Remember the Kenny Roger’s song, “Coward of the County”?
“… Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done.Walk away from trouble if you can.It won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek.I hope you’re old enough to understand: Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man …”
I grew up with those lyrics. And many similar “story” songs by the likes of Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Millsap, Marty Robbins, Roy Clark, The Statler Brothers (yes, we’re talkin’ County AND Western here folks). To this day, I love that kind of music — of course most of these aforementioned artists were singing their tales of woe long before music videos became mainstream, and I think, that perhaps I liked the genre so much because my brain had to fly off on a tangent and create the characters in my imagination … similar, I suppose, to writing the fiction that I do now.
But, unlike the father’s suggestion in “Coward of the County”, when faced with the fight or flight decision I typically have not been the one to turn the other cheek. No, usually I have been the fighter. I have tried, over the years, to learn the difference between the good fight and the bad fight, to recognize what’s worth fighting for and what’s not, and I try to ignore intentional provocations. But sometimes, the irrational side wins out and I succumb to fighting a bad fight.
Once, not all that long ago, I let a “provoker” needle and needle me until I was backed into a corner so deep my conscience wrapped me with battle armor and forced my hand. And unfortunately for me, in my rage of fury I did not spit out the wise words I had intended. Instead I stumbled and let anger take over and my wrath was not as poignant as as I’d liked it to be. Dramatic, yes. Heart wrenching, no.
Still, I don’t regret having, shall we say, “flown off the handle” — because …
… there are times, when the risk of making a fool out of one’s self is the far better choice than standing with one’s back against the wall …
“I promised you, dad, not to do the things you’ve done.
I walk away from trouble when I can.
Now please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheek,
And papa, I sure hope you understand:
Sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man.”
Today’s post inspired by The Daily Prompt: This Is Your Song — “Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.”