My wife’s birthday fell on Thursday last week, and we celebrated by going to a restaurant near our home in Apple Valley. Linda had had her eye on the place for a while, and when we checked out the website the menu suggested it was home to interesting American cuisine and the photographs of sedate lighting and white linen tablecloths bespoke an ambience of warmth and good taste.
The restaurant lived up to its promise, but if there was a downside, it was most of the other diners.
This was a special occasion, so we purposefully chose the place over, say, an inexpensive “family-style” restaurant or an amped-up sports bar with the 360-degree TV motif. But you would never have guessed there was a difference from the apparel worn by most of the other patrons. Blue jeans (the scruffier the better), tank tops, T-shirts, flip-flops, cutoffs, sweat shirts — you get the picture. I’m surprised I didn’t see some pinhead wearing a baseball cap backwards.
I recall the episode of “The Sopranos” in which Tony took Carmella to an elegant restaurant and, after being seated by a nervously unctuous waiter, Tony spotted a slovenly dressed dimwit sitting at another table wearing a baseball cap backwards. It was bad enough that the imbecile didn’t know enough to remove his hat indoors, but the effrontery was compounded by the manner in which the hat was worn.
The tableaux was made even more outlandish for the lovely way in which the trog’s date was dressed.
My heart raced at the thought of Tony ordering a hit (to me, a mercy killing) on the fool, but after some words were exchanged and the offending diner removed the symbol of his boorishness, Tony magnanimously sent a bottle of wine to the clod’s table.
Restaurants aren’t the only places where bad manners are on conspicuous display. It’s everywhere these days. Places of business more often resemble high-school parking lots than sites of serious work, and even many churches on Sunday look like the congregants were headed to a Twins game and mistakenly took a wrong turn.
My point is that the way one dresses reflects the respect one has for one’s self and the company one keeps, as well as the work in which one is engaged. If nothing is deemed important enough to dress for the occasion, how very banal and monochromatic life will be.
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Would somebody please give Brett Favre a dictionary with the page bearing the definition of “dignity” clearly marked. He seems to have misplaced his several years ago.
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The hottest news video of the week is the Tasing of an elderly woman west of Austin, Texas, by a sheriff’s deputy. The incident was everywhere on the tube, but it seems to have been on a loop at Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and Headline News.
Kathryn Winkfein apparently was going 60 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone in Marble Fall, 50 miles west of Austin, when she was pulled over in her white pickup truck by Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Bieze. A dashboard video camera on Bieze’s cruiser caught the action.
Winkfein not only refused to sign the ticket Bieze issued, but she became verbally abusive. The deputy even had to push her off the road so she apparently wouldn’t be struck by traffic.
Winkfein went ballistic. “You’re gonna shove a 72-year-old woman,” she said angrily, according to the Associated Press.
“If you don’t step back, you’re going to get Tased,” Bieze yelled back.
“Go ahead, Tase me,” Winkfein said. “I dare you.”
That’s exactly what Bieze did.
Not content to have the diminutive great-grandmother on the ground, the deputy yelled: “Put your hands behind your back or you’re going to be Tased again.”
She didn’t comply. Zap! He nailed her yet again.
Winkfein has been charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $4,000.
She said she’s hired a lawyer. Good.
What is so appalling about this episode is that the hulking deputy believed he was unable to control the septuagenarian, obstreperous though she may have been, without using potentially deadly force against her. The disparity in the sizes of the two, not to mention the training Bieze ostensibly received, would have suggested that this incident should have been resolved in a more civilized manner.
Law enforcement is one of the few growth industries in our increasingly policed society. It is clear from this incident, and an alarming number like them, that the use of force is not always the last resort.