Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Life Lesson

I was eating in the lunchroom today with our normal crew when one of the guys asked a female at the table if she was in the "Biggest Loser" weight contest. My head snapped around so fast it almost gave me whiplash. I could not believe my ears. He's in his fifties and plenty old enough to know that you never ask a woman something like that. You can ask about her cat, you can ask about her car, you can ask about her kids, or maybe what books she enjoys reading but you NEVER ask a question that implies that you think she is overweight.
All the other women at the table jumped on him like chickens on a June bug. I scooted away from him just to make sure I wasn't chastised just because of my proximity to him. He jumped back, apologized, tried to explain but he just dug the hole deeper and deeper. He might not have known what he said was inappropriate, but as Richard Pryor the comedian said "he'll know next time."
The last year or so my mother-in-law was alive, she would say really inappropriate things to people she encountered. I heard her say more than once "My, you have really gotten fat," or "you need a haircut. When someone chided her afterwards, she would always say "well it's the truth." She was usually right on the money but we still told her she shouldn't do it.
The woman at lunch today just shrugged off the remark and she laughed along with the rest when the guy was verbally abused but the truth is, insensitive remarks can hurt even if it is the truth.
I try to be mindful as to how I phrase things so that my words won't be hurtful. If there is any doubt, I usually hold my tongue. I mean if a woman is nine months along and I can see an infant kicking through her blouse, I would never mention anything about her being pregnant unless she said something first.
It's just a little life lesson I learned a long time ago and one that my friend at lunch learned today.

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