Saturday, July 21, 2012

Be careful whom you call crazy

Certain words, certain utterances tend to give me pause in a different way than they would have before the year 2009.

For example: my being told that something "should make me feel how lucky I am" or "make me not want to take things for granted," with a reference to someone or some group of people who has survived something undesirable, such as the loss of a limb.

Claims that someone is crazy -- even frivolous claims in everyday conversation -- catch my attention.

So do words expressing outrage about something terrible that was done to someone or more people, such as recent cries of outrage over a woman executed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, over government killings of citizens in Syria, over the behavior of Penn State officials regarding Jerry Sandusky, and over the killings in the Colorado movie theater, the latter expressed in the following Facebook posting, including a scolding:

Why do these words give me a peculiar kind of pause? As someone recently wrote, due to my having "suffer(ed) horrendous health problems, insults to (my) dignity, startling erosions of and betrayals in relationships, criminal malfeasance and neglect, etc." as I've documented in this blog.

Beginning in 2009, I experienced a scary illness that should make anyone not want to take things for granted. I've been called crazy to my face by medical personnel who themselves were the people behaving as if they were crazy. I've experienced things that should prompt extreme outrage, and I've sometimes felt like scolding the people in whom they did not.

These nightmare experiences will give me pause for the rest of my life more than any of the related utterances I hear today.

Just be careful whom you advise about how they should feel. Be careful whom you call crazy.