Of Pucks and Drunks
Dear Margo: I’m a huge hockey fan, probably because I adored Peter Forsberg. I used to attend games with my father, but when he died, it hurt to think of being there without him. Recently, an aunt invited me to go with her. I was pleased and offered to pay for good seats, but she insisted we sit in the nosebleed section and she would pay. Margo, I hate those seats, and not because you can’t see, but because the fans are drunken brutes. But hesitantly, I agreed.
The night of the game we sat near four college boys who drank more and more as the Avs lost. They were rowdy and crude, and they screamed a lot. Then they disappeared for a while (getting more alcohol, I assume), and a family came in and asked whether those seats were free. I told them no, and that they should keep their distance because the men sitting there were pretty drunk and belligerent. They heeded my advice and sat a few rows away. Well, sure enough, the drunks came back and noticed the family. One of the little boys was wearing a jersey from the opposing team. The college boys swore and yelled and said loudly they should throw the kid over the glass into the lower seats.
This seems to come with the cheap tickets: complementary drunk jerkwads screaming obscenities. I feel like I should have told security. Does security handle this sort of thing often, or are these just sports guys being sports guys? In Colorado, at least, it’s always like that, so maybe it’s the norm. How do you defuse such a situation? — Cringing in Colorado
Dear Cringe: First of all, hockey is anathema to me. The one time I went to see the Blackhawks, I watched for a while and blurted, “My God, they’re on skates!” It is a violent sport, so I’m not surprised the spectators are prone to getting blotto. My guess is that security does handle behavior they deem unacceptable, but, as you say, it may be the norm and therefore “acceptable.” The answer for you I would think is to stay out of the nosebleed seats. — Margo, puckishly
Wondering ‘What If?’
Dear Margo: A philosophical sociological question for you: Is it wrong of me to think our culture might improve if, when one has caused harm, we had the suicide ethic of ancient Japan? — Moose
Dear Moo: I must admit this thought has occurred to me, as well. Too many people, most often in business or government, have overstepped so egregiously to enrich themselves or to accomplish an evil goal that, on a moral scorecard, the only appropriate compensatory gesture would seem to be to check out. The reasons this will not happen, however, are 1) this was never a part of Western culture, and 2) often the miscreants have rationalized their actions so they feel neither shame nor guilt. (Hence the popularity of the “victimless crime” defense.) The old standby of “everyone does it” has also diluted any sense of accountability.
Occasionally, even now, an Asian businessman who tanks a company will take himself out. (“To fall on one’s sword” at one time was, literally, the way an Asian took responsibility for an action about which he felt guilt and remorse.) I can live without people falling on their swords as the ultimate apology, but it would be nice if people who had blundered disastrously or clearly violated trust — public or private — would offer a mea culpa and make a stab at reparation. — Margo, wistfully
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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