. Has nothing to do with hours of sunlight. Has nothing to do with actual scientific solstices. So when does winter begin this year? Don't know yet.

All of that being said, I guess the seasons of the year are a state of mind, and right now it is Fall, Autumn, whatever you want to call it. Forget the fact that the scientists are telling you to wait a day. Forget the fact that it was 88 degrees today. It's Fall now. Drive north and look at some leaves for goodness sakes. Enjoy it. Embrace it. It's part of the cycle.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Scatalogical Interests

Go figure. Here I bust my hump day after day trying to well-reasoned and pertinent posts on this blog and only a few of my closest friends pay attention. When I write about education, my fellow teachers read and applaud. When I write about politics, my fellow lefties read and applaud. When I write about religion or social issues, likewise a limited audience shows their appreciation. Through it all a dedicated few friends and relatives read most of what I write, to show their support. I don't think even my wife reads all of it, though.

Then I endure an incident with a bozo on the running and biking path on the lake front and label it, "How to Piss Off a Dumbass," and oh my god the hits at this site go through the roof, so to speak. I have spent nearly two years now cranking out this blog and trying to get the world to take what I say seriously, with well-written, socially relevant posts and the odd bit of satire now and then, but apparently that's not what the world really wants. They want dirty words. They want scatalogical prose. They want to be entertained.

That is to say that a large number of people are not much entertained by well-reasoned arguments or by satiric views of the world. They are entertained by poop. Want to get rich in publishing? Write dirty books with lots of sex and dirty words. Want to get really rich? Don't write anything at all. People don't like to read. Make dirty movies with lots of sex, violence, and dirty words. But I digress. Want to write socially relevant stuff? Don't quit your day job.

The point is that while I have my regular readers, after my last post about "pissing off dumbasses" I was suddenly getting hits from Maine to California, from Texas to Michigan. I was getting hits from New Zealand, India, the UK, Venezuela, South Africa, and even one or two from the Middle East. Who knew? Don't work at writing well. Just swear a lot. Had I embellished the story a bit and added actual violence and a little sex to boot, maybe I could have gotten so many hits that Google would be overwhelmed.

If I had included a link to a video showing actual violence and/or sex while all parties are swearing at the top of their lungs, I could've maybe been a You Tube sensation. Trouble is I'm not that guy. I'm a 59 year old guy, soon to be 60, with a long history of intellectual artsiness. Not the kind of stuff that makes you an overnight sensation. Maybe I could change though. Maybe I could do just enough of that to make me rich and famous. Probably not, but it might be worth a try. Got that you ignorant m****r f*****s?!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to P**s Off A D*****s

I am a person who runs a great deal, and spending an inordinate amount of time on the lake front running and biking path I sometimes have occasion to encounter some people who are less than civil. This is the story of one of those encounters. If you are a person who is easily offended by less than civil language, please read no further. If you really don't give a rat's ass, read on. In this little story I will make reference to: 1) Being pissed off, and 2) Someone being a real dumb-ass. Okay, perhaps not as bad as you anticipated, but still not the kind of talk for more sophisticated society.

So anyway, I was out running a little 5 mile Wednesday afternooner and I was on the lake front path that is shared by runners, bikers, roller bladers, various gawking tourists, and mothers pushing strollers. I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 1/2 miles into the run when I found myself approaching the North Avenue biking, roller blading, pedestrian, gawking tourist, and mothers pushing strollers bridge over Lake Shore Drive. On this particular day I was planning a trip over the bridge into Lincoln Park proper and not to proceed directly up the lake front. I looked briefly over my shoulder, turned, and took a step to the left to head across the path to the bridge.

This is where it turned ugly. Excuse me. I had to visit the bathroom momentarily. So where was I anway? Oh yeah. It turned ugly. When I had turned my body to the left and taken one step, I realized that there was a bike closing in on me quickly. I stopped dead in my tracks. The guy on the bike whizzed by about two feet in front of me. I recall thinking to myself, "Oops," somewhat cheerfully. Then the guy on the bike slowed down, turned gave me a really dirty look, and made a rude gesture, suggesting that I had done something really wrong and he was terribly put upon.

He pissed me off. I responded. "So say something dumb-ass, like on your left. How am I supposed to know you're there?" Okay so I shouldn't have included the term dumb-ass in the retort. It leaped unbidden from my lips. So sue me. Well turns out the guy wasn't the kind of guy who wasn't into suing me. He was pissed. He turned his bike around and came back to where I was off on the path heading to the bridge. He rode up and stopped his bike right in front of me.

So now this guy who was looked to be in the neighborhood of 30 years old, 6 feet tall, and possibly an abuser of steroids was right in my face. The first thing out of his mouth? "Don't call me a dumb-ass." Oops.

So anyway, discretion may be the better part of valor, but my mouth wasn't into too much discretion or valor at that time and this ape on a bicycle was really annoying me. I replied, "Well you are a dumb-ass." Oops. I thought for a moment of adding, "So what are you going to do, beat me up?" Then discretion kicked in. I thought that maybe I didn't want to put any of those kind of ideas in his dumb-ass brain. He might follow up on the suggestion.

Anyway, the guy got really flustered when I insisted that he really was a dumb-ass, and at that point, he of the crimson face began spitting out his reply, "Yeah, you know what you are? You're a fat old man. You're a fat, disgusting old man. You are just disgusting and ..........." on and on infinitum.

At this point I elected to roll my eyes and continue my run. Instead of continuing straight up the lake front in the direction he had been riding, he followed me over the bridge, all the while screaming, "You're a fat, old, disgusting man and......." Who knows what other insults he chose to hurl at me? I tuned him out and ran on.

On the other side of the bridge he hurled a few last insults at me, "Fat! Old! Disgusting!" Yada! Yada! Yada! I continued my run through the park. He rode his bike ahead to a water fountain about 200 yards up the path and stopped for a drink of water. I kept on running at my usual 9:30 pace.

Then he turned around and began riding back up the path toward me and as he neared, he purposely swerved to his left so he was riding directly toward me. When he got close enough to hear me what came out of my mouth was, "Now you are really acting like a dumb-ass." I kept running. He swerved back to his right and went around me, shouting as he rode into the distance, "Fat! Old! Disgusting!"

The odd thing was that he was obviously trying to intimidate me and I didn't feel very intimidated. If he had actually gotten off the bike, perhaps I would have, but basically all I could think was, "Jesus what a dumb-ass prick!" He rode off into the distance and I ran the rest of my 5 miler, smiling and enjoying the day.

Now as for the accusations of being fat, old, and disgusting, well the truth is that I will have my 60th birthday in a couple of weeks. The truth is that I stand 5'8" and I currently weigh 205 lb., a bit too much for a guy my height. Trouble is that after you reach a certain age your metabolism slows down and it gets to be a bitch to keep the weight off. I've been running 30 miles/week for the past 3 months and though the weight is easing off, it's not exactly melting away. As for the disgusting part, well that's a value judgement and my wife, family, friends, and work colleagues don't seem to share that view, unless they're just being nice and not saying it. Who knows?

The thing is that when I was this guy's age I weighed 165 lb. and even though I weigh significantly more now, I'm in better shape. Resting heart rate in the neighborhood of 50 beats/minute. My blood pressure is good. My cholesterol is good. I suspect angry dumb-ass guy is on the road to high blood pressure and an early heart attack.

The thought occurred to me that maybe I was out of line and this guy was so angry about being called a dumb-ass because he really is mentally challenged and it was like called a kid who is mentally handicapped a retard. His reactions suggest that he certainly is emotionally stunted. If this is the case, I certainly apologize. I was way out of line. It is just unconscionable to be taunting a mentally handicapped individual with calling them a dumb-ass.

Do I believe that? Nah! It is altogether likely that the guy is just a Type A dumb-ass prick, and he needs some serious anger management. Don't guys like this have anything better to do than harass 60 year old men who are just out for a run to try and keep themselves healthy and to enjoy a warm sunny afternoon? I guess not.