A youthful friend of mine apparently has learned one of those important life lessons about free speech. It reminds me of what I was told while living under my parents' roof, to the effect that free speech would begin only after I moved out.
It isn't always possible to have free speech in the workplace, either. Your employer has a say in it, whether you like it or not.
Then there's the situation when a respected elder wags his or her finger and lets it be known that you've stepped over a line. It might be a teaching moment, administered with grace and compassion, but not THIS time; you're a sassy young pup, and you ruffled feathers. Older folks have a propensity toward humorlessness.
Rinse and repeat.
You need to be made an example, and they'll delight in seeing you grovel, just because they can ... and even (especially when) when they've been there themselves and are oh-so-vulnerable to reminders of the same.
Which I'd dearly love to apply with a circular, rubbing motion, but will not. In the end, it has nothing to do with me, though I appreciate the story. The way this week has gone, I needed the gut laugh.
My friend, I understand. You won't always be powerless, and some day, when you have the opportunity to return the favor, for the sake of all that's holy and humorous in the world, I hope you do.
Good and hard.