It's a gorgeous morning in the southwest Panhandle
Yesterday a front blew through and it was windy and drizzly, which is an odd combination.
The front passed overnight and the skies cleared. The temperature fell to 29, and at sunrise most things -- cars, fence posts, grasses, road signs -- most things were covered in very light rime ice. You know, frost.
As the sun rose and cast golden rays of springshine across the landscape, which erupted in glorious glitter.
Just like that. Kinda.
Anyway, the question.
Have you ever been called a fascist? To your face?
It happened to me one time. I was giving free ground nesting bird tours on the ranch. A scruffy looking cat with a petulant sneer told me that we were destroying his public land with our cow-calf operation.
Fortunately, I said, we're destroying our own, private land.
"Fascist." he snarled.
He was some kind of lettered researcher at a state college, his salary and benefits package paid for entirely by property taxes. In Nebraska something like 80 percent of property taxes are paid by fascist land owners.
Ironic and amusing.
I suspect the fellow's life was pretty awful.
Anyway, that's the only time I've been called a fascist to my face.
I haven't been called names to my face very often. Aside from the typical kid-on-kid name calling, hardly ever.
It has happened though, and it always stings. Now when it's a stranger, it smarts a bit, but I understand that they don't know me and they're just mad about something and that makes it easier to take.
When it really stings is when it's someone who does know me. That smarts a lot.
Still, I'm in charge of my own feelings. No one else controls how I feel. If I allow the hurt to linger or fester it's all on me. It's not easy to work through hurt feelings, but that's just life. Easy isn't part of the whole life package.
I was talking to a high school teacher one day, not so long ago. She was holding forth on the well known fact that name calling and harsh words are infinitely more harmful than any physical beating. She was really feeling it, the power of righteous indignation and speaking truth to power.
"You teach this to your students, right?" English teacher, btw.
"Oh yes. I have a moral and ethical responsibility to teach them the truth."
A few minutes later she was bashing Sarah Palin. "That firetrucking pig! That firetrucking monster! That charlie uniform november tango is the worst person who's ever lived!"
One thing that helps me with the unendurable and deadly assault of words I dont want to hear is when I think about all the times I haven't been called names. Seen in that light I don't really have a lot to feel hurt about. It's a useful perspective.
And then there are the times people have called me nice names to my face. Those outnumber the bad names by a fair margin.
A bit of Kipling seems appropriate.