On weekday mornings while traveling from lakeside to Show Low, I often pass by a gentleman walking in the opposite direction along White Mountain Boulevard. What makes him stand out it he actually waves at the anonymous motorists heading towards him. At a time regrettably known as “rush hour,” when many drive in the rudest manner, he casually walks along, offering a bit of free and easy kindness by way of a simple, but seemingly genuine wave of the hand. For this reason I have fittingly dubbed him “The Waver.”

I always make it a point to wave back at this fellow, as do some other motorists, many of whom are not exactly looking forward to another day of workplace drudgery. Though when one chooses to wave back, it may serve to ease, at least to some degree, the stress of living in an uptight, modern society where one must always be first, and one must get the best of the other guy.

But just who is the “other guy?” Why, he’s your fellow American!

In recent years, a prevailing lack of civility has created an “us against them”, a “my team against your team” culture, driven by greed and self-interest. While it is truly a small thing to ask, politeness seems to escape most people these days.

As for “The Waver,” he should not the exception to the rule. More than a mere gesture, a wave can go a long way in easing the social tensions that divide us. A sincere smile can brighten an otherwise intolerable day. A hearty laugh can work miracles for those struggling to make ends meet.

Recently, there has been much emphasis on Making America Great Again, the latest of the politically inspired, yet cleverly manipulative buzzwords. However, one must be good first in order to later become great — unless the greatness thus alluded to meets the definition of vastness, such as that of an expansive territory, or that of an immense military power. One can say that the Roman Empire was great, but was it good?

A rebirth of kindness however basic and limited from the outset, is essential order to alter our present course down this “me first” road to ruin. Perhaps we can traverse a new pathway toward real progress by being more like”The Waver.” So offer a wave to a stranger, and thereby possibly catch a wave in return. Such a random act may become the wave of the future.

Mark Slate lives in Lakeside.

(4) comments

che guevara

Terrific editorial Mark , you said an awful lot in a small space , and have shown yourself to be an astute observant of both history and human nature . George Orwell wrote an excellent treatise titled : Politics and the English Language , in which he describes the very issue that you addressed as regards the clever usage of words and terms designed to stealthily craft public opinions , prejudices and mindsets . I highly recommend it for you to read . Also , the demonstrative act of waving itself is believed to have had it's origins in mankind's ancient and primitive past . The body language exhibited by the simple act of waving presented a gesture of goodwill and was originally intended to show someone that you bore no ill will and meant no malice or aggression , as the opened palm and the extended arm showed that you held no weapon in your hand , and came in a passive and / or friendly fashion . In other words , it was a way of disarming another's fear of aggression and harm which might have possibly come from you , especially in the most primitive of times when spoken languages were in their infancy and when demonstration of deeds and appearances overpowered words and language skills . This topic brings to mind that famous song written by John Lennon , and made famous by Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 ; The Fool On The Hill .

johndoe

So true, I say even the "Head nod" to a fellow neighbor is a good thing. Today we are all wrapped up in our tribalism and need to just remember we are all human, we are all here for the pursuit of happiness and never forget, the human mortality rate is 100%. Lighten up and enjoy the wave!

2rusty

What good thoughts! We all need more 'positive' in our lives!

gizneal

I found this quote several weeks ago and have been sharing. Politeness vs Kindness “Manners matter, but at the end of the day, politeness is cold comfort. Politeness is rote memory. It comes from the mind, not the heart. And people can feel that — both the giver and the receiver can sense the shallowness off the interaction. But kindness is all heart. When we are kind, we are sharing the light within us to make another person’s burden a little lighter. Not because it’s the mannerly thing to do. But because it’s a human thing to do. And when we interact with people in this whole-hearted way, it can lift the vibrations of the entire room.” — Dr. Laura Berman Love and kindness is our road to greatness. Have a great day and lift someones spirit, as well as your own, by saying hello.

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