Webster 1913 defines dignity as:
The state of being worthy or honorable; elevation of mind or character; true worth; excellence.
The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings. Shak
To Webster, dignity was just a word. For me, briefly, Dignity became a way of life.
I first met Dignity in a chance encounter over a few cocktails on some lazy summer afternoon many years ago. She was sitting just a few barstools down from me in an otherwise empty bar. I don’t know what prompted me to start a conversation but the way the sun shone through the window and fell upon her face probably had a lot to with it. I’m normally pretty shy when it comes to strangers but the best way I can describe it is....irresistible.
After making some eye contact between the two of us she motioned me over to sit next her and while I can’t recall the exact gist of our first encounter, I knew I was hooked. After a couple of hours of getting to know each she said it was time to part ways. Even though I was reluctant to do so, I figured why ruin a good thing and asked her if she’d like to get together again. After all, we had so much in common. I was relieved when she said yes and we exchanged our phone numbers. A few days later we made plans for a typical couple’s night out and the whole traditional dinner and a movie deal was set.
During the interim I had time to reflect on Dignity and how easy it was to talk to her. The conversation and the laughter just seemed to come naturally and nothing was forced. I was hoping for that proverbial match made in heaven. Little did I know.
I made some reservations at a fancy restaurant and called and left her a message with the details. She got back to me a little while later to say she’d be there but her voice seemed kind of strange and distant. Even so, I decided to let it go and thought about what a good time we had when we first met. I then got dressed in what qualified as my Sunday best and awaited her arrival. The hour came and went. And then another, and another. I was just about to say “the hell with it” when she came through the door.
This was not the Dignity I was expecting. Instead of being (as Webster describes it) “worthy or honorable” she was rude and impolite. She offered no apologies or excuses for keeping me waiting and the language that she used would make a Marine Drill Instructor envious. Her clothes were torn and frayed and she looked like she was coming off a three day bender.
Still, I thought to myself that maybe she was just having a bad day and asked her if she’d like to order.
”Who the fuck cares, just get me something, I’m starving.”
So much for the “elevation of mind or character”.
I was getting a little apprehensive about the whole thing since this was most assuredly not the same version of Dignity I had first encountered and decided to ask her about it. I heard her whisper to herself :
”Fuck you asshole.”
I pretended to ignore it and decided to try to engage in some small talk and asked her about how she got her name.
”There’s only one thing you need to know about Dignity..."
I leaned in closer to try and hear what she was saying. I must have closed my eyes for the briefest second because the next thing I heard was the sound of a gun going off.
I remember feeling the first bullet as it tore into my chest. I remember falling backwards out of my chair and staring up towards the ceiling. I remember seeing the blood pour from my chest and I remember seeing Dignity straddled over me with the gun pointed at my head.
”and that is, it comes in many forms.”
And those were the last words I remember hearing before everything went white.