Sunday, July 22, 2007


I walked into a Malibu restaurant one evening 15 years ago with my daughter.
I noticed, in a booth midway down the length of the place, two couples, one facing my entering & the other with their backs to me.
I overheard the man facing me in the booth remark, “Hey, check out Charlie Manson”.
The other couple turned around & looked towards me, but reacted to their booth-mate`s statement with not enough hypocrisy & knew I had seen them staring, when they pretended to be looking for a waiter.
I ordered my favorite food & let my daughter take her time perusing the menu, like a big girl. Our vegetable salads were brought & I kept looking puzzled, whenever the waiter was near. I finally pretended to be curious enough, & called him over. I asked him if he knew the two couples at the booth, or, if he at least knew their names. When he said, “No”,
I asked him to please go over to them, & explain that I thought they looked familiar to me, & to ask them if they were possibly, the Tates & the LaBiancas.
Diligently, he went over & innocently explained about how they had seemed familiar to me, & if in fact, they were the Tates & the LaBiancas. They had been in 'after dinner' mode, but that quickly changed into, 'let`s get the hell out of here' mode. The man who had brought up Charlie Manson, quickly came over to our booth & apologized profusely & that he was so sorry he had said what he had. I explained that it was quite unfair to characterize me as a leader of killers while I was peacefully enjoying a meal with my daughter. I also told him that the lesson I wanted him to learn was because of the fear ingrained in him, by the ignorance of his tutors, he might one day, miss recognizing a great person, one, maybe maligned, because of deformities, or race or any other perceived affliction.
I apologized for being so cruel to him & his group, but that if I had not, he would never have learned a lesson, from someone so habituated to his kind of remarks. I asked him to please reconsider judging the next person that might be different & even better, to acknowledge that person with a smile, like I was doing now.
All this time the waiter, was keeping busy close by, hanging on every word I said.
The man shook hands with me, apologized again, & left.
As I was taking care of the tab, the waiter came up & explained that he only understood what I had asked him to do, when they reacted.
He told me, “That was too cold, man, too, too cold. What was so cool was how you talked to him, good on you.”
The man, opened a coffee shop at the other end of Malibu a month later & we became good friends.
If you take a card or envelope & hide half of the image above, [left or right] you will see how easy it is to picture the face as a whole. Now do the same with the opposite side & see that it is very easy. You may see two different faces when you do that but viewing the image without the hiding card, it is one face, one person. When you see someone try & look for the other side of what you are perceiving while at the same time trying not to keep a hidden side of yourself.
This image, a composite of a bronze of William Shakespeare & of my reprobate brother, was inspired by something dada sent me.
Keep them coming, dada.


Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Wow Head, great story! I would have loved to have been there, as your response was certainly the right thing to do, given the circumstances. I've noticed as I've gotten older that I'm sooo much more prone to call bullshit on people when they make such remarks. In this day and age, with the current climate of downright rudeness in this country, I think it's the only defense we have sometimes....

Knucklehead said...

You are exactly correct.
If you don`t respond, it`s perceived as OK to carry on unimpeded, & that your seal of approval is applied.
What`s the difference between ignorance & apathy?
ANS: I don`t know, & I don`t care.
Have a short work week.

Family Man said...

Another great post Head. I agree with IVG and you that you've got to call people on bad behavior sometimes.

Nancy P said...

What an imaginative response!

Knucklehead said...

A smackdown with a smile, works wonders, in my opinion & forces the antagonist to acknowledge his misdeed without losing face, a benefit you did not have to extend. The way you talk to someone, makes them realize that you are speaking to their hidden side, one which they may not know yet, but have just been introduced to.
They cannot help but liking that person, for it is they.

Family Man said...

Head you're a very wise man. I've always been of the "kill em with kindness" group. However, when kindness doesn't work, I'm usually too flabbergasted to know where to proceed from there.

Knucklehead said...

Thank you NancyP,
My point at the time was they were rude.
They did not mention even to themselves what a nice young girl just walked in. I could not respond directly but showed that I had enough power to influence someone to do my bidding [the waiter, & I felt horrible about that] just like Charlie [don`t surf] Manson, had influenced those who brutally murdered Sharon Tate & the LaBiancas. That is what had the most impact, the sudden realization that for 7 or 8 mins. they had felt secure in their hypocrisy, a security breached unexpectedly, while I was right there to watch them react, as an overseer. At that point my power over their prejudice was complete, & there was no other way to escape, especially from themselves, but only to confront me. That way it was now face to face, a much better way to discuss affairs.
Btw: I knew at the time I was putting the waiter in the position I did, but knew if he did not understand what he was inadvertantly part of, I could explain, & that if he did, no explanation would be needed.
I also was not seeking any power over anyone, but took the occasion to excersise that same power that everyone has.
"And they all lived happily ever after."

dada said...

interesting image, and very apropos to the tale.

it occurs to me, that you may be conversant with the works of carl jung, whose concepts of duality l've found very intriguing for rather a long time, whether consciously or unconsciously...

the yin/yang that defines his psychological philosophy, tho he does interject ego as the third element, the ordering mechanism that facilitates/enables harmonization of the forces in opposition...and it would appear to be very much at work in your little cafe...albeit, piqued by an external stimulus.

all's well that ends well, eh.

"just as light is needed for darkness, so to is darkness needed for light"

well done, kudos!


Knucklehead said...

Yes I have read some carl jung, but more in the context of ying/ yang.[your spelling is also correct].
I use "id" rather than "ego" because of the negative conotation it evokes in some people.
I had a discussion years ago with a psychiatrist about duality being in conflict with the "id".
She didn`t understand my ideas, partially I think, because of her predetermined feeling of superiority. She was on a one rail track, & couldn`t see she was tipping.
On a light note,
I saw this "Yogi like" guy moaning in pain & holding his mouth.
I asked him what was wrong.
He told me he had the worst toothache ever. When I suggested he put Novocaine on it, he laughed & said, "I transcend dental medication".
ba dada boom

boran2 said...

That's quite a story. Judging the book by its cover. And an interesting photo to go along with it.

Knucklehead said...

Hey Boran2 That`s the canvas I use.
That`s why I was surprised at the size you used.
With my canvases, I can enlarge them to huge sizes, & reduce the brush sizes to pinpoints. Both choices of canvas involve how we apply color to them to reflect the light we wish to create our images with.
If it`s wrong to call your paintings or works, "images", please advise me.
"You can`t judge an apple, by looking at the tree.
You can`t judge a book by looking at the cover
And you can`t judge a lover, by looking at me."

tatudave said...

Hey buddy, you're doing a great job on this site. I'll visit often, and maybe throw in my two cents once in awhile. Keep up the good work. I hope you and Teri enjoy the plumeria and ginger photos we sent y'all. It was nice to see coconut and Iris this weekend along with "One Eyed Kitty" and of course, you and Teri too!!! Wasn't there long enuff to see any of the Flocks of Parrots, but saw a beautiful rainbow over the Pacific as we were puttin' out of your driveway, (hope you caught it also). I forwarded your site address to Veronica, I'm sure she'll love it. See ya soon, PEACE!

Knucklehead said...

Hey Dave,
Teri will flip when she see your gardens, and the Plumerias really surprised me, especially the difference between yours & ours & coming from the same cuttings. Sounds like the cruise up the coast was memorable. My fish were calling so I didn`t see the rainbow.

Man Eegee said...

Great story and photo, knucklehead. Funny, but I automatically took a sheet of paper to look at each side of the composite prior to reading your post. Loved every bit of it.

Knucklehead said...

Hey Manny,
I`m glad you did that.
It`s strange how the mind can let you see things that aren`t there. That`s why I try to see the hidden person inside of all of us, rather than the side we readily see. At the same time,pointing out the side of people they themselves can`t see, hopefully leads to a litte intospection on their part.