Tyrades! By Danny Tyree
Last year I wanted to smack myself for missing the chance to write about the Kacey Musgraves country song “Follow Your Arrow.”
Luckily, Musgraves has now released the similarly themed “(Mind Your Own) Biscuits.”
Both the former (about the futility of changing to please others) and the latter (about the futility of trying to judge/ change others) follow in the tradition of crowd -pleasers such as “Mind Your Own Business” (Hank Williams, Sr.), “Family Tradition” (Hank Williams, Jr.), “Long-Haired Country Boy” (Charlie Daniels) and “Garden Party” (Rick Nelson).
All of these songs have a point to make, but our disdain for prudes and busybodies can tempt us to give the points too broad an application. Although some songwriters tend to pander to the “rowdiness is next to godliness” set, please think of this column as a corollary rather than a rebuttal.
Following your arrow/dream/urges is a bedrock part of America, but the principles espoused in the aforementioned songs cannot be treated as absolutes. If your “thang” happens to be running the state’s biggest meth lab or setting a record for drugging and raping coeds or shooting unarmed suspects in the back, obviously there is a problem.
True, countless personal choices have absolutely no impact on anyone else. But we live in an interconnected world. If your actions do affect someone else’s property value, insurance premiums, tax bill, sleep patterns, etc., they’re entitled to an opinion. (“I’m fine with your biscuits, but if I have to pay for that unplanned ‘bun in the oven’…”)
Sorry if I’m going out on a limb here. Ignoring the elephant in the room has such a proven track record in families, business and politics!!!
Discernment and acknowledgment of nuances are virtues to be valued above knee-jerk reactions. There is a vast difference between (a) using high-powered binoculars to gather bedroom gossip and (b) stating firmly that you will not let your six-year-old child pay a return visit to a home where loaded high-powered firearms are left lying around in the open.
The adage about not judging a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins usually applies, but you could try out the entire shoe closet of some people and not come close to justifying their wrongheaded actions.
Granted, some societal problems arise from arranged marriages or being forced into an ill-fitting career path. But headstrong, impulsive, self-centered actions account for vastly more of the business for drug rehab programs, battered women shelters, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, jails, prisons, loan sharks and the like — in spite of the ubiquitous “And I turned out okay!” mantra.
Maybe you never signed on to be a role model, but that’s just part of the human condition. I never signed on to get callouses from continually biting my tongue. Let’s meet in the middle.
Always examine your motives. If you’re giving advice, are you really trying to be helpful? If you’re receiving advice, are you rejecting it for good reasons or because you have a chip-on-the-shoulder response that everyone who disagrees with you is a hypocritical hater?
The wishy-washy think their relatives, friends and co-workers are ALWAYS right. The hardheaded think their relatives, friends and co-workers are NEVER right.
If we could all develop the common sense and intestinal fortitude to judge life’s events on a case-by-case basis, life could indeed be gravy.
©2015 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.