People Going Nuts | Mark’s Remarks


My sweet little third graders and their mothers gave me a surprise baby shower when our first son was born. I felt ashamed of myself, because the kids were so excited and all I could think about was how loud and unruly they were.

After having control of them in the classroom all day, this was supposed to be a celebration. Although I was so thankful, I was only thinking about when I would once again gain control. Isn’t that awful?

I was thinking of some of those times (there have been others… surprise parties, celebrations, etc.) and how I felt ashamed of myself for being an old fuddy duddy. Still, I feel like most people expect a degree of good behavior and would have probably joined me in my feelings.

Last week, I saw a news report about an Elton John concert. Being a great entertainer and doing a concert on a “Saturday Night,” Sir Elton invited fans up on stage to sing his hit song of the same name, encouraging them to dance around and sing as he sang and played piano.

One yayhoo decided to start plunking around on Elton’s piano as he was trying to entertain.  He was polite at first, then started spouting a few expletives at the stupid guy, then got up and stormed off the stage. When he cooled off and came back to the piano, he declared “No more fans on stage.” What a shame.

Elton’s an old fuddy duddy just like me.

Michelle and I were watching the Academy Awards recently and Jimmy Kimmel decided to do something trendy that many of the hosts have done in the past: visit with the common man. 

So, he took some of the stars in their finery along with baskets of treats, a big plastic hot-dog that shot little wrapped hotdogs into the crowd, and various other goodies and treats.  They stormed into a movie theater a few feet from the Oscars venue and surprised the viewers who were catching the new Oprah Winfrey epic “A Wrinkle in Time.” (Said with all the sarcasm I can muster; the audience should be glad they were saved from watching).

As soon as the movie audience realized what was going on, they rose to their feet and proceeded to go stark-raving mad. They were practically mauling some of the movie stars, and I saw a couple of them stand back or move away.  They were scrambling over one another, grabbing for the goodies, trying to take selfies and basically showing no sense of decent behavior.  

After a while, you could tell that Jimmy Kimmel was like “OK, that’s enough.” They cut to commercial.

It really isn’t just kids.  Many years ago when I first moved to Columbia and was a new teacher, I attended a chorus concert with several young kiddos, their parents and families. I was amazed and appalled at how loud and rude the parents were.  After their children performed, I guess they decided they didn’t need to sit and politely listen to the rest of the concert. 

I’ve never attended such an event. It was really unbelievable. I think my biggest problem with the whole thing or indeed, anytime adults are being ill-mannered, is that their children are watching. No wonder there’s a whole generation coming up who doesn’t give two craps about good manners. (Is it good manners to say “two craps?” Probably not.)

We’ve seen it all over. Baseball games, scrambling to claim the foul. People at sales or lining up to be the “first” at something. Raving lunatics.

I ask myself how I would act at the movies if Jimmy Kimmel walked in with actors toting Oscars and shooting out hot dogs, or if Elton John or any concert performer asked me on stage.  

There is a possibility I’d act like an imbecile and make you all shake your head.

I guess we all have it in us.

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