You like to hang out at a bar. It’s a great bar and you helped design it by imagining the bar where you would like to hang out. You’re proud of what you’re a part of. Your friends come to this bar and talk and hang out and sometimes you have conversations that really help you understand something you’ve been puzzling over. And sometimes you just laugh together. You’ve met lots of cool people when they became regulars at your bar. You really value this dialogue and you really value that your favorite bar is a place where all kinds of people can come together and hang out. Sure, you tend dominate the conversation, but everybody’s fine with that and your whole group tends to have a great time.
Sometimes people lose their tempers, but so far, nobody’s ever gotten kicked out. And you like going to a bar that gets a little wild sometimes.
But lately there’s a problem. There’s a guy who hangs out in the bar named Phil. He’s not like the other patrons. Phil has had a hard life and spends most of his time complaining, blaming everyone but himself for his problems. He can be rude to the other patrons, some of whom he seems to blame for his difficulties, but nobody pays much attention to him. You don’t have any proof the bar has lost business because of him and you remember when Phil had a little hope and didn’t behave so badly. You kind of like arguing with Phil sometimes. As much of a jerk as he can be, to you Phil is a beloved local character.
But now there’s a problem. Because you hang out in several other bars. And in these bars, Phil has started to really pick on a woman whom he felt was mean to him. He calls her names and yells about her in a most unbecoming manner. This woman is a friend of yours and you don’t feel she deserves to be treated that way. You saw what she did to Phil and you think Phil is really, really overreacting. Phil has never yelled at her in your bar that you can remember, though he’s yelled at other people. You know that eventually Phil will stop picking on her and leave her alone, but you want your friend to feel safe in your bar. (Safe in an emotional sense. Phil has never physically hurt anybody and you don’t think he ever will.)
Phil’s behavior has gotten to the point where lots of bars don’t let him in at all, adding to his sense that the world is against him.
And that’s the problem. Because you don’t like to make a big point of it, but your Dad owns the bar. And your Dad says “I’d just as soon let anyone in, but if you want to throw Phil out, you can any time you want to.”
Do we try to talk to Phil, though we suspect that reasoning with him won’t work?
Do we kick him out when he’s rude, which is pretty much always these days? (Though we’ve never kicked anyone out for rudeness before…)
Do we feel rotten about what’s happening to our friend but stick with our bar being a place where people don’t get kicked out?
I will defend my actual dad's honor as a Texan by saying that there is no way "I'd just as soon let anyone in" would have been his response. He is not currently in a condition to do much to anybody, but if, in his prime, he saw a man in a bar harassing a lady and calling her names, his justice on the guy would be swift and brutal. Not saying that's right. It's just how they raised them in Texas in the 1950's. And the Chalicedad is unusually refined. He used to sing Opera.