Your reputation has value
By Joe Black | (email@example.com)
I suppose now that my mom knows the ugly truth and the statute of limitations is long since passed, I can share a story with you.
Mom is 93 and I’m almost 60, but it was only about a month ago that I finally told her the whole story
The year was 1970. I was a 17-year-old high school junior and a really decent kid, if I do say so myself.
I remember it like it was yesterday. This particular day was a Sunday morning. My mom and I arrived for Sunday School at First Baptist Church of Loudon.
The first person we saw was Ernie Black (no relation) who scolded me: “I can’t believe you ‘egged’ Mrs. (name withheld because, well, I don’t have a good reason, maybe I’m afraid some relative is still alive that might yet retaliate)’s house.” This person was an English teacher at Loudon High School.
The next person I ran into said pretty much the same thing and added that he was really disappointed in me, that he thought I was a much better person than that. The problem was that I didn’t do it.
So on my way home, with my mother in the car, I stopped by this teacher’s house.
When I knocked on the door, she opened it without taking off the chain thingie, just like what you find on hotel doors.
I’m pretty sure that she owned the only hotel-type chain security device in all of Loudon County.
“What do YOU want?”
“Yes mam, I would really like to know why you’re telling everyone that I egged your house.”
“Because you did. I saw you. You were hanging out of that Ronnie McNabb’s car and throwing eggs at my house.”
“No, mam, I didn’t do that.”
“Yes you did!” SLAM.
OK. My mom knew that much of the story. She believed me when I told her that I didn’t do it. What she didn’t know until almost 43 years later was that the next weekend three friends and I dropped four dozen eggs on this teacher’s house, commando-style, in the middle of the night.
I figured that if I’m gonnado the time, I might as well do the crime (or something like that). And I still don’t feel bad about that little bit of revenge. So what’s the message (and what the heck is this doing in the sports page)?
I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with the importance of maintaining your reputation. Even at that young age, it was important to me. I saw myself as one of the good guys.
Football player, good student, Eagle Scout, in church pretty much every time the doors were open, and already a community activist.
I have always cared about what people thought about me. I remember another incident years earlier in which I did do something that I shouldn’t have and the mother of a young child said to her son “please don’t turn out like them.” That one hurts to this day.
The bottom line is that if you don’t have a good reputation, you can’t be trusted, which means that you won’t be given any real responsibilities, which means that you won’t get the opportunities that you might deserve. That works on the playing field and in the board room.
So protect your reputation but first make sure that you deserve it. Be the person that others can trust — the person that they know they can count on.
It makes you the best possible teammate or co-worker.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)