An Open Letter to the teenager in front of Fresh & Easy who was laughing at the way I walked;
You think I didn’t know you were laughing at me, but I did. I’m not as stupid as you’d like to believe and you’re not as smart – or subtle – as you’d like to think. Not that you thought, although your friend did. She tried to hush you and stop you. Her body language showed shame with your behavior. She even tried to give me an embarrassed little wave as if to disassociate herself from you. To my own embarrassment, I allowed my irritation with your behavior to keep me from acknowledging her. I hope I see her again so I can apologize.
But, for you, I feel sorry. Yes, I was irritated, but it was because you were laughing at a perceived disability. You had no idea why I was limping. No idea what made “but that girl” walk the way she did. It could have been a birth defect. It could have been an accident. It could even have been caused by severe abuse trauma. You didn’t stop to think or sympathize you just burst into laughter, made quiet comments to your friends, and laughed some more at your own so-called wit. If you’d have listened to your friend you’d have seen that none of the rest of your group was laughing. They mostly seemed embarrassed.
I feel sorry for you because I’ve learned in 47 years of living that those who make fun of another person – for anything – do so for one of two reason: they think it makes them look cool, or it’s to make themselves feel better about their own insecurities. I don’t know which it was for you but your friends didn’t appear to think you looked cool.
What if I’d told you my limp was because a strong, good looking guy caused me to break my ankle? Would you still be laughing? How about if I said I was in a vehicle accident because of that guy and I broke it in three places which caused me to have to undergo surgery and now I have a plate and six screws holding my bones in place. Would you still have made snide comments?
I’ll let you off the hook, somewhat, because I believe you were trying to make yourself feel better (personal opinion) at the expense of someone you think you’ll never see again. The story is on the humorous side and my sister and I made jokes the whole evening that it happened and have done so since. The vehicle was my bike and the “guy” was my dog. He went down one side of a fire hydrant and I went on the other. His leash got caught and I and my bike got flipped over. It bent my bike and broke my ankle. Yes, in three places and, yes, I have that plate and those pins. And, yes, I laughed at the Urgent Care and have since. But, you didn’t know that. You laughed at a perceived disability.
I feel sorry for you. If you don’t change, the good friends will stop hanging around you and the bad-influence “friends” will drag you down. Learn to be kind and sympathetic to others. You’ll feel better about yourself in ways laughing at them can’t make you feel and you’ll draw the good sort of friends to you. The Bible teaches that to have friends, you must be a friend. Not a self-centered twerp.
p.s., not so serious post coming a little later, I've been going a bit nuts with the earring making ;)