Words are powerful, use them for good

Rick Lowe

On Monday I (you guessed it) went to the gym. I put my valuables and unmentionables in a locker and took my necessary gym accessories—water bottle, mp3 player, armband to hold mp3 player, and towel—over to a nearby shelf to set down while I strapped on the armband.

I was greeted by someone I’d never met before and in a way that moderately startled me at first: “Hey, what’s your name?” A non-threatening sentence, but as I’m not used to striking up spontaneous conversations with strangers, it’s safe to say that I was taken aback. I recovered quickly, telling the other guy my name and attempting to appear friendlier than I felt at that moment.

You know… it’s not that the athletic, jock-looking dudes intimidate or frighten me by their stature. Maybe they did when I was in high school, but that’s ancient history. It’s more like: as a loner who pursues solitary activities like gaming or writing, I know that the jock/bro stereotypes are often boisterous, wild, a bit too friendly, and would probably rather play Madden NFL Pick-a-year-they’re-all-the-same-game than say, Tomb Raider or Minecraft. It’s an example of incompatible personality traits and likes/dislikes, not to mention the whole “partying” lifestyle, of which jocks are the epitome and me, the antithesis. Whether or not this guy actually fit that jock personality or was simply built like one, I’m not sure—like I said, I’d never met him before then.

That being said, he told me his name, which I’m withholding so he doesn’t get a bunch of people expecting kindness handouts from him. He proceeded to give me what I can only describe as an impromptu two minute pep-talk; I gather that maybe he’d seen me attempt to work out before. I don’t visit GV’s gym on a regular basis. It’s more of a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday thing.

Suffice it to say that I ran over two miles in a half-hour immediately following this little encounter. You remember that stupid little saying parents dribbled out when they got sick of your whining? “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” What a mindless adage, implying that oration and rhetoric are powerless vibrations in the air. Obviously what this guy said did the opposite of hurting me, but what I’m trying to get across is that words are, in fact, incredibly powerful things. You could use them for good or evil; it doesn’t matter. The words themselves have no morals or ethics.

The best part? I wasn’t even having a bad day in the first place. I was a little stressed about the scads of homework I’m thinking about doing and not doing, but that had nothing to do with working out, and otherwise I was in a pretty decent mood. I had my music ready, I was gettin’ pumped about pushing myself to some new heights. Maybe I didn’t break any records today, but… I mean all he said was “keep up the good work,” among other things, and it kind of made my day. You know what, no, I’ve got something better: “This Monday was a very cold day, and this Act of Random Kindness warmed my heart.”

There you go, there’s your Cards-Against-Humanity-mushy stuff for this week. Now get outta here.