Uncommon Courtesy

Never wrote anything about Glovegate because, well, it seemed too silly to be news, but not silly enough to bother with. Then a teacher of mine from way back when, Tom Teel, emailed this:


I worked in Germany as a computer simulation technician all across the country supporting the United States Army. While I was in Germany I worked with both German and American soldiers. I lived on the local economy, ate in the local German gasthous, shopped at the local German stores, and was a member of the community. I talked to people from all across Europe every day. I have seen people of all walks of life, community leaders, military personnel, politicians, and clergy shake hands. Some of them took their gloves off during the winter when shaking hands, some left their gloves on. My point during this ranting is that if all the European press has to report about a state visit is who did, and did not take their gloves off, it must be a slow news day. I believe we are surely seeing European snobbery being elevated to a new level.

For the last decade, most of Europe has become a continent-wide slow news day. Why? Because in 1981, another American President Ronald Reagan took his gloves off to fight the Soviets. Eight years later, the Wall came down. And with it, Slovakia gained her freedom.


Hey – maybe that’s where the Slovakian tradition came from.

NOTE: All kidding aside, Tom gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. When I was a young punk with a bad case of Senioritis back at MMA, then-SFC Tom Teel caught me doing who-remembers-what. He didn’t report me, didn’t lecture me, just looked down and said, “Son, don’t be stupid on purpose.”

50 years from now, I hope to be telling my grandkids that story.


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