I have been “special” for my entire life. Rode a special bus. Went to special class. Have a special chair, and “special needs.” I love to speak, I’ve been doing it in front of crowds since I was 14 years old, I have bombed once. It was a large group of old men. I was about 17 and it was a lunch program. Their faces never changed, and they never moved. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure they couldn’t I understand a word I said. The rest of my experience has proven that if the group I am speaking to has a pulse, I will be well-received and I will probably get a standing ovation at some point.
This is not because I’m the greatest speaker to ever live, or because I have some special talent. It happens because I speak my mind, in words than normal people can understand and relate to, and because I’m special. I can get on on to a stage and say “my dog is brown” and a third of the audience for find it inspirational. Why? Because of where I sit. Because they can’t imagine having my circumstances, and how tough it must be. Truth is I’m just a guy. I go through life like everyone else. I have ups and downs just like you. The only difference is, my chair is comfortable
If I’m ever sitting outside of someplace like a restaurant or a movie theater, one person will stop every 15 minutes and ask if I need help or need to call for a ride. I have had 90-year-old grandmothers using walkers offer to help me. I’ve had moms with a mini van full of kids ask if I need help. Every so often one of these people will literally pat me on the head and say it was nice to meet me. I don’t mind this most of the time. I’ve learned that it comes with the gig. The only downside to this is that no woman will ever take you seriously if she has seen another person pat you on the head in public.
Worse than being patted on the head, is when someone talks to you like you’re two. This happens to me a lot in restaurants. I’ve been out on dates and had the waitress ask my date what I would like to drink. They look at them and say” and for him?” This is when I speak up and let them know that I do in fact possess the power of speech. You would think that this would give them a clue that they can treat me like an adult. Some do, and some try to give me a juice box.
What’s my point with these stories you ask? It’s simple, never make a snap judgment about anybody. Always assume that you are talking with someone who is at least as smart as you, probably smarter. If you don’t know what to say, just say something, because acting like that special person in front of you just won the special olympics, or is invisible, is worse than saying something stupid. If you pat them on the head at least you’re doing something and I guess. Just don’t be real obvious about it.
Thanks again to Evie for the comic. She is on roll. Happy Friday everybody.