Above: Walk slowly and carry a big shell. Photo by Yegor Denisov on Unsplash

Hundreds of years from now, when historians talk about us, they’ll refer to us as the soft-skin era, the time when we reverted to non-verbal and non-threatening hand signals to avoid any potential offending of someone, according to someone else, not the actual person who should be offended.

Who are these advocates for those who are may be or may not be offended? Should we all seek such advocates?

If we don’t need one, then why are they so readily available and why are they from places so far from the supposed conditions of the group they are speaking for? Is Karen from a gated community in Alpharetta a qualified advocate for changing the name of the Washington, D.C., football team, which now is named “The Washington Football Team?”

See? It has already started. They’re afraid to name the team for fear of offending someone. How much time did Karen spend in the Native American community, or did she have an epiphany, a sudden revelation that came upon her during her wine-and-book club meeting?

Why does a turtle have a thick shell? Because in days of old, even before disco, when they didn’t have a solid shell surrounding them, they were eaten. The shell evolved from the experience of knowing what the heck happens without one.

Okay, maybe not the best example. But point made. Where are we going with all this? Quite simply, we need to be offended occasionally to keep our thick skin thick. Otherwise, years from now, we’ll be a nation of harmless twits, dancing around in our comfortable non-threatening metrosexual attire to pan flute music. In the meantime, the terrorists, or worse, zombies, will simply walk right in.

Put two cops in a room and a war story will evolve. Such was the case recently with a group of people — some I knew, some I didn’t — at a lunch. One of the other guys was a police officer and soon we began to swap a couple of stories.

Mine was about a couple who for many years engaged in alcohol-fueled fighting each and every weekend, taking it to new levels each week. One story had to do with her trying to set him on fire one late Friday night.

In the middle of the story, one of the other attendees, probably named Karen, said: “I’m offended. You’re telling a story of domestic violence like it was nothing.”

“Yes, a story. Not advocating it, just telling the story based on experience, something that happened to extreme, but it happened.”

“Still, you shouldn’t tell it.”

“So, erase it?”

“Yes, if I were an officer, I would never tell any story of violence.”

“Well then, I speak for many when I say that I’m thankful.”

“Thankful for what?”

“That you are not an officer.”

“I’m offended by that.”

“Of course, you are.”

It is impossible to wipe the slate clean, to pretend something did not happen, but we cannot erase the past. If we could, disco would never have happened.

We can be productive and observant and respectful of others without this saturation of political correctness shoved down our throats. Let’s take it a bit at a time, but humans are made to be tough. Like an engine that needs to be run occasionally, we need to have something thrown at us once in a while to see if it still bounces off. We need thick skin.

We need to be respectful of others, but let’s balance it out with the fact that we are human and, as such, flawed and prone to an occasional stupid comment. There is no need to go all “Karen” and embellish each stupid mistake into a national tragedy.

Why don’t we combine our flying the flag of correctness for others with a goal of getting our own houses in order first?

Start from inside and work out. Once we realize there is plenty of work to be done in our own lives, we can then move on to finding a productive, non-intrusive, non-threatening, gluten-free name for the Washington Football Team.

Steve Rose

Steve Rose is a retired police captain and a contributing writer to Atlanta Senior Life.