Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Second Glance

Three women walk into a coffee shop. One of the women is Jewish and the other two are catholic. The women sit at a table with 4 chairs. Trailing behind the women is a boy with a disability. Sitting at the table next to the women are two men. With the two men are two boys with disabilities. One of the boys is African American. Sitting at another table are three elderly men. The men can't seem to take their eyes off the show occurring around them. The boys are making loud noises, jumping, dancing, putting their legs up in the air (including the boy with the women). 

This scenario reminds me of the millions of jokes out there that begin with things like:

Three women walk into a coffee shop...

Two Irish guys walk into a bar and sit next to a rabbi...

A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Minister walk into a bar...

Three nuns in a church on a hot day...

A sailor and a priest were playing golf...

In the first scenario there isn't a punch line. Because it was an ordinary afternoon for some people. I wonder how many of the above jokes started out as an ordinary afternoon?  And unless you actually knew the women personally you would never know how to differentiate between them all. Unless of course the women were wearing symbols of their religion like a cross or the star of David. Just some people sitting in a coffee shop.

How many times have you been out somewhere in public and noticed someone different, someone of a different ethnicity or who was dressed differently, someone with a disability who looked/spoke/walked etc...differently, someone who was just plain different? Different? Isn't it funny that we are all so different in so many ways, yet some of us find it hard to accept these differences? Why is that we all want to conform to the ways of those around us [I admit, I do it] I even tell my children to do it.

Many people find it hard to accept something that is different to them. I can remember the first time I entered a classroom filled with physically and mentally impaired children. My heart raced. I couldn't imagine how I would ever be able to work there. In fact, I am sure I went home and announced that I couldn't do it.  After some time it was second nature. I guess my point here is that no matter how "different" others may appear there is usually something [even if it's small] that we have in common. These differences eventually become ordinary.

Next time you are out and you see someone who is different maybe it wouldn't hurt to look at what you may have in common instead. You might be amazed at how your perspectives change.


  1. I like your thinking. :) Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have friends who are developmentally disabled and they are some of my favorite people to be around and talk to. We all have our differences, just as you say, some of them are not so obvious. Differences are nothing to be afraid of.