When I was 21 or so and still in the army, I went to a mall in North Carolina to watch a movie. I got there too early, bought my ticket, and was waiting on a seat right outside the movie theater for the film to start.
A security guard came up to me and told me that I was “not allowed to loiter.”
“I’m not loitering,” I said. “I’m waiting for the movie to start.” Then I showed him my ticket.
He said I was not allowed to stay there regardless, as it was considered loitering and was against the “rules.”
Then I told him to go screw himself loud enough for all the people around us to hear. I am just really terrible with rules that make no sense and idiots who try to enforce them. And my temper used to be so much worse than it is now.
He told me I’d have to leave and then reached out to grab my arm. I moved back and told him that I knew that since he was not a sworn law officer that he had no right to touch me, and that if he tried to do so again, he’d be bleeding all over the floor.
So I left, and he walked me out the door and all the way to my car. And if I hadn’t been in the Army at the time and with the desire to stay enlisted, I probably would have beaten the hell out of him in the parking lot. But instead as I was getting in my car, I told him that if I ever saw him when I was a civilian again, I would not forget his face and the outcome would be much different than me just leaving meekly in my car.
I am not as hotheaded now as I was then, but I honestly can’t say I’d do anything any differently now – except this time I’d probably let him grab my arm, and then take him down right in the middle of the mall. Yes, I realize that is not productive and would not change anything. But protests against stupidity and the petty enforcers of tyranny don’t need to be. They just need to happen, sometimes no matter the cost.
The security guard didn’t react much after our initial confrontation to anything I said. I think he didn’t expect to get that much pugnacious guff from some pretty skinny (though I was in ridiculously good shape then), nerdy-looking guy. I think he was just glad to be rid of me (I get that a lot!).
Note and disclaimer: I am not any kind of bad-ass, nor do I think I am. I am just really, really resistant to idiocy, formerly with a very bad temper, and am generally not afraid of much. And I strongly recommend against anyone doing many, if not most, of the things I have done or one day will do.