I’ll Open the Door for You – Whether You Like It or Not

This may come as a shock to you, but I do not make a living as an author.

In fact, right now, the income from the sale of my books is right at the point where it buys my gas, treats me to the occasional night out, and is a minor nuisance at tax time. Which means I am forced to work a full time job in order to maintain my extravagant lifestyle.

I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s only a matter of time, and I’m patient, but that’s not what I’d like to talk about today.

My thoughts today are related to the aforementioned day job.

As part of my job I am required to attend mandatory training sessions every now and then. In my case most are job specific, but some are more generic. Case in point, about three years ago every employee in the organization was required to attend active shooter training – where we were taught what to do (and not do) should a gunman go on a rampage in our building. It was quite eye opening, as well as a sad commentary on the evolution (or lack thereof) of our society.

In addition to learning how to survive the unthinkable, that particular class resulted in the writing of my novel 24 Minutes, but that’s another story.

My most recent training session was entitled “Ethics in the Workplace” and it was taught by a “business ethics expert.”

Ethics are defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

I find the use of the word moral in the definition interesting, because ethics and morals, although often interchanged, are not the same thing.

A more in depth investigation tells us that ethics are “rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in religions,” while morals refer to “an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong.”

I learned an easy way to differentiate between them from the TV show NCIS, where medical examiner Donald “Ducky” Mallard explains it this way;

An ethical man knows it is wrong to cheat on his wife, a moral man just wouldn’t do it.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really jazzed about having to spend four hours listening to somebody lecture me about ethics since I like to consider myself a fairly ethical (and moral) person. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, the training was mandatory so…

Contrary to my expectations, the class was not only informative, but also entertaining.

The speaker, let’s call him Bill, shared dozens of stories to illustrate how all choices, regardless of intention, come with consequences – a topic I related to quite easily since several of my books address that very concept. In addition, he illustrated how easy it can be for a person to cross the line from the ethical to the unethical.

There was, however, one anecdote he shared that didn’t sit well with me, and I still question how it relates to ethics.

The short version of the story is this;

While enjoying a night out with three friends, two male and one female, Bill and his party returned to Bill’s car where he proceeded to open the car door for the woman. She took offense to this and let him know she was perfectly capable of doing it herself. Her issue was this; regardless of his intentions and inbred gentleman’s instincts, he had “taken away her power” by insinuating that she needed special treatment. Basically, he was being a sexist.

What a load of fertilizer.

For the record – I support women’s rights completely. And as I stated earlier, I feel that my moral compass is pretty strong, and I definitely do not see myself as a sexist. So much so that I refuse to patronize Hooters restaurants (and their ilk) because of their corporate policy of objectifying women.

I also consider myself a decent human being – therefore, I would open the door for another person…man, woman, child, black, white, gay, straight, bi, trans, Jew, gentile, democrat, republican or vegan.

Not only is it the sort of thing my mother taught me to do – it’s also common courtesy and politeness.

Here’s what’s sad…the active shooter training, while graphic and frightening, didn’t really shock me. Learning that I was violating somebody’s rights by opening a door for them did.

Are we really getting to the point where, in order to be ethical I have to violate my own morals?

I don’t know how we arrived in this back alley of The Twilight Zone,

but here we are. If you try to be nice, you’re still doing something wrong.

Talk about a no-win situation…double-edged sword…a slippery slope.

Pick your metaphor – it all comes down to the same thing – somewhere along the way things got out of hand. We became more concerned with being legal than being good.

I’m sure there are some who may take offense to my position here.

Too bad.

If you think I’m a bad person, or that I’m violating some ethical code because I held the door for you, it’s you who has the problem, because when society takes a dim view of being nice to each other – anything that follows can’t be good.


As always – thank you for reading






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17 responses to “I’ll Open the Door for You – Whether You Like It or Not

  1. Well said, Tim. I’m with you 100% on this.

  2. I open doors for men all the time. If I am first to the door at Cracker Barrel, I open the door until the next person grabs it to hold it open. Fuck ethics. I am a nice person and if you can’t deal with that’s your problem. I am also a hugger, like “creepy Uncle” Joe Biden. I have pretty good intuition and won’t hug if I feel you being withdrawn. But I will hug you right in front of your girlfriend if you give me a reason to share the love. GF can kiss my a**. Greg retires on May 30th. He plans to go around and hug everybody on his way out the door.

  3. I’ve typed, erased, then re-typed so many different comments and in the end the best I can say is… THANK YOU!

  4. I appreciate it when men hold the door for me as I would do for anyone. The attack on women’s rights over the past two years is reigniting the women’s movement so don’t be surprised to find attitudes reverting back to the sixties. I don’t think bra burning is out of the question.

  5. Well, the instructor’s White Privilege and Inherent Inborn Racism was certainly showing during that ethics class. While it is WRONG and MISOGYNIST to open / hold a door for a White Womyn, not doing so for a Black one is just plain RACIST because you’re not removing your RACIST WHITE PRIVILEGE.

  6. I thought I was one of the only people who felt that way about Hooters (… around here anyway) 😄 thanks for that!
    And Thank you for always opening doors 💕

  7. Sigh – I remember the day, in the late 1970s, my dad arrived home, with his dander up – seems he had opened a door for a female and had received a version of the spiel you just shared – I, as a woman, have been on the receiving end of this spiel, when offering door, package or lifting assistance to one older than I, less physically able than I, whatevs –

    I still think about what Dad said and more so, as our contentious, divided society grows in it’s incivility or brutal coldness/always say/do something that is so neutral, in the end, what you said/did, means nothing at all –

    “I open the door for another human being – as a sign of courtesy, respect or to be helpful – not because I believe another incapable….” He taught me and I raised my sons, via the same general thoughts –

    “there are some things I strive to do, in daily life, simply because another lives/breathes” –

    While I’m not a fan of the ALL the Happy-Wappy-Positive-Thinking-Create-Your-Own-Reality crowd of self-help gurus and fans have come up with/adopted/pummeled others with over the decades, I will say this, there are instances where one of their ‘touted to much for usefulness/turns into excuse for doing/saying the unforgivable, when not used judiciously’ sayings, does, in the end, have merit – and I think, applies to this moment in time you shared –

    “You are responsible/accountable for your own intentions, words and acts – however, you are not responsible/accountable for how those things ‘land/are perceived by others” and “Well! That says more about them than about you…”

    In the end – so many, for so long, have been oppressed by systemic issues, and lead by those who call for peace, but presume to lead through telling their followers who else is ‘to blame’ that we, as a whole, seem to repeat history – instead of addressing the system that needs fixing, we instead, turn against individuals or ‘groups’ also struggling within the system that, in the end, isn’t working for most, but better for some than others – –

    My son, a white, blue-collar, working male in his 20’s encounters these kinds of things everyday – he says nothing – because he’s learned – he’s a white male, in his 20s, and a millennial, thus, his perspective is ‘entitled’ and worthless – – sigh – sigh – sigh
    My heart hurts when I read these things, hear these things from those in my ‘sphere’ – more hurtful and traumatic, if you will, then daily news – i.e. – Active Shooter training – at my last job? at a public space/industry? When this topic became a concern for a few in our very small district/region of employees? My boss at that time said to me, “Yes, I’m sending someone to a class – and yes, they will share at our next team meeting, what they learned, but how, really, can you come up with a plan other than, ‘duck, cover, run’? It’s not as if you are dealing with a reasonable person or signed up training & active duty on front lines of a war zone – ”
    P.S. – sorry for ‘blogging’ in your comments – feel free to delete – my feelers will not be hurt – 🙂

    • I wouldn’t dream of deleting! Thank you for adding your two (or three) cents ! Your comments are always welcome here (it’s a safe zone!!)

      • LOL – thanks – I try to be a ‘polite bloggy pal” but I’m now in full ‘connecting mode’ and if the words of another incites me once more to pondering or to creativity or to networking with like-minded individuals, I regret I am sometimes not a polite ‘guest’ in someone else’s home – thanks for your gracious reply – and my word – you are a fast reader!!!

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