Monday, June 27, 2011

The Other Side of Valor

As a kid, one of the pieces of advice I recall getting from my father was his own take on the old adage about discretion and valor.  Dad used to remind me that, "stupidity is the flip side of valor."  I filed that away right next to his #1 Rule of the Playground, "Never write a check with your mouth that your hands can't cover."  He was not a high-quantity font of paternal advice but qualitatively, I reckon he more than held his own.

I wonder though if here in the information age, Dad's advice holds up.  I think that no longer is "stupidity the flip side of valor."  Rather, it appears as if anonymity is.  We live in an age in which expression of thought is available to essentially everyone and at no charge.  I take full advantage of those two facts on a daily basis in this space.  Countless others do likewise.  And here, contrary to what I might think in my moments of most deluded grandeur, all that is expressed is one man's opinion.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  But it is an opinion to which I sign my name.  Every day. 

No one will ever mistake me for being the halcyon of righteousness or the prism through which the the actions of others should be viewed.  Trust me when I say that it is a mistake I never make - and if I am not inclined to venture there then no one else should.  Yet, I think that on this issue there is a reasonable likelihood that I am right. 

The Internet has created a whole new, more virulent strain of beer muscles.  Now, instead of liquor being the intoxicant it appears as if anonymity is.  An individual can hide on-line either through the use of a screen name or simply through complete anonymity and say things about another that one would likely never have the intestinal fortitude to say face-to-face.  The utter absence of courage should be enough to shame adults into acting their age but of course it is not.  Rather, it is business as usual.  It happens so regularly that sadly - and pathetically - it is not surprising. 

I am more than a little proud to say that it shall never be business as usual in this little rest stop on the information superhighway.  Blood may be spilled.  Feelings may be occasionally tweaked.  Occasionally, a nose may end up out of joint.  If and when that happens, then you will not have far to look to find the object of your consternation.  He will be right here.  As he was yesterday.  As he shall be tomorrow. 

Happiness is being easily found after all; right?  Well, perhaps not.  But at least it is not cowardice.  And that counts for something.


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