EddieSnipes.com

Living just east of Crazy

Stupid People?

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Feb• 14•17

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:6

Have you noticed that the roads are filled with stupid drivers? Everyone thinks every other driver is stupid. But not us. It’s ‘those people’. What makes people stupid drivers in our eyes? They interfered with us on some level. The same holds true for the above statement in the humorous picture, “The hardest part of my job is being nice to stupid people.” Who are the stupid people? Those who interfere with us on some level. They may be new and don’t know their job well, or have skillsets that don’t match the roles they are put in.

This may seem like a petty rant, but consider the words of Ephesians 4:29

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

The word corrupt means: poor quality, worthless, or rotten. When I call my co-worker a stupid person, am I speaking that which edifies, or that which gives an image of poor quality?

Here is why this is important. First of all, people naturally rise to the level of the expectation put on them. If you expect good and communicate a positive image, people will both knowingly and unknowingly rise to that image of good expectation. Second, the quality of our attitude is either building up morale, or tearing it down. I cannot expect good relationships when I am teaching one person to think poorly of another. My words build expectations. I’m building a good or bad expectation on the person I’m speaking of, and I’m building up or tearing down the expectations of others toward that person.

Shortly after my high school years, I worked in a warehouse. When someone was hired, our manager, Steve, would come back and say, “Paul is doing a good job, isn’t he.” Everyone would immediately think about what Paul might be doing right. Either directly or indirectly, Paul would get the message that he was a positive part of our team. How do you think Paul responded? He felt good about himself, and he rose to a higher level of work ethic to match that expectation.

Steve was promoted, and a new manager took over. We’ll call him, Jeff. Jeff was the opposite of Steve. His attitude was demanding and he was critical of everyone. He was worried that employees might be getting paid for doing less. He would come back and say, “Is Paul going to cut it? If he’s not pulling his weight, we need to get someone who can.”

Everyone would look at Paul with a critical eye to see if he was doing anything wrong. It wasn’t only Paul that was negatively affected. The team soon stopped being a team. Jeff’s critical attitude created critical perceptions and negative expectations. Production dropped, people quit, new hires struggled to find acceptance, and instead of rising up to a higher expectation, people started worrying about whether others were doing less, and one guy said, “Why bother doing anything extra? No one in management will notice anyway.”

It’s hard to be positive when you are already under the weight of failure. When someone expects you to be a failure, it’s hard to prove your worth. People don’t thrive under negative reinforcement.

The label of stupidity is often that weight of failure. How many people are really stupid? If someone is trying to learn, does inexperience mean they are stupid? Does calling people stupid create good peers and working relationships? In reality, the person who thinks others are stupid is putting demands of perfection on others that the demander also cannot achieve. It is a creation of negativity and has no real value.

Building up will cause people to grow, and eliminate many mistakes. Tearing down will not.

Another counter-productive label of stupidity is when we focus on someone’s weaknesses with a critical eye. Let me tell you the story of Mike. When I was working as a technician at an airline, we had a coworker, Mike. Mike was very slow at doing the things his job demanded. People called him incompetent and stupid. I got to know Mike, and he was a very intelligent guy. It was frustrating to wait on Mike, and he was a drain on our team. The problem wasn’t that Mike was stupid or incompetent. The problem was that the role Mike was given wasn’t compatible with his strengths. He was being forced to use his weaknesses to do the job.

Some people wanted him to be fired. Feeling the pressure, Mike started applying for other jobs in the company, and to my surprise, he landed a very good position. In one day, Mike went from incompetent to exceptional. His new job was a perfect fit for his skillset. The detail oriented personality he had was a poor fit for the fast paced environment of our team, but was an asset to his new role.

What we think is incompetence is often our expectation that someone think or act like us, or to expect someone’s weakness to be a strength. The truth is, if I had Mike’s new role, I would look incompetent. If you have to do something that is outside of your abilities, you will look stupid. What we often call stupidity is actually demanding a duck to run like a gazelle, and demanding a gazelle to climb like a monkey. No matter how much you demand the gazelle to climb better, he will still look like a fool trying to do something he was not designed to do. Contrary to the Wizard of Oz, there are no flying monkeys. And he will look very stupid running around the field, flapping his arms and trying to fly. A duck may roll his eyes and say, “Stupid monkey, flying is easy,” but reverse the roles, and the duck will be the one who looks stupid.

There are two conclusions I want you to take from this. First, don’t let anyone tell you that you are an idiot or label you as stupid because you are branching off to learn new skills, or because you are out of your element. The expert of today, was called incompetent and stupid yesterday. Yet how much quicker the newby will grow if watered with encouragement instead of scorn.

Second, shift your expectation from a critical eye, to a positive expectation. Failures of others is not stupidity. Failures and mistakes are the steps that everyone must brave in order to grow. The hardest part of your job is not being nice to stupid people. The hardest job is to maintain a positive attitude toward others when our expectations are not met. You’ll be surprised at how much happier you will be when you stop being critical of others. You’ll also eliminate frustration when, instead of wasting your energy on criticism, you make it your goal to impart your understanding to the person who lacks what you have learned through experience.

The greater stupidity is to complain about someone’s lack of ability and do nothing positive to help them grow, which will soon be a help to you.

Eddie Snipes 2017

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Humpty the Rock Star

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Oct• 31•16

My parents weren’t fans of cheaply made Halloween costumes. I’d look at the pictures of Superman and beg to buy one of these costumes so I could pumpkin-babylook like that on Halloween. Instead, Mom would decorate me with varying household objects.

One year I was to be Humpty Dumpty. Mom pulled out a pair of Dad’s long-john underwear and grabbed some pillows. I stepped into them and she stuffed me until I bulged. I looked in the mirror and sneered. I wanted to be Superman, not a tick wearing thermal underwear. “You look good,” Mom said. “Everyone likes Humpty Dumpty.”

It was a chilly night, so Mom insisted that I put a cap on my head. “Humpty doesn’t wear a hat,” I protested.

“It’s cold, so you have to wear something on your head,” she said. I pouted. That didn’t work, so I cried. Mom sighed and went to the closet. She returned, pulled off my hat, and plopped a wig on my head.

“Humpty Dumpty doesn’t have hair,” I wailed.

“He did when he was your age,” she said. “Now get in the car if you want candy.”

My cousins were loaded in my aunt’s station wagon, and we piled in with them. None of them had store-bought costumes, but they were dressed like vampires. And they didn’t have hats on their heads.

Aunt Kae drove to a nearby neighborhood and we all piled out with our bags. I ‘accidentally’ dropped my wig in the backseat. “Get back here,” Mom said, and plopped the wig on my head. “You have to wear this or you’ll get a cold.”

I ran to catch up to my cousins and my pillow-stuffed long johns fell down. I pulled them up and ran onto a porch. “Trick or treat,” I said.

“Are you a fat rock-star,” the lady asked.

What? Do rock stars wear long underwear? “No, I’m Humpty Dumpty,” I said.

“Your hair looks like you’re trying to look like the Beatles.” I didn’t know who the beetles were, but I wasn’t pleased.

I ran off the porch and my pants fell down again. I pulled them up and ran toward my sister and cousins. I sprinted up the stairs of a house and felt my pants slipping again. I dropped the bag, pulled them up, and ran to the door.

“What’s with the Beatle’s hair?” the man holding a bowl of candy asked. “Are you Paul McCartney after retirement?”

“I’m Humpty Dumpty!” I snorted.

“I didn’t know he had hair,” the man chuckled, and then dropped a peanut shaped marshmallow into my bag.

Peanut marshmallows were the worse candies to get. “Mommy says he had hair when he was younger,” I said. The man laughed. I didn’t have time to debate the issue. Especially not with someone who gives marshmallow peanuts. The man laughed louder when Humpty’s belly and pants fell to the ground again. I pulled them up and ran toward the station wagon. “Mom! My pants won’t stay up,” I complained.

“You probably need to have them pulled up higher,” she said. Mom grabbed my waistband and pulled upward. I levitated off the ground. “There. That should be better.” I wasn’t sure a Humpty wedgie would do it, but I couldn’t slow down. There was candy to harvest.

Five strides later, my pants dropped again. A group of passing girls giggled. Actually, giggle might not be the most accurate word. They were bent over and wheezing. One of them said something about not being able to breathe. I turned back to the car. Mom wiped what looked like a smile off her face and tried to look serious. “Mom!” I whined.

“It’s okay, Eddie. Just hold your pants up with one hand.”

I pouted. I thought about having a meltdown, but then remembered that lost time was lost candy. I huffed in protest and trotted off to find my cousins. A few houses later, my pillow popped out. Mom stuffed it back in. I grumbled, but there was candy to get. I hit a few more houses and a man said, “What are you? An out of shape member of the Beatles?” I stomped my foot in anger, and the top pillow fell out of my shirt onto the porch. The man laughed and said something about rapid weight loss. I stuffed the pillow back into my shirt, and my pants fell down again. I pulled them up and tried to ignore the man’s rude cackling.

My bag of candy grew heavy, and I panted while trying to hold up my pants with one hand. A very tired hand. Half my pants hung down, and the pillow hung sideways through the gap. I staggered to the next house, hoping it wouldn’t drop out. It did. The man on the porch looked at me and said, “You better slow down on the candy. It looks like you passed a marshmallow.”

Another man on the porch said, “I wish I had hair like that. What are you supposed to be, Ringo Star?”

“I’m Humpty Dumpty,” I chuffed at him.

One man looked at the other. “Does Humpty Dumpty have hair?”

“I guess if he can poop a marshmallow, he can grow hair,” the other one said. They both laughed and then dropped a piece of candy into my bag.

I snatched up the pillow and staggered toward the car. I could only take tiny steps because Dad’s long johns were hanging around my ankles. “I don’t want to be Humpty Dumpty!” I shouted.

Mom put my pillows in the car, and then pinned my top long johns to the bottoms with a safety pin. Unfortunately, she only had two pins. It held my pants up, but I felt a breeze on my bottom for the rest of the night. No one called me a fat beetle from that point on. Instead they kept saying something about a homeless rock star.

Oh the price we kids had to pay in order to get a bag of candy!

Eddie Snipes

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Next Bully, Please

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Sep• 13•16

superheroI didn’t enjoy fighting, but sometimes it’s the only way for boys to resolve their differences. One of my best friends began as a bully that I tired of appeasing. It took two fights to convince him. He was sure the first one was a fluke, plus he had to defend his pride. On the second fight, I managed to land a hit hard enough to break his nose. That ended the battle for good. His dad called my parents and demanded we pay for the ER visit, but after a lecture from my mother about his bullying, and a reminder that the second fight began when he came after me in my yard, the amateur bill collector decided to wave the fee as a one-time courtesy.

A few weeks later, when I came inside for the evening, my mother said, “Isn’t that Dale? You are playing together?”

“Yes,” I said. “We’re friends now.”

Such is the social order of the male. What looks like fighting is often actually male bonding. From that time on, we were inseparable. For the next five years, we did everything together, until his father took a new job and moved away. A few years of long distance friendship soon faded into a fond childhood memory.

My first encounter with a bully was when my friend, Jamie, was running around the monkey bars screaming like a banshee. A rather large kid was in hot pursuit. The playground at E. L. Fiquit school was a proving ground for the Lord of the Flies. No teachers and no rules. Just fun. Especially for those who had fun squashing first-graders into jelly. It was a rough school. One of my classmates brandished a switchblade knife on the playground. How he got it was a mystery. Oddly enough, the big kids never selected him for their aerobic fun. They did, however, enjoy using my friend Jamie for their intramural sports.

I sat on top of the monkey bars, safe from the chaos below, when I heard cries from my neighborhood friend. “Help me, Eddie!” he cried as he lapped around the monkey bars. The brute chasing him was a good foot taller than Jamie. Which also meant he was a foot taller than me. I wasn’t interested in being stomped to a jelly. I vowed to be a conscientious objector. But Jamie kept calling my name. I heard his voice again swirling below. “Help, Eddie.”

After the third cry for help, my brain turned off. I have no idea what I was thinking. Actually, I do know. My mind was blank. Reason departed and I jumped off the bars and landed in front of the two sprinters. My friend ran past, and the gorilla of a kid angled to pass me, but I stepped sideways into his path. He stopped and stared down at me. I don’t think he could read the blank expression on my face – and for good reason, which I’ve already stated.

The kid stepped to the left, and I stepped in front again. He stepped to the right, and I shuffled in front of him again. We Waltzed a few moments at 2/4 time, so I knew one of us was out of step.

The bully looked down at me and sneered. I looked up at him with a blank stare. For several more moments we continued gazing into each others eyes, and then I won him over to the blank side. He blinked, then turned and walked away. Unable to discern my state of mind, he decided that there might have been a reason for my complicated expression and figured it wasn’t worth the battle. Either that, or he was intimidated by my spaghetti legs and toothpick arms.

Our neighborhood was only slightly safer than the school. My next door neighbors were law abiding citizens, but some of the other kids were not quite ready to relax with tea and cookies under the Catalpa worm tree. I was six, and the neighborhood hoodlum was twelve. His name was Daryl. He was a skinny kid, so he probably built his confidence by tormenting little kids. He was very intimidating to our lanky gang of five and six-year-olds. We avoided him when possible, but when he found us, his games were on.

We ran home and told many times, but it never affected him. One day I was catching bees among the clovers with my pals, and the bully showed up. He taunted us, pushed us, and then did the ultimate assault – he took my jar of bees.

There was a game we played – see who could catch the most bees in one jar without them escaping, and without getting stung. I had sixteen bees in my jar, and was leading the pack by seven bees. I had been on a roll! I almost got stung once, but managed to recover and continued to increase my jar’s population. But now my jar was in Daryl’s hands. An hour and a half of labor wasted. That was like, uhm, one-third of my life’s work. And it was hard to get a half-gallon jar. But that poo-head snatched the jar out of my hand and claimed it as his own. I protested, but he threatened to break the jar. I threatened to tell, and he laughed. Then he pushed me down.

I ran to my house to tell. My mother and my aunt were in a serious conversation. I tried to interrupt, but my mom told me to wait. I counted to fifteen and tried to speak again. She told me that they were talking about something important. I waited forever. It must have been at least a minute, then I interrupted again, and my mother said, “Eddie, stop interrupting.”

“But Daryl has my jar,” I protested.

“That can wait,” she said.

I crossed my arms and stomped out of the room. Then something in my brain snapped. That was my best bee jar. “I’m going to get Daryl!” I spat into the air. Then I hunched my shoulders up, balled my fists, and went to find Daryl.

I crossed through the yards behind our rental house and stepped onto the hot asphalt. Daryl was fifty yards away. I didn’t see my jar, but he looked at me and smirked. Then he saw my expression and his smirk faded. I started walking toward him. Daryl picked up a handful of rocks and started throwing them at me. He was a bad aim. I danced out of the way of the few that came near. He hurled until he ran out. Then I charged. He bent down to pick up more rocks. He looked up and saw me closing in, and he began picking up rocks at a frantic pace. I reached him before he finished reloading. I saw the sweat glistening on his bare back. It became my target.

With all the strength my thirty-five pound frame could muster, I swung my arm in a wide arch, and my hand made a loud noise that sounded like a whip cracking a bowl of butterscotch pudding. I hate butterscotch pudding.

My hand felt like a firecracker exploded in my palm. Pain shot through me. Pain, glorious pain. It was the pain of great gain. Daryl dropped to a knee and rocks scattered across the road. He screamed like a cicada having toothpicks shoved under his fingernails. That would be if cicadas had fingernails. A bright red blotch illuminated on his back – a blotch with four fingers and a thumb. Daryl staggered to his feet and started running toward his house, crying out words that could only be understood by the Swedish chef. My arm throbbed, but the aroma of victory was morphine to my pain.

Not long after this, we moved to my childhood home in Marietta, GA. I know this will be hard to believe, but there was a class bully in my school in Marietta. I was playing at recess with my new friends, and a huge kid named Mark came up and threatened to tie our skinny little bodies into pretty little bows. Then he pushed my friend Norman to the ground. Emboldened by my successes, I smirked. I know how to handle bullies. I’ll dispatch of Mark quickly, and then we’ll get back to our games. I stepped between Norman and Mark, pointed my finger in the bully’s face and said, “Mark, you are nothing but a fat pig!”

I heard a thudding echo ringing between the two school buildings around us, and then another strange sound reached my ears. It sounded like the air being crushed out of a half-full milk carton. Then I realized the sound was coming from my lungs as my body wrapped around Mark’s pig-like fist. Strange lights formed behind my squinting eyelids, and I crumpled in a helpless heap at Mark’s feet.

In the distance, I heard Mark’s muffled voice saying, “Don’t you ever call me a fat pig!”

Roger that! I reflected on my choice of words and decided I should be more diplomatic in the future. Big Bird was wrong. I couldn’t be anyone I wanted to be. Superman was off the table. There were other factors to consider. I determined that I didn’t have the stomach for fighting crime.

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Honk if you love Sunrise Services

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Mar• 05•16

I’ve shared this before, but now it’s an Easter tradition. Enjoy the joy of childhood memories!

It was Easter morning. My mother flicked on the light in my room and shook me awake. I tried to bully the sleep from my bunnyroadeyes with my fists, but when I saw the dark purple sky outside,I pulled the covers over my head and rolled over. My snoozing was snatched away when my mother returned, pulled off the covers, and forced me into action.

I was seven years old, and my sister was eight. We dragged ourselves to the car, grumbling about being tired. Easter sunrise service was not as exciting as catching a few more winks of sleep. How could we sing praises to the Lord with a merry heart, when we didn’t even have the energy to sit up? My mother relented, tossed a couple of blankets into the car, and we were off to church.

A piano, pulpit, and the choir gathered behind the church on a precipice that overlooked a pasture. As the service progressed, the sun rose over rolling hills, providing worshipers with a picturesque view behind the preacher.

My mother placed us in the front and back seats as she draped blankets over our lifeless bodies, then joined the choir for the annual sunrise service. There must have been something magical in the way the piano played, for once the music hit our ears, our weary bodies were resurrected with new life.

I’m sure my sister started it. She might tell you otherwise, but don’t believe her. I was watching the service and soaking in the music, when she attacked me. I had no choice but to defend myself. We were locked in mortal combat when my sister tumbled backwards and sat on the horn. It was loud and long. We looked to see if anyone noticed. The windows were now fogged up, so we assumed that if we couldn’t see out, they couldn’t see in.

I dove to the back seat, and my sister followed. We then dove to the front seat. My sister fell against the horn again. Another long blare. I fought to regain control of the battle, and grabbed the only thing within my grasp. It wasn’t the horn. It was the steering wheel. However, as I pulled myself up, my elbow hit the horn and it blasted the congregation again. But that was my sister’s fault, because she was pushing down on me.

We continued to leap back and forth like two squirrels fighting for territory. At last count, we had made twenty-five leaps across the seats, and only four horn blares. Three for her, but only one for me. All things considered, that was a pretty good percentage. Have you ever tried hand-to-hand combat in a cramped car without hitting the horn?

My mother and father weren’t happy. After arriving home, my sister and I weren’t happy. For some reason, my mother wasn’t impressed with the fact that only one horn honk was the result of physical contact with my body. She describes the scene as a car, rocking violently with an occasional blasting of the horn. Like my sister and I, she was also grateful that the windows were fogged up so no one could identify the children inside. Unfortunately, everyone watched my parents climb into the car after church.

I discovered that the car horn was a distraction to the outdoor sunrise service.

I also learned that parents do not enjoy being humiliated in front of the church. When the Easter Bunny came to deliver our baskets, my dad shot him and my mother buried his corpse in the back yard – along with the treats he’d brought for good boys and girls.

Few churches conduct sunrise services these days, but if they do, and you are disposed to go, do not leave weary children in the car. If you do, be sure to disconnect the battery or disable the horn.

Eddie Snipes 2012

 

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Even the Old Testament points to Christ!

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Jan• 26•16

The Ark is a picture of Christ

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