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Neighborhood Tyrants

She looked like a normal woman. Blond, 35ish, business casual attire, confident.

I was 1,000 miles east, visiting my old junior high school with a buddy who’d attended with me. We wanted to tour our old haunts.

The school was wide open with a variety of staff & teachers leisurely going in and out. There was no security because school was still a few days away from opening for the new session.

We should’ve just gone right in and started our tour. But we wanted to be “legal” with school security being so touchy these days. So we stepped into the empty school office to announce our presence & get visitor passes. For five full minutes, no one greeted us. We heard happy voices chattering in back rooms but no one was at the reception area. We could've wheeled the copy machine out to our car.

Finally she appeared from a back room, chewing her lunch.

“Hello, I’m Mike & this is Dave. We attended this school 50 years ago and wanted to get visitor passes to look around to see what we remember.”

“I live here,” my buddy added, “But Mike came all the way from Wyoming.”

“Well… we have some construction right now, I better check to see if it’s OK.”

Uh-oh. Off she went into the invisible back rooms, filled with laughing, unconcerned people.

Two more minutes passed.

“No,” she stated a bit too happily. “We’re a construction zone and aren’t accepting visitors.”

What?! I wasn’t expecting THAT.

No “I’m sorry.”

No “perhaps another day, how long are you in town?”

No “let me walk you through with these hard hats.”

Just NO. Tough luck.

We’re healthy mid-60s guys. We’re not going to fall in a hole or step on a rake. "Construction" obviously wasn't considered a peril to all the teachers walking about.

A couple days ago, I’d successfully gotten a personal tour at my elementary school -- from the principal himself -- after I made the same request there.

So I knew things could’ve gone far better here.

This woman could've just issued the passes. But decided to ask her boss. This apparently failed – it’s easy to say no to people you don’t have to face -- so she was now tasked to enforce the denial. And she relished the assignment!

I’d seen her kind before so I didn’t argue or appeal. Instead, we walked around the exterior of the school, where there was no construction, accessing memories by looking in windows. At the rear of the school, we looked in a door propped open & a teacher inside smiled & called,

“It’s open!” Which sounded like an invitation to us.

We stepped into the school, walked 20 feet to the intersection of two hallways and peered left and right. We weren’t going any farther. From nowhere, the blond enforcer appeared and made SURE we weren’t going any farther.

“What did I just tell you?” she yelled at my buddy. “Did you hear the words I said?” as if he was a middle school student rather than a 66-year-old alumni who graduated from this public, taxpayer-funded school before this woman was even born.

I shook my head, walked back to the exit and was greeted by a friendly teacher who asked me to hold her folders while she rearranged packages to get through the door I held open for her. She had no idea Blond Tyrant was creating an unnecessary scene 20 feet away. Life was friendly & cooperative in everyone else’s world.

The world is sprinkled with neighborhood tyrants just waiting for a scrap of authority to lord over others. To them, policy, procedure, authority & liability mitigation are all more important concepts than kindness, common sense & assisting others. Anyone who has experienced bad customer service has experienced neighborhood tyrants monkey-hammering them with company policy.

The covid situation has starkly revealed thousands of these neighborhood tyrants are spread throughout our communities.

I define “Neighborhood Tyrants” as small-minded, non-thinking, heartless people, all-to-happy to “obey orders,” even if those orders are irrational or illegal & spray grave injustices in all directions.

If the global cabal ever succeeds with its goal of total domination and tyranny, it’ll be because these small neighborhood tyrants gleefully did what they were told.

My memories of that school have now been forever tainted by that shallow, sub-par woman, who refused to make the slightest accommodation, for something that was obviously not even a real problem.

But the negative situation did sharpen my clarity on an important point.

At every possible opportunity, NEVER ask for permission. Just do it.


Find more of Mike Johnson's writings at

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