Monday, February 2, 2009


I caught an old Andy of Mayberry re-run the other night; it was old-time simple, but to me it seemed the writers of that episode had seen into the future.
Andy was concerned that Opie and his buddy were fighting too much and playing games that involved wrestling and fighting; they just weren't being nice enough to each other. The same for two of Andy's friends, a married couple who seemed to be always verbally jousting.
Andy knew Opie and his buddy really cared about each other; so did the married friends. But he decided to make things better, counseling and overseeing that they always be nice; never hurt each other's feelings; withhold all angry or confrontational words...
Andy's well-meant interference spoiled both relationships. The young married couple became distant with each other and also seemed annoyed with everyone in town. Opie's friend decided it was no longer fun to play at Opie's house. Too many rules. Too much outside inference. An absence of spontaniety and natural ease between friends. Loss of the natural give and take... No real playing...
Over all, it seemed as if the writers had foreseen today's tendency to deny young people any opportunity to negotiate and strengthen their relationships in their own ways. Everything and everyone suddenly had to always be "nice." To measure all their words and worry constantly about saying the wrong thing.
It made me think about today's "conflict management" in the schools. It doesn't seem to work as well as the old way of letting the kids negotiate the "sticking points" themselves.
On the same track, today's overdone "political correctness" seems to make it hard for us to communicate with people who are different from ourselves, for fear of saying the wrong thing and having our intentions misjudged.
All in all, it keeps us from truly getting to know each other and forming an honest friendship.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) says "RATS!" to all that. Let people be people without the social engineers coming between us, despite their good intentions.