A situation happened the other day that made me realize I'm not exactly the same person I was 25 years ago. We were meeting the baby's other grandparents to deliver him for their weekend custody. They get to keep him the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month, as per court order. As I was standing in the parking lot holding the baby and making small talk with the other grandfather, an ignorant East Texas redneck conservative Christian-hypocrite jackass, he reaches up and yanks the pacifier out of the baby's mouth, saying something to the effect of no baby stuff allowed here. The child immediately began wailing as if he'd had his feelings hurt terribly, and clearly he had. I could not think of anything to say or do to that jackass as he walked off to place the baby in his car; anything, that is, that would not have made things worse for the baby.
When I was about 25, I and my young son, just a few years old at the time, went to a local hardware store on the town square. As I was getting him out of the car, a large pickup truck pulled sharply into the open space next to me, almost hitting my still open door. I put my son down on the seat and started beating the side of the truck with my bare hands, leaving a dent in the sheet metal, and yelling at the driver that his driving endangered my child. I might have beaten the driver too if he hadn't had the good sense to go inside a different store.
Sometimes I think I should have beaten that jackass grandfather for taking the baby's pacifier and making him feel so bad, but that might have killed the old man, who just last year suffered a near-fatal heart attack. And, for those who have never tried this, trying to reason with an ultra-conservative redneck asshole is entirely futile. Members of this species are never wrong, and unable to reason well enough to adopt new positions. They only understand force. Whoever screams loud enough must be right. I usually simply refuse to engage them because I've learned it is a waste of time.
One thing about me that hasn't changed is I will not tolerate bullying behavior. We pick up the baby from them tomorrow evening. I intend to take him in my arms and immediately give him his pacifier, in plain view of the jackass. I dare him to say anything about it.