By Mark Azzara
The photographed sign read, “You’re never too important to be nice to people.”
And then the Facebook comments started. Grammarians said the sign should have read “to NOT be nice …” But then someone said that if you take the phrase as a label it could mean, in effect, “I am too-important-to-be-nice.”
Even though all the exchanges were lighthearted and uncritical, I thought to myself, “You’re not being very nice to the person who made his/her best attempt to communicate a serious message.”
I thought about sharing that sentiment on Facebook. But that wouldn’t have been nice. Because as Richard Rohr once said, “You’re not that important.”
If I were to communicate anything in response, I would say thank you to the sign-writer for the well-meaning message.
Regardless of the debate over grammar, everyone would agree (I hope) that the message had made its point because everyone who saw the post thought about it and allowed the real message to sink in.
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Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, “And So Are You.” He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.