It was just one of those random laugh lines from a television sitcom, but upon reflection it was clear that it offered far more than simply some comedic wit. There was great wisdom in it. It provided a timeless reminder of an oft-ignored example of social grace, an expression of real interpersonal compassion, and quietly actionable piece of emotional intelligence.

One of the main characters was a waitress who was know for her seemingly off-the-cuff, generally rude, and habitually offensive comments. Even though she had particular characters on which she focused her unkind social attention, no one was immune from her verbal barbs. As is often the case even in real life situations, her reputation for quick and rude comments served as somewhat of a protective shield for her. Knowing her propensity for unkind comments, and her apparent lack of social control, no one made such comments to her. There was no point in poking this dog with a stick, because you were certain to get a poke in return, and it would more than likely be more painful than the one you offered in the first place.

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