Tim was always a little bit of a loser. Not that anyone ever called him that. Most people referred to him as ‘meek’, ‘mild’, or ‘reserved’. All of those meant that he wasn’t exactly known to be the life of the party, the outgoing guy everyone wants to hang with, or the man you’d most like to stick up for you in a fight (verbal or physical). Tim existed most days, and lived on rare opportunities.
One day, as he was walking home, a man walked by a bit too close and pushed into him. The man hadn’t done it intentionally – it was a crowded sidewalk and he’d simply moved a few centimeters to the right when he shouldn’t have. But because the man was taller than Tim, and bigger, the push happened to sting a bit, physically. Tim’s emotions had long ago been stung by society, so it wasn’t really any sort of emotional reaction he felt. He did, however, become angry when he realized that the man had made no attempt at apologizing. No small “oh – sorry” or “pardon me” had occurred. The man simply walked along as if nothing had happened, no doubt wondering why his arm felt slightly warmer than it had before. No pain though, so no stopping.
Tim slunk down into his seat on the bus, thinking about the incident. For some reason, it began to make him madder and madder at every stuttering stop and start that the bus made. Finally after 20 blocks or so, Tim was livid and angry to a point that he’d never been before. It wasn’t just Mr. Push-you-over-guy, it was his whole life. It was the fact that he had a low paying job and couldn’t afford a car. It was the fact that his managers regularly promoted others below him to above him, citing vague reasons. It was all of those things. So when the bus lurched one more time, Tim decided not to stop his fist from tapping against the window next to him. In fact, he accelerated it’s arrival.
That’s when the most amazing thing happened. Tim slammed his hand up against the window. But rather than the window pushing back, it began to crack. A long, deep gash began to spread up the window, spidering out into smaller veins of brokenness, until a few moments later, the window shattered, with pieces of glass covering Tim and the seats around him.
The bus driver pulled over, and since the bus was fairly empty, Tim simply told him that he’d been thrown into the window by a sudden stop, and it cracked and shattered. The bus driver called for paramedics, to look Tim over, and within a few moments various cars began to pull up.
Months later, Tim received a check from the city. Seems that if a bus shatters you with glass, prompting you to receive stitches, miss work due to injuries, and subsequently be ‘let go’ because you missed a few days, the city rewards you with several thousand dollars. Of course some of that went to his attorney, but he still sat with a somewhat large chunk of change. Within a few weeks he’d found another job, and life went back very much to the way it had been before the bus incident.
Then one day, Tim saw the man who had pushed him, walking along the street. The rage he felt from that day became more pronounced as they neared each other. Finally Tim was going to stand up for himself. As the man approached, Tim boldly crossed into his path. The man, however, didn’t notice Tim and again pushed past him. Harder this time. So Tim reached down and grabbed a rock, spinning and throwing it at the man. The rock landed well shy and bounced along the ground, while passersby wondered why Tim had thrown it. Enraged, Tim ran to catch up with the man. But even cursing at him on the loud city street did nothing – the noise of the cars and the man’s earbuds killed any effect it would have had.
Moral of the story: Sometimes violence solves problems. Most of the time, it doesn’t.