A good shortcut may prevent anarchy
By Ronnie Cameron “Riding through this world all alone / God takes your soul, you’re on your own / The crow flies straight, a perfect line / On the Devil’s Bed until you die.” – Sons of Anarchy theme song, Curtis Stiger and the Forest Rangers.
Parents – pay attention. Important information follows.
How many times have you gone through this routine:
“You get in this house right this instant!”
“Because I said so, buster, that’s why!”
If that weapon hangs about in your parenting repertoire, that means you likely heard it from your parents, because that’s not advice one reads in a progressive tome on child raising penned by some Ivy Leaguer based in Cambridge or New Haven. That weapon has been handed down from generation to generation for eons.
In our defense, there’s more to this instructive imperative than a casual glance might indicate. I write that knowing full well that whenever we barked out that declaration, we were cheating just a bit out of desperation and frustration.
With the help of hindsight, we realize we were attempting to teach our hellions that rules must exist in a civilized society, and with those rules come valid reasons to follow them. Otherwise, there may be anarchy on the playground.
In a heated debate with little people, parents may not wish to delve into philosophical arguments supporting the necessity of following rules, so we take the “because I said so” shortcut. Even though it’s disguised cleverly as a shortcut, it still has important ramifications necessary to function in society.
I miss playing golf. Last strike at a Titleist for me was in 2007. Since then, age and pride ravaged my joints and ego, so the clubs went into storage and shall remain locked away until further notice. It’s possible that I will manage a comeback tour, but it’s certainly not likely given the condition my condition is in.
For most of my career in the public school system, I coached football and golf. I enjoyed coaching immensely, and I miss it. One thing I emphasized over everything else to my golfers was to follow the rules. Golf is an honorable enterprise, and cheating only tarnishes the purity of the greatest sport on the planet.
Many years ago, in my hometown of Augusta, two men duked it out on one of the greens at the hallowed Cabbage Patch golf course over near Daniel Village. Rumor has it that one of the golfers got caught cheating, fisticuffs ensued once the alleged cheater was called out, until one of the combatants brandished a putter and beat the other nearly to death.
That’s why I emphasized following the rules to my golfers. I guess the memory of that unfortunate incident stuck with me.
Let’s examine that calamity and unpack it to see if a lesson lurks about.
First and foremost, I don’t know what rule the man allegedly violated, or if he even did anything illegal or unethical. But let’s assume he did break some protocol of either golf or related etiquette, and that’s what set the donnybrook in motion. With that assumption, we understand why the other person might have called him out in the first place, because rules are meant to be followed, and without rules, we flirt with anarchy.
In an outburst of irony, the incident at the Cabbage Patch occurred because golfer B called out golfer A to prevent anarchy from encroaching on an otherwise civilized sport, but golfer A apparently took offense at being called out to prevent anarchy from rearing its ugly head, and well, you guessed it – anarchy ensued out on the Cabbage Patch.
Take this one step further and see that if the alleged cheater landed the first blow, then he violated two sets of rules: 1) Rules which pertain specifically to golf, and 2) Rules created to govern society at large. In other words, assault and battery with a putter is no way to react to being caught cheating on the golf course.
If it was golfer B who brandished his putter and struck golfer A for violating rules, we can argue that beating a fellow golfer about the head with a Ping putter is a bit over the top. I imagine gambling was involved, but does any amount of money justify that sort of brutish retaliation?
It occurs to me that the Cabbage Patch incident is not a proper lesson to share with wayward toddlers, so maybe that’s why we take the “because I said so” shortcut so often.
Sons of Anarchy makes for riveting television, but our sons and daughters need to steer clear of anarchy, and that merits a clever shortcut now and again.