2 May 17

Another success story!

“I am writing to thank you for your training. I found myself putting it to use far sooner than I ever imagined!

Last week, my family and I were visiting in-laws, and we were out on the town, walking to several local attractions.

As we walked down a pier, past a row of boats, I noticed a disheveled man get up and start heading in our direction, so as to intercept us. Recognizing this as a danger sign, I positioned myself between him and our group, as to become his initial point of contact, if he intended to engage.

Sure enough, when he got close enough he made eye contact with me and said he needed money. We never stopped moving, and I unhesitatingly, loudly replied, “I’m sorry sir. We can’t help you”

He came unglued!

He began hurling insults and obscenities at me particularly, but we were unresponsive and kept walking. Within a few seconds he exhausted himself, and his tirade deteriorated into a few last gasping sputters.

I believe his anger sprung from the fact that my ‘disengagement tape-loop’ left him no additional avenues to continue the conversation.

Still gasping, he took a few tentative steps in an effort to follow us, but abruptly abandoned his attempt and slowly slumped back to his park bench.

We continued on our way, none the worse for wear.

Of course, I had OC, was armed, and thus fully prepared for any species of escalation, but none materialized. Potentially toxic interaction was stopped before it ever really got started!


Comment: The vast majority of potentially harmful contacts can be adequately dealt with via posturing and verbalization, as we see. But, the entire routine needs to be learned and practiced, and you always need to be prepared for the time when, despite your best efforts to peacefully disengage, the contact goes south!

“In this world, you have to be oh-so smart, or oh-so pleasant. For years, I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”

Elwood P Dowd (played by Jimmy Stewart) in the 1950 feature film, “Harvey”