By The Wiz
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Think back. When did you feel the worst? When you were saving a busload of nuns and orphans and broke your wrist? Or when someone hurled a hurtful phrase in your face?
“Can’t you take a joke?” This was mine. This phrase was hurled at me time and again in elementary school, usually just after I was just teased mercilessly. It had wonderful multiple effects. It made me know that: a) The fact that I was upset made me even more stupid than I originally was, b) I clearly have no sense of humor, and c) I’m pretty much just ignert in the ways of the world, because if I was cooler, I would know that saying horrible things in jest is clearly socially acceptable behavior.
I also spent pretty much all of high school and junior high in long pants because I did not enjoy seeing the amazed looks, being asked if I EVER went outside, or having people honestly wonder if my skin just had no pigment. Well meaning people offered me various self tanning products, and let me tell you, the only thing more attention grabbing than glowing white legs are glowing orange legs. I used to wear sweats to gym class, the teacher once told me she wanted me to wear shorts because it was too hot, and the next day I got the lovely “day-glow” yell. The teacher left me alone after that - I guess she assumed the risk of heat stroke was relatively low compared to the risk of ridicule. So I wore pants. Problem solved.
These are just a couple of things that plagued me, and truly they are relatively minor, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt.
I tell you, there were times when I was wishing for those sticks and stones, if only the words would end. Tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re lying.
Ever had your sister tell you that you don’t know how to dress? She was probably right, but still….
Ever TOLD your sister her fiance was not the sharpest knife in the drawer? You were probably right, but still…..
Ever called someone retarded? Hmmmm….do you know what the word means? It means slower to learn, delayed. Is there really no single area in your life in which you are slower to learn? You’re not delayed in any way? Congratulations, you are a freak of nature.
Parker’s mom, Tammy, has asked me to write about the word retard and retarded, and how offensive and derogatory it has become. She clearly has more experience in this area than I do. Her son is an amazing example of strength, endurance, and unbearable cuteness, and yet some people just call him a retard and move on. This is bad. Don’t do it.
But it extends beyond just her little world. Thoughtlessly flinging around ’retard’ and ‘retarded’ hurts not only the person you are talking to, but also the people who truly are delayed in many unusual ways. And it hurts Tammy, and all the moms just like her.
Neal Maxwell tells of someone who said to him “You could have gone all day without saying that.” He says it was ”Lovingly done. Remembered.”
My mom always said you couldn’t take words back, that once they were out there, they were out there, so be careful what you say. That’s always her marriage advice to new brides at wedding showers. And as a total digression, what is with the advice giving at showers?
“Choose your words wisely, madame, for they may be your last.” And so I end with a movie quote. Tell me the movie. No googling.
WordPress database error: [Can't open file: 'wp_comments.MYI' (errno: 144)]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '899' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date