No. 763



Several weeks ago a newspaper reporter came to my office to conduct an interview for a feature article about our “Bookcase for Every Child” project. During the interview, one of the questions she asked was, “What makes you mad?” Without a moment’s hesitation I said, “People who are unkind.”
While I am usually pretty good at keeping my emotions in check, I get angry when I see other people deliberately being unkind to others they come across, whether it’s a member of their family, an employee, a co-worker, a competitor or maybe someone they don’t even know. To my way of thinking, we have far too much incivility in our country.
Of course there are many other things that make me mad, like cheating or taking unfair advantage of others, but here again, I try to keep things in perspective and try to give others the benefit of a doubt.
Now this question please, “What makes YOU mad?” Have you ever thought about this? We should not go through life being mad or angry, because that is unhealthy. However, if we do get mad from time to time, let’s get mad about the right things.
This is something I thought about when I received an e-mail from a friend the other day. It was titled “2010 College Football Scouting Report.”
It begins, “Well folks, it has arrived…the 2010 football scouting report! The following report is making the rounds of Division I college football coaches: Texas recruit- Wayfron P. Jackson, 6’ 6”, 215 lbs. Wide receiver. Hottest prospect from Texas in the last 10 years. Loves rap music. Will demand a mini cassette in his helmet. Currently holds world record for most “you knows” during an interview (62 in one minute). Wayfron can print his complete name.
Florida State recruit – Cletis Quinticious Jenkins: 6’ 3”, 220 lbs. Running back. Set state scoring record out of Triton High School, Dunn, N.C. Also, led the state in burglaries, but had only nine convictions. He has been clocked at 4.2 seconds in the 40 dash with a 19” TV under each arm.
Ohio State recruit – Roosevelt “Dude” Dansell: 6’ 1”, 195 lbs. Running back from Tyler, Texas. Has processed hair and imitates Billy Dee Williams very well. Before he signed his letter of intent, he wanted the school to change colors to chartreuse and pink. Listed his church preference as “red brick.”
Southern Cal recruit – Tyrone “Python” Peoples: 6’ 10” 228 lbs. Wide receiver. Has a pending paternity suit and two rape trials, but hopes none of his other nine victims will file charges. Tyrone has already signed letters of intent with six other colleges, but was also willing to sign with us. Thinks Taco Bell is the Mexican Telephone Company.”
There is more, but you get the idea. When I read this it made me mad, not because it did not have merit but because of the people who had failed these “fictional” but, all too often, real individuals during their childhood. This scouting report was obviously a put-down of super star African-American high school football players. During the interviews after a big college game, I think most people listen to see if the star players, especially African-Americans, are articulate and well spoken and many are, but unfortunately many are not.
When you think about the earlier examples, just think about the people who failed them, starting with their parents, their teachers, and a school system or college that used them for the sake of a winning record or money from ticket sales. We must do better.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)