Thursday, November 10, 2011

Before my head explodes


Okay it's been an hour since this incident occurred so hopefully I can get my words out there in some semblance of order and coherency.

If not forgive me.

I took Jona out to lunch for his birthday this afternoon. We decided to check out JCW's burgers. We got there before the majority of the lunch crowd, for which I am thankful. That way I didn't have to spend any extra time next to the "gentlemen" who sat down next to us just minutes before we left.

JCW's has a "sports bar" feel to it and they have four large tv's up around the dining area. On every screen, of course, there was something that had to do with the firing of Joe Paterno. I am by no means a sports fanatic but you can't turn the tv, radio or computer on without hearing about this.

Jona and I had a nice lunch and we were finishing up as the lunch crowd started to roll in. A group of about 6 or 7 guys on their lunch break had placed their orders and had taken seats in tables to the left of us. Almost immediately they start talking about what is going on with Paterno.

Their conversation went something like...

Hey did you hear about Joe Paterno getting fired?
Yeah. That's messed up.
Did you see what those college kids did?
Yeah that was cool.
Wait wasn't he fired because he sexually molested some kids.
No. It was one of the assistant coaches but Paterno supposedly knew about it and didn't do anything. He told the people above him but they didn't do anything about it either.
That's not right they should lose their jobs too.

At this point I'm kind of rolling my eyes because his superiors that knew about it have lost their jobs.

Yeah...I guess it was younger kids that were being molested and someone walked in on the assistant coach with the kid in the shower.

This next exchange. Is where my head just about pops off.

My guess is the guy was teaching him how to hike.

There was complete silence at the table.

Come on! You guys didn't even laugh at my joke.

Under my breath, but not super soft either, I say "That's because it wasn't funny" And I waited. I waited for one of the other guys at the table to say those words but they didn't. Instead another guy chimes in and says...

Teaching him how to hike (laughs). Yeah. And receive. Yeah kid you need to learn to receive this way. (scattered laughter)

I should have stood up right then and said
"No one laughed at your joke because it WASN'T FUNNY!!!"
I wish I would have had the presence of mind to say, "Do you have children? Do you have a son? Do you think that would be funny if it was your son?"
Instead, I'm ashamed to say, I just grabbed our tray and hustled Jona out the door. I was fuming.
People just don't think before they speak, or if they do they just don't care.

Child abuse in any way, shape or form is unacceptable and it's people like those men at that table who make small "jokes" like those that make it easier for children to be abused because, hey, it's funny right? It's not. It's serious.

And it angers me that there are people out there who would make light of such a horrible, horrible situation and it seems that in this day and age that this occurrence is much more common.

People today say and write the most horrific things. I wonder, in the past have people always had those horrid thoughts and just kept them to themselves because the society was so much more polite? Or have we sunk so far that it's okay to laugh at anything?

Sarcasm is's okay to say something sarcastically right? That way you don't really mean it. Words said in sarcasm have a way of hurting just as much as those said in all sincerity. (And hey, I'm just as apt to use sarcasm as the next person so I'm speaking to myself on this one as well.)

People, please. THINK before you say something. Try putting yourself in the place of another. How would you like it if those words were being said to or about you....or someone you love.

All those jokes about being careful about picking up a bar of soap in the shower at the prison are hilarious. Until...

Until you have loved ones whose choices have placed them behind bars. Then those "bar of soap" jokes, not so funny. Why? Because then all of the sudden that horrible thing that you were just laughing and joking about? THAT could be happening to someone you love.

Not so funny then is it.

Think, people. Please. Can we return to SOME form of civility?

I have a feeling that this will fall on deaf ears, or eyes, as it were. I have found that the people who need to see and hear this the most are the ones that are the least like to read this. And if they do they either;
A. Won't see themselves as part of the problem
B. They just won't care.

I also realize that this blog has a very limited audience.

I just needed to get that out before my head exploded. I'm glad to say that, so far, it's still intact.


i'm erin. said...

Oh my gosh! I don't know if I would've had the courage to say something, but after reading this it makes me want to say something every time something like that happens in the future. I tend to be too sarcastic also. This is a great reminder that we should think before we speak.

Funky Kim said...

I have told a joke or two about this very situation. Not that one, because that one wouldn't have passed my inner conscience test. But I now feel badly for the ones I have told.

After reading this, I hope to be prepared if some jerks sit next to me at lunch. Maybe I can help them see how unfunny this situation truly is.

Barbaloot said...

I wish you would've called him out---but I probly would've done the same thing in your situation. Sorry about the birthday lunch having a sour ending.

Kristina P. said...

Yeah, working in social work, we definitely make jokes about things, but not about child molestation.

Jessica G. said...

I was going to say I hope it was teenagers at that table and not grown men but honestly, that wouldn't make it any better.

M-Cat said...

The whole Penn state thing has made me literally sick, but to hear GROWN MEN behave and talk this way disgusts me beyond words.

You definitely handled it much better than I would have. I think my actions towards them might have forced me to make a call to get bailed out. Just reading about it enrages me.

Yes, people THINK. Or better, train your THOUGHTS since your thoughts lead to those words.

Emmy said...

Oh that just makes me sick. And yes, you are right what it acceptable to joke about has gone way too far in the world

Cynthia said...

I agree that those jokes are never funny. And I think people made them MORE in the past- especially when they were around people they assumed to be of 'like mind'.

We have lost civility in this society, for sure, but in different ways than we did in the past.

That said, I can say that I have been part of the 'lack of civility' problem but only because I'm politically involved and sometimes passionate about it. I have decided to be more careful in my own dialog, internally and externally.

Kellybean said...

I admire your restraint. My mouth can't seem to hold in my opinions most of the time and it's caused a great deal of trouble for me in my life. Think the trouble would have been worth it for these guys.

I do know that I joke about things that aren't funny but it's because I've been through those things or are currently dealing with them. Inappropriate humor comes out and helps me deal with a memory, or an anxiety trigger. That said this comment was so far over the line of inappropriate it's not funny (no pun intended) As much of an ass as this guy was I hope this wasn't the case for him.

wendy said...

didn't fall on deaf ears here my friend.
That is horrific...and like you, sometimes I wish I could muster up the courage to CONFRONT the stupidity and callousness of some people. Just enough to bring it to their attention.

I love Maya Angelou....who has said. Words have POWER.
be careful how we use them.