Once again (I think this makes three times) a visit to the local Alexandria 7-11 on Quaker Lane yielded a spontaneous ethics drama.
As I was about to get in line to buy a bag of Bugles and some vile tobacco products, two men began shouting at each other. A father with two young boys became upset that the other man was taking too long at the Slurpee machine, and when he protested that he was going as fast as he could, the father told him to “fuck off.”
“Hey, why do you think you can talk to me like that in public?” the man shot back. “You have kids…that’s a great way to raise them. Really? You really think that’s appropriate?”
“How I raise my kids is none of your business,” the vulgar dad replied.
“You have no class at all, buddy,” the second man said. “And now your kids will have no class too, and we all will have to live with them.”
I thought there was going to be a fist fight, but after some more back and forth, they went to their respective corners. I was behind the Slurpee neophyte, and I just had to salute him.
“Good for you,” I said. “That kind of public behavior has to be flagged and condemned whenever it happens, or we end up in a downward spiral of rudeness, and living in a nation of assholes.”
The man turned to me and thanked me. “I really appreciate that,” he said. “It means a lot to have some support.”
The duty to confront, and to enforce cultural norms of conduct. He got it. Everyone needs to, and now more than ever.