Keep Your Head On A Swivel, by Citizen Writer, Joe Heaton

This morning’s walk was uneventful. There were no people under an industrial blanket. There were no people in sleeping bags. There was a lady with a “Pride” flag hat chatting it up with seemingly great joy with some man. I got the impression that they both were people of the street who knew each other. When I first passed them, it just seemed like a jovial conversation.

After I went to the store and came back, they were still chatting. There was also a man in a black coat — you know the type of coat, the puffy ones with stripes of down laterally like a ladder of clouds scaling the torso. He was there on his phone on my way to the store. He was still standing there on my way back. Frankly, he was uninteresting.

In the Army, we have a phrase. “Keep your head on a swivel.” The meaning is fairly obvious, but I will elaborate just a bit anyway. It means to keep your eyes open and constantly vigilant to look for any threats. When I take these walks, be assured that my head is always on a swivel, looking for threats.

Then, a man playing hacky sack kicked it and hit my daughter in the ear. She was fine, but he seemed to feel really bad about it. Not only him, but he and all of his friends rushed over to ensure that she was okay. Then my son, also rushing to his sister’s aid, told them what I have told them many times: “If you are going to play rough, you have to be tough.

Actually, I always said “If you are going to play rough, you’re going to get hurt.” It was a neighbor in Idaho who made it rhyme. In this case, my daughter wasn’t playing rough, and neither were they, but good on them for that response! Then the man, actually pretty good with a hacky sack, started showing her tricks. They played together in a very innocent way. He felt guilty and was trying to make amends for his accident. She learned a few tricks, at least as goals to practice in the future. And we all were able to witness kindness in humanity. Keep your head on a swivel. Truth. But do not just look for the threats. Look for the humanity.

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2 thoughts on “Keep Your Head On A Swivel, by Citizen Writer, Joe Heaton”

  1. Great article Joe thank you for the reminder…
    It horrifies me when I see women counting their money while pushing the shopping cart out of the supermarket or chatting on the phone and not looking around and maintaining what we used to call situational awareness

  2. Amen, Mr. Heaton! There is so much good going on around us, and in so many forms. It bears notice, and celebration.


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