Everything was going fantastic. One of the best days so far in what was turning out to be a perfect week. The marketing had begun for a talk I’m doing for a local tech group. I got some awesome projects lined up and even more amazing people to work with through these endeavors. My team had gone out to a pretty good restaurant for lunch where I learned more about the African American gentleman and the two Indian women, one of them my boss. I remember feeling how lucky I am to be on such a diverse team of smart people in technology who are passionate about business, tech, movies and family.
The weather was warm and the sun was out, furthering the illusion that Winter was coming to an end in Columbus Ohio. Walking outside I chose to skip the department happy hour in favor of going to the Y and donning my, now dangerously in need of washing, running clothes. Even the run was great. While I’m building back up to longer distances to prepare for another race this one felt strong. Like I could just keep going for a half marathon or longer. I think mindset has a lot to do with that.
The fly in the ointment however was back in the locker room as I was drying off. I was shoving my running shorts, with a grimace, into my take home and wash in acid bag when I heard “fuck that Jew!” I was kind of shocked but no where near this guy. His anger was palpable as he bellowed against some individual whom he thought had maligned the YMCA organization by having a financial stake in it. That he was, somehow, “cutting my dick in half” or “just fucking me.” His anger smelled worse than my running shorts.
What made me curious though was that he proclaimed that he was a Christian. That he was not, in fact, “anti Jew.” Websters defines anti-semitism as “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” So contrary to how this individual wants to portray himself, he was in fact an excellent representative of this hateful group of people… and as far away from Christian beliefs as possible.
It made me think of the phrase “locker room talk.” I’d like to think that we live in a culture that honors everyone as free thinking individuals with rights, families, goals, hopes and dreams. The reality however is, well, something else. While I didn’t interrupt the hostile guy in the isle across from me I knew I’d write this in protest. There is no room for hate in any form of dialogue. Be it while wearing a suit, jeans and a t-shirt or buck naked towling off with a buddy after a workout.
While he was motivated by his anger… hate is hate. That’s the thing that we need to change. Really root out like a cancer and replace it with understanding, compassion, (for God’s sake) etiquette, and hopefully some laughter.
And now I need to get back to my awesome week with great people who I look to for inspiration, hope and friendship. It’s also chest & triceps day so I will be back to the Y over lunch … hopefully I can run into someone and have a conversation about something positive to counter balance the negativity oozing out of the locker room.