I can not believe I did not think of this a couple of days ago.
My senior year at Indiana University (1977), I managed a job as a part time supervisor in the MRC/LLC dorm cafeteria. There were a few less than kind things that could be said of me back then (and to this day?), but the pertinent info for this story is that I was a bit of a fascist in so far as that means I did not yet understand that rules were meant to be broken.
I was a hard ass, always trying to enforce every rule at all times. It is not beyond the pale that students were making fun of me behind my back (I don’t think they were, but it’s possible).
Of course, the students, being college students, pretty much never heard of a rule that they didn’t think existed so to be broken.
In spite of that set up, my memory of that job is not dominated by conflict between me and everyone else. In fact, I only remember a couple of times that things got out of hand. Once was when some students were attempting to smuggle food out of the cafeteria to eat on the ride home. In my memory, one student attempted to toss a bag of food over my head to another student waiting outside the dining hall. I intercepted the bag, but the activity led to the door (a beautiful old wooden door) sustaining some damage.
I do not remember what led to the second incident. I remember a couple of students on the other side of the counter and I was becoming exasperated with whatever the situation was. After some “discussion”, I finally said “You people!”, meaning “students.” The problem was the students I was talking too were African-American.
They understandably reacted a bit negatively to my statement and asked what I meant by it. I responded “Students.” One of them started accusing me of bringing race into the discussion and I promptly replied that I was not the first one to bring up race. Apparently my sincerity shined through because they let it go pretty quickly (more quickly than I deserved…I may have been sincere, but it was still stupid of me).
I’m just happy that for talking stupidly I did not have to pay the penalty of having to drink a Bud Light. Gaaa!