Like many of you, I receive my share of spam emails. However, this past Monday I received hundreds of emails from “different” people loaded with the exact same letter with the subject line “STATUES MUST GO.” The letter was referring to Steve Russell’s “Cultural Interface” sculptures planned for the south end of Little Bay.

In a nutshell, some company or person set up a way to send mass emails to a lot of people containing the same letter that wasn’t even accurate.

This action pretty much reminds me of people who sit on their tails, contribute nothing to society, and/or live on Facebook and other social media sites.

Less than a year ago I quit scrolling through social media and turned off almost all alerts, and I suggest you do so, as well. If you can’t do that, you probably have some issues.

I also started getting Word of the Day emails, but they are pretty cool. One can actually expand his or her vocabulary with those emails.

With the aforementioned thought about Facebook and social media, and the Word of the Day email in mind, I ran across this Word of the Day:

“Schadenfreude: The experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.”

If you hang out on social media you see this all the time.

Some of the immature memes mocking Kevin Carruth’s demise as Rockport’s city manager, and some of the verbal vomiting behind public podiums, is, in a word, quite childish.

If the people behind such actions actually counted their “imaginary friends”, they would find their cupboard all but bare.

I can’t think of many people, demonstrating their social IQ for the entire world to see, who will end up down the road in a better place than Carruth.

There are a lot of changes going on in our communities, and there is nothing wrong with that.

There is an organized movement, orchestrated by a handful of people, to rid our community of just about anyone who has served it well, or is above a certain age.

I can’t help but think about the mid-1980s when we were the young guns in the community, seeking change in our community.

The one big thing I remember is the respect we showed those who came before us. That is absent today.

Early in my career there was a situation in which “the powerful banker” in town called me to his office to demand that I run a story, in his words, on the front page, or he would buy a full-page ad to print what he had to say … and he would remember it.

I “respectfully” told his secretary I needed to talk to “the powerful banker” face-to-face.

I was literally shaking inside, because this man, at that time in Aransas County, could have ended my career with a snap of his fingers.

I “respectfully” shook his hand with a firm handshake, like my father taught me to do, looked at him in the eyes, and said, “Sir, I will not let anyone dictate what will be published in The Pilot. Please understand my position on this matter. If you want your story published verbatim in this newspaper, you will have to buy an ad.”

A silence followed that seemed to last for hours.

Many years later, in the last years of that man’s life, I saw him in church.

He pulled me to the side, and recalling that meeting in his office years before, told me it took a lot of guts to stand up to him.

“But, the way you did it, with respect, made me respect you,” he said.

In today’s world it’s different. Ugliness, fueled by faceless social media, won’t end well.

Add to that children and young adults equipped with few actual social skills, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

I close this week with some advice I received as a young parent.

The person told me, “When you’re busy providing your children with everything you didn’t have, don’t forget to give them the things you did have.”

I think more and more people in the world today have never had their decency gene fed, or have learned how to earn lasting respect, power, or influence.

One of my mother’s favorite sayings was, “What goes around, comes around … guaranteed.”

Another one is, “Just because you have the right to do or say something, doesn’t mean it’s right, to do or say.”

Let’s not even address the Golden Rule. That’s too deep nowadays.

Until next week, have a good week!

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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