Barney Doesn't Know the Difference Between Communist and Democratic Glass
or an essay on respect
by Matthew Rutherford

July 2, 1998

Every so often, I am forced to ask myself the same question we all ask: Just who does Barney think he is? I mean, he's a purple dinosaur with an obnoxious laugh. But that is not the topic of this essay. My topic is something on everyone's mind. You've heard about it, seen it mentioned in celebrity magazines, seen it on TV, bought the action figures, hung up posters, even seen the movie. Now, read an essay about the ever-fascinating topic, disrespect.

I don't mean the Rodney Dangerfield brand of disrespect, in reference to his ever-present lack thereof. I don't mean Archie Bunker's brand, in which he mocked everyone verbally, regardless of creed, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, choice of car models, taste in TV shows, etc. I'm not even speaking of the prevalent form of disrespect found in the modern military ("That will be 7563 push-ups from you, soldier! Maybe then you'll respect your superiors!").

No, I'm referring to something much worse. May I direct your attention toward exhibit A: the disrespect in the packaged form of pubescent punks with gallons of testosterone coursing through their destructive bodies. Act now and I'll throw in a free potato peeler, all for just $19.95, plus shipping and handling.

Yes, today's youth. I love young people. Except when I have to be around them. No, that's not entirely true. I know many fine young people (I was one of them, once). However, there are some among the 13 to 19 age group that, God love them, must have scorpions in their shorts or something, because they have the attitudes of an ornery ox and the hygiene to match it. They hate all authority and scorn establishment (which, oddly enough, their baby-boomer parents did before them, but they all grew up, right?). They have no respect, which is sad. Without mutual respect, this world is reduced to chaos and used car salesmen running amok.

What brings me to discuss the unhappy, nicotine addicted youth of today? Funny you should ask. I was about to tell you. This past Friday night, in a fit of patriotism, unparalleled since the McCarthy era, at least two fine, outstanding youth felt it their duty to destroy Communist windows situated in various window frames around the apartment complex where I currently live. That's the only reason I can come up with why they would feel the powerful urge to run around a peaceful apartment complex chucking huge rocks at windows that COULD have been made in Communist Cuba. Only someone neglected to tell them we aren't afraid of Communists any more.

It was about 2:30 in the morning (I was about to go to bed, Dad). I was ready to go to sleep and was resting on my bed with the light still on. A strange noise caused me to get up again. Moments later, I was startled to hear the crash of glass behind me. My bedroom window, formerly situated directly above my bed until the next morning, fell in pieces onto my pillow, right where my head was, less than ten seconds before, including one pointed shard that was nearly three feet long by seven inches. That would have taken care of any lobotomy needs I may have needed that night. Thankfully, I didn't need any stitches. My roommate, Joe, went running outside to see if he could catch the culprit and my other roommate, Mo, called 911. It turned out four or five other apartments were targeted for similar treatment, but I had the closest call. There must have been at least two young persons expressing their patriotism. I was impressed with their discernment. Frankly, I couldn't (still can't) tell the difference between Communist and Democratic glass. Guess I'm lucky to have these young cretins, er, patriots, around, eager to offer their services.

See the damage here

What a glorious sight! Two police cars and a helicopter scouring the area while several college students wondered what the heck just happened, only coming to an end a little after 3:30 in the morning. Oh, that it could have lasted all night. And I only had to wait half a day before I got a new window. What were these young heathens thinking? What was going through their heads right then? Were they just looking for fun? Or are they from such disfunctional homes that they care so little for others? Why weren't they ever taught respect for others and their property?

I would say I felt a little violated. I would say I am upset. I would say I am bitter, but I suppose I should be grateful, and perhaps even count myself lucky. Had I been Barney, they would have used live ammo.

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