I want to point out that I am not usually an a$&hole, but on several occasions my behavior has been absolutely reprehensible.
The time that stands out in my mind was at a Redskins game. The Skins had just beaten the Broncos and I was ecstatic. As all football fans will tell you, my Redskins stink, so a win is a big deal.
That day I didn't plan on being a jerk, but I didn't stop myself either.
I approached two guys wearing Denver jerseys seated by the club level bar around a little coffee table. They looked unhappy. As I walked towards them a person wearing an Air Force uniform walked by.
I asked the guys who was more badass the Army or the Air Force. They said the Air Force.
This was all I needed to turn into a complete jerk. I was in home territory, so I started talking smack. I made fun of the Air Force, the Broncos, and, at one point, I became so animated that I jumped on the table and proclaimed that this was my house and that they needed to leave.
A middle aged man walked over to calm the situation. The two guys then said something questioning my patriotism. I made a big show about being pissed off then reached into my wallet and slammed my military ID down on the coffee table.
"What you gotta say about that" I beamed.
Then wanting to further my own feelings of power I pulled out my Military Order of the Purple Heart membership card and slammed it down on the table.
"What" I shouted
Then something strange happened, that the middle age man, having witnessed me being as big an a$&hole as I could possibly be, saw my military credentials and proceeded to hug me and thank me for my service.
I walked away after that feeling good in that moment, but have been ashamed ever since.
Why this story, you ask?
Our military training included competitions to keep us sharp and motivated. Our training also taught us to distinguish our side from the 'Other'. This is important for a down range lifestyle, but volatile in a civilian one. This becomes further dicey when you add the fact that our American culture sees us as heroes and true patriots for voluntarily serving our country.
I took advantage of this reality and abused my power, I caution you not to do the same.
The 21th stanza of the Art of Peace, by founder and creator of the Martial Art Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba is: