Never, ever underestimate the power of a slight. A flippant comment. Or maybe no comment at all.
It never ceases to amaze me how the greatest among us tend to be just like us. Remembering every rude remark. Refusing to let go, even years after the fact.
Even Gerald Ford. By all accounts, a good and decent man, who just never got over the fact Ronald Reagan challenged him in 1976 for the Republican presidential nomination. And what's more, didn't seem to do much for him in the race Ford ultimately lost to Jimmy Carter.
After all these years, it still stuck. He still stewed. Even for a very affable guy like President Ford, who usually let bygones be bygones.
I remember some years back a CEO who ended up firing a top lieutenant because the guy never laughed at his jokes. I kid you not.
Another boss I had years ago surrounded himself with yes men, and relegated to oblivion the one genius who had the nerve to say "no."
Big men with big egos have big memories. And apparently even bigger vendettas. For things that matter. Even things that don't.
It got me thinking about the time my dad had organized a dinner for some old colleagues at a company he had long since left. Actually, dad was forced out. But a lot of time had passed. All his old colleagues were retired, or dead. And dad just wanted what he called a fun, last supper.
"Relax," he said at the start of the meal. "The race is over, guys." And only a few short years after that, life was over for all those guys, too, including dad.
Lives spent feuding over little things that seemed big. Until the little things were gone. And the people who fretted over them were gone, too.
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