Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 1, 2013

Thoughtful vs. Thoughtless

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

— As I get more advanced in years, I like to think I have morphed from a lovable, but thoughtless oaf into a grouchy, but thoughtful husband, father, and friend to the masses. Some of my thoughtfulness is a natural product of being nurtured all these years by the glowing aura and gentle guidance of The Little Woman. Conversely, some of my thoughtfulness comes from the hard lessons taught by TLW when I have been thoughtless enough to forget a Mother’s Day, a birthday, or even, heaven forbid, an anniversary.

According to my Webster’s, the adjective “thoughtful” means, “...considerate of others...attentive...careful...sympathetic...” Its antonym “thoughtless” means, “...not stopping to think...careless...inconsiderate...senseless...” I think it is safe to say that we would all rather be considered the former rather than the latter.

Here’s a recent example of my acquired thoughtfulness. Because of the pressures and logistical problems associated with our upcoming move, TLW and I vowed to skip Christmas shopping for each other this year. Truth be told, anything new to be packed and hauled would just add to our already monumental load. Well, I held out until Christmas Eve and then, after TLW went to bed, I wrapped a gift for her and left it prominently on the hearth.

Well, don’t you just know she got herself all worked up and railed on about how I had reneged on our deal and how she felt really bad about not even giving me a stocking-stuffer. Nonetheless, she ripped open the package with her usual zeal and there it was — a coffee mug with a note in it that said, “This is a cupful of love for you.” Now, I ask you, wasn’t than just the sweetest thing? TLW gave me a gold star for my thoughtfulness and then stated, “Mister, you’ve got too much time on your hands.”

How many times, in the springtime, do you get graduation announcements from folks from your distant past who you only swap Christmas cards with? Little Johnny, who you haven’t seen since your kids played dodgeball together is now graduating from high school. Of course, the thoughtful thing to do is to send Little Johnny a congratulations card with a check enclosed. Now, how many times have you received a thank-you card back from Little Johnny acknowledging your thoughtfulness? I thought so! In most cases, the little sucker just cashed in all the checks without so much as a “by your leave” and bought himself a new iPhone, iPad, or iTwitter. Behavior like this is not what is meant by the old adage “don’t give it another thought.” This is just downright rude and thoughtless.

Another trite saying is “look before you leap.” I can relate this to being thoughtful in the most literal sense. I read that the Dallas Police Department has now instituted mandatory training on how foot chases will be conducted. We have all seen how our TV and movie heroes chase the perps down alleys, over fences, into buildings, up stairs, and across roofs. Well, this cowboy maneuvering is all wrong.

Case in point: A Tucson police officer was racing on foot after a hit-and-run suspect. He followed the perp into an alley and, as he cut the corner, he ran into the thug and his gun. He was shot multiple times at point-blank range. The lesson here or course is, always run wide around the corners. Other considerations concerning a foot chase must be visibility, cover, is the suspect armed, and is the area hostile.

Case studies have shown that, in too many instances, young police officers get caught up in the “greyhound chasing the rabbit” effect. This is not good and so the following rules will be adhered to: (1) Do not continue foot pursuit if you are alone and there are multiple suspects. (2) Do not split up to chase multiple suspects. (3) Do not continue the chase if you have lost your weapon. (Well, duh!)

Invariably, when the instructor asks his class this question, “If there are three officers and four fleeing suspects, how many do you chase?” he gets the same two answers. The rookies all say, “We’re going to chase them all!” and the veteran cops say, “We catch one — he’ll tell us where the other three are.”

Here are a couple police related anecdotes about thoughtless (as in dumb) interactions between perps and cops.

When a woman reported her car stolen, she told the police there was a car phone in it. A cop called the number and told the guy that answered he had read the “for sale” ad in the paper and wanted to buy the car. They arranged to meet, and the thief was promptly arrested — without the need for a foot chase.

A motorist was unknowingly caught speeding by an automated speed trap which measured speed by radar and photographed the car. A few days later, he received a $60 ticket and a photo of his car in the mail. Instead of sending in the payment, the clown mailed in a photograph of $60. A few days later, he got another mailing from the police department that contained a photograph of handcuffs. He immediately sent in the proper payment — and there was no need for a foot chase.

May you always give it another thought, look before you leap, run wide around the corners, and have the happiest of new years.

See ya...


Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: