I watched the movie, “Little Women” with my wife last night, a great film If you’re into midgets.
Hey now, I know that’s not pc, but it’s pretty funny. Some of my friends are…
I hate phrases like that. Somehow, people think it gets them off the hook. Not so. In fact, it actually makes you sound worse. There’s no room for bigotry in any fashion.
I used to work with a man named Danny Woodburn. He started as a comedian and built quite an acting resume. Although he was in “Jingle all the way” and many other films and tv shows, you would most likely remember him as the little person on Seinfeld. That’s Danny. Very fine actor.
So why do we do double takes when we see someone who is so different on the outside? Because they’re different on the outside! It’s normal. Making fun is not. It’s mean.
I remember working in a shoe store many years ago, in West Covina, California. I was working on a display at the front of the store, when Rocky Dennis walked in. I was startled, to say the least. Was that wrong? No. Roy (Rocky) Dennis was a boy afflicted with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, an extremely rare, sclerotic bone disorder.
There was a movie made about him, starring Cher as his Mom.
Doctors informed his mother that the abnormal calcium deposits in his skull would push his eyes toward the edges of his head, twist his nose out of shape, cause his eyesight and hearing to fail and, if the handful of cases on record were any indication, result in tremendous pressure that would destroy his brain before he was seven.
Dennis experienced problems with eyesight and hearing along with painful headaches, but was able to do most of the things doctors told him he would never accomplish, such as learn to read. They told him that his poor eyesight, which made him legally blind, meant that he would never read a book. However, he entered school at the age of six, despite disapproval by many teachers, and although experiencing a slow start (he spent two years in the first grade), he was able to make reasonable progress thereafter.
When I saw the movie, I realized it was Rocky that I reacted to the day in the store. I was horrified that I had reacted like everyone else did to him. I wept, right there in the theater, during the movie and resolved to right him a letter of apology. At the end of the film, however, we discovered he died at 16. There was no chance. The world had turned too many times.
It’s hard not to stare at those who look different, but it can be done. Talk to the person, so long as it’s not perceived as patronizing, you’ll be amazed at how easy it really is. Try it today. You’ll see that we’re all just people.
See you tomorrow.
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See you tomorrow! Jerry