Is it a cow?

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, why would I think it was a cow?

I recently had to take a young lady to court. She was facing some rather serious charges and a review of her family case. When I arrived at the dorm to pick her up she was wearing basketball shorts and a ribbed tank.

“Really? That’s what you’re going to wear?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She replied

“For court?” I was wondering why she thought that was a good idea.

“Yeah, my judge doesn’t care.”

I just stared for a minute. “Go change. I’m not taking you like that.”

Now this particular young lady, likes me and went off to change and wore something that met with my approval, but so many would not have, and moreover, I see young people in court rooms all over my state dressed inappropriately for convincing judges that they aren’t really criminals. I mean really, if you show up for court dressed like you don’t care, or like a thug, what do you suppose a judge is going to think?

I’d like to say that it’s just the kids I work with who have zero respect for authority, yet I’m pretty sure it’s an epidemic. The kids in my neighborhood are walking around with their sagging pants and cursing loud enough that I can hear them from a block away. It bothers me a little. When I was that age, I was no angel. I try to remember that I wandered aimlessly around the neighborhood too. Chatting with my friends, being too loud, or even downright ridiculous. Yet when the forty-year old woman, sitting on her porch stared me down, I watched my language because I just knew she might tell my mom, and then I’d be in trouble.

No such fear from these  kids. They look right at me when they cuss, as if daring me to say something. Okay, fine. I get it. Attention seeking through defiance. So I say nothing. Not one word. It’s just kids being kids, right?

Eventually, construction started right behind my house. An empty lot finally sold and the new house was being built. The workers had a Port-A-Potty set up on the property for their own use. Makes sense. Someone set it on fire. Not once, but twice. The first time it was sitting right under my tree. What if that had caught fire? Can you imagine the damage? This is not the only act of vandalism that has occurred on the property, but arson does seem to me to be the most serious.

So now, I wonder. When those same kids walk by, I have to wonder who set the fire. They look like thugs, they walk like thugs, they even talk like thugs. I guess they must be scholars.

🙂   But because I prefer to leave on a positive note, I will end with a quote.

“Don’t be afraid of small trials. Trees which have been pruned are the finest. Be strong in soul, and generous of heart.”

St. Mary Euphrasia, Conferences, p.425

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8 responses to “Is it a cow?

  1. Some say clothes maketh the man – others would comment that it IS the person that will shine through, no matter of how they are dressed. I too watch annoyed at some of the younger generation who do not care of their appearance, especially in times, like attending court, where it is a given that you should be presentable. It saddens me to see young ones attend funerals or marriages, in sneakers and jeans. Where is the respect? One day where something can’t be worn because heaven forbid it isn’t ‘you’? Give me strength – I am glad there was no damage to your property 🙂 See I leave on a positive – good post 🙂 x

    • I know, right? I’m all for expressing individuality, but there is a time and a place. And ultimately, you have to accept that people do judge you on your appearance, at least until they have something else to go on.

  2. People often say that adults stereotype kids based on their appearances but they actually do it to themselves…they emulate bad characters from TV or movies or videos and then wonder why we think they’re ‘thugs’ or ‘punks’. Like you said, “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” If you don’t want to be stereotyped…stop acting like a thug.

    • Exactly, why do you want to look like a criminal, and what does that tell me about you? Right, wrong or indifferent, it is in our nature to make judgments.

  3. Agrees with your post like the others. I try not to judge by how someone might dress…but it is hard not to. Going out with their friends, I can see that their generation and age almost demands they show their individualness by conforming with all the other individuals …

    But there is also a time and place to dress appropriately. Applying for a job. Being in court. (Admits, for me that is a strange one to write.) Attending a funeral service. Individuality is okay … but respect trumps in my opinion.

    • Agreed. Right time, right place. But please do show some respect. (Not everyone gets to spend as much time in court as I do. Thank goodness, I’m not the one in trouble.)

  4. Its not individuality its actually conformity. I agree, however the images that kids appear to be emulating are drawn from the street, it’s culture and sub-cultures. Should hoods and criminals be better dressed. At least the stereotyping has the benefit of meaning we are better able to see the danger, and yes, make the JUDGEMENT, DISCIMINATION. A lessening of these characteristics, the characteristics of a civilised society have declined over past years.
    So judge more, discriminate more and raise the trouser crutch!

    • Agreed. Sometimes appearance is all we have to go on, so raise the bar and raise the pants please.