Treadmill Musings on Patriotism

By Dan Schmitt | September 27, 2017 | 

I’m on the treadmill at the local gym the other day just trying to stay alive. About ten minutes in, I notice a guy hop on a treadmill a couple rows in front of me.  He was pretty easy guy to notice.  The dude was pretty buff.  But it was what was on the back of his t-shirt that really caught my eye.  There was an American flag in the middle, and above and below that flag were the words, “You stomp on my flag, I stomp on your ass.”

Since patriotism has been a hot topic recently, I suppose he was just trying to make some patriotic statement about himself.  But, that t-shirt really got me thinking. Is the overt, conspicuous display of patriotism really patriotism or is it more a public display of immature, self-aggrandizement? I’m not really sure, but I do prefer quieter, less public acts of patriotism like displaying an American flag on a house.
Then I started thinking about the more practical aspect of a guy wearing such a shirt in public.  Who are the people who would want to stomp on his flag? I couldn’t think of any.  Why would anyone want to stomp on his flag?  I couldn’t think of any reason to do so. There were 40-50 people working out at that time, and they could be put into four categories: Non-Buff guys and gals like me; Buff dudes and dudettes like the t-shirt guy; More-Buff dudes and dudettes; and Most-Buff dudes and dudettes.

Looking over the diversity of buffness in the gym made me wonder if, just maybe, the t-shirt dude was letting his high levels of testosterone get the best of his cognitive abilities. Without a doubt, there were more than few dudes and dudettes in the gym who could stomp on the guy’s flag and also stomp on his ass, not that anyone would want to do so!

Thinking makes my treadmill time go faster. I was about ready to leave the gym when I see an older, Non-buff woman struggling to get the door open. With what some might consider “a quiet act of patriotism,” I opened it for her.  

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