The Low Road

The Road Less Traveled



November 20 , 1999

I would like to start by thanking all of you who sent your kind birthday wishes. As my dad always said, getting another year older is better than the alternative. And as I said earlier, I've decided to embrace the whole damned thing. It still seems to be working.

I think there are basically two kinds of people in the world, those that take every opportunity to snipe and bite at their fellow man, and those that take the road less traveled: the high road.

That low road is oh so much easier to take sometimes. Sometimes it's for comedic value. Those nasty comments can be pretty funny sometimes. But they're nasty. Even if the target of your comment is laughing on the outside, unless they're weird, it's got to sting somewhere deep inside. And sometimes you don't have to go too deep to find that stinging place.

I think the basis of the low road is a basic sense of personal dissatisfaction and self-loathing. If you cut someone else down, then you're (at least in your own mind) building yourself up. I have to guess that's what people who do this are thinking.

To me, on the outside though, it only further drives them deeper into the bowels of subhuman behavior.

Taking the high road is hard to do. People can be less than gracious. They can be downright nasty. The question is whether you're going to join them on that low road or rise above it. This is no small feat.

A perfect (maybe) example:

I have this sister. Sister #2. I've talked about her before. She's the psychotic one. Her path on the low road is firmly entrenched I and don't even think she knows it.

A couple of weeks ago I asked her if she liked my new haircut. Her comment: "You look like Martha Stewart." When I told her I was going for Rene Russo all she said was, "Oh."

She could have said, "No, not really. I've seen other hairdo's on you I like better." That would have been OK. It wouldn't have been the low road. She could have said, "Yes, it looks good." That would have been the high road if she thought it looked like shit. Instead she chose to make a nasty comment.

On the face of it this might not seem too nasty of a thing to say, but it was. To you on the outside, this may seem an innocent enough kind of comment. Martha Stewart it not a bad looking woman and lord knows I'd like to have just a piece of her bank account and empire, but the comment was said with the intention of hurting me. I know #2 thinks Martha is a frumpy uberhousewife and that was what she was conveying in her comment.

Before you all start thinking I'm some pansy, ultra sensitive, whatever...I am not. I know the intent behind the comment because I know the person who made the comment. As my sister there is a long history here.

Another thing about the low road: Sometimes people are taking it without being aware. I don't think my sister's intent was to be nasty, but she spends so much of her life being that way she can't be any other way.

Now, I'm not some high and mighty paragon of virtue or anything. Don't get me wrong. I've spent more than my share of time on that low road. But I'm making an effort. I take other people's feelings into consideration. Sometimes it's not worth it just for a laugh.

Maybe this means I'm growing up?

Until next time. . .

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