Eli says: take a breath, America

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Eli hates it when I’m angry.

He doesn’t even like it when I raise my voice.

There’s no doubt about it.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

He makes his feelings on the subject perfectly clear.

If I raise my voice for any reason, but especially in anger, he bites me. Repeatedly.

I don’t know why he does that, but I think it probably has a lot to do with the abuse he took before I adopted him. Or perhaps it was the violence that he witnessed…

At any rate, he has very sharp teeth, so it gets my attention. Believe me.

So perhaps I should turn him loose on the rest of the country. He could just go around biting anyone who’s yelling about something, or yelling at someone else, for that matter.

It would get their attention. Believe me.

On second thought…

But then again, that’s a huge responsibility for huge responsibility for one cat.

I mean, let’s be honest. It seems like everyone in America is angry about something these days. It seems like everyone is yelling. People are yelling on TV. People are yelling on radio talk shows. People are yelling on social media. People are yelling about politics, politicians, and anything remotely political.

And there’s only so much Eli could do. It would take him a long time to bite everyone.

So maybe it’s time to take a collective breath, America. And maybe it’s time to take a take a good, hard look at ourselves, our behavior and the way we treat others. Maybe it’s time to take responsibility for our actions, and our words. Because that old line about “sticks and stones” is a myth.

Words are incredibly powerful. Especially when everyone is screaming invective at the top of their lungs.

Some unsolicited advice…

For what it’s worth, here’s how I keep my temper in check online and elsewhere.

  1. If I’ve got to vent I do it in private.
  2. I repeat the following until I am calm enough to have a rational, civilized discussion: I am an adult. I am in charge of my feelings. No one has the power to make me feel anything. Only I can decide how I react.
  3. If I see an offensive comment online, I count to 10 before I decide whether to engage, and how to engage with the person who made the offensive comment.
  4. l remind myself to respect everyone’s right to their opinions, even if I don’t agree.
  5. If all else fails, I take a deep breath and count to 10, and remember what my mother taught me at a very young age: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all…

The Peyton Manning case: Will another idol fall?

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Peyton Manning sure has been getting a lot of “exposure” lately.

First, allegations surfaced about some HGH being sent to his wife back in 2011. Then Manning defied the odds and led the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl title. Now some disturbing information about an incident that occurred when he was a student-athlete at the University of Tennessee has come to light — again.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard all the sordid details, so I’ll keep this brief. According to numerous media reports, Manning’s name came up in a recent lawsuit filed against the university claiming that it mishandled sexual assault complaints involving student-athletes. Although the suit brought by five women pertains mainly to incidents that occurred between 2013 and 2015, it also alludes to prior episodes, presumably to show a pattern of behavior or conduct.

As a student athlete at the university in the late 1990s, Manning reportedly exposed his backside to a female trainer who was treating him at the time. That resulted in the trainer filing a sexual assault complaint against him.

The matter was settled fairly quickly — but the trainer sued the quarterback after information about the event appeared in a book called Manning. That suit was also settled.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

Now renewed publicity brings new questions. There has been much talk about if or how this will affect Manning’s legacy. Will one of the NFL’s superstars — who also happens to be a stellar salesman,  weather the storm? Will he retain his credibility? Or will another idol fall?

To me there is a far more important question. Why do we put these athletes on pedestals in the first place? Think about it. From the second a little boy or girl shows that they may be athletically gifted, their parents, teachers, coaches, and peers treat them differently.  The older they get, the more special attention they receive. Why?  What is it about someone who can throw a football, kick a soccer ball, hit a baseball, shoot a basketball or a hockey puck that makes them so special? Why do we care?

And why are we so surprised when they act out? Or when they think they deserve special treatment? Or when they develop entitlement issues? Or when they think they can get away with anything? Or when they do get away with so much reprehensible behavior on and off the field? Or when they refuse to be held accountable for their actions?

Sure the athletes who reach the top of their respective games put in a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice a lot to get there. Sure they put themselves at risk in order to entertain the masses. Sure they provide a welcome distraction from the daily grind. And for all of that, they should be admired — but not idolized.

As Charles Barkley once said, “I am not a role model.”

Neither is Peyton Manning.