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-by Anthony Pittman

A Simple “Thank You” Would Do

Sometimes I wonder if I overreact to something I believe happens too often.  That said, it happened again.

It’s a simple act of courtesy.  You pause just long enough to hold a door open for someone a few steps behind you.  You expect a quick “thank you” or at least a nod of the head.  But sometimes, that acknowledgment never comes.  That’s when I shake my head in disgust.

My wife and I were recently on a night out to a movie theater when I held the door open for her.  Niccole, as she always does, said “Thanks, babe.” 

Just a few steps behind was a group of five.  Four women and a man.  I stayed in place, still holding the door open.  Three women gave me a smiling “Thank you” while one was too busy talking to one of the others to notice I was there.  I didn’t have a problem with her.  My issue came with the guy pulling up the rear. 

In all fairness, the man was chatting away on his phone.  But he recognized I was holding the door for the group.  There was no acknowledgment of the gesture with a “Thank you,” a thumbs up, a head nod, or a wink.  (On second thought, I’m glad he didn’t wink).

That’s when I said, “I’ll say it for you.  Thank you!”

At that point, he suddenly had the time to move the phone off his ear, turn around and say, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t see you.”

Liar! You saw me. 

I won’t go into some believing they’re privileged.  That will have to be for another day.  But that was the first thought that came to mind.  Maybe that thought directed toward the dude on his phone was unfair?  But experiences like that have become too common for my taste.  Who wants to be the guy who swings a door open only for himself while little old ladies or dads holding a child are a few paces behind?  Not me.  I have always been one to hold a door for women.  I don’t want to change that, but I’m getting frustrated with the lack of appreciation.

I do not have any stats to prove my point, but it seems like the younger crowd is most guilty in these cases.  Darn, am I starting to sound like the “Hey you kids, get off my lawn” guy?

When I shared experiences like this with a friend a few years ago, he said the person who does not say thank you may be consumed by their worries or distractions.  Maybe they are lost in their thoughts? 

Valid points.  But speaking on behalf of door holders all over the world, we are not looking for cartwheels of appreciation.  A simple “Thank you” will do.  Are we asking for too much?

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.