Most who know me well know that I have a penchant for some unique, self-styled “poison pen letters”. It’s just that sometimes I feel that some ugly things NEED to be said in order for me to maintain my own Howard Roark image (see Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead) of myself… a true individual who will not trample on anyone, unless they trample on me. A man who knows who he is and who he is not and not afraid to stand up and be heard.
But, the real me, I also want to think is like the man in a poem that every SAE fraternity brother learns to recite during initiation. Of course, its only my thinking but not always my being this perfect man.
It’s not a secret, so I’d like to share it here. I cannot count the times these words have inspired me into some actionable cause for righteous good. Each sentence, every word is beautiful, precise, and altogether on-point.
Sometimes I even imagine it can be me:
The True Gentleman
“The True Gentleman is a man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, whose self control is equal to all emergencies; who
does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if
necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with
frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears
well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”
– John Walter Wayland. Virginia, 1899