Words Can Hurt
Have you seen this Geico advertisement about words can hurt? Geico is associated with interesting and innovative advertisement, but this one really hit home with me this week. I suppose it hit home for a variety of reasons. Diabetes is one of them but it is really more than that.
So in the advertisement the cowboy announces to a woman that he is a loaner and rides off into the sunset only to be hit by large words that say ‘The End'. Now a disclaimer here, I do not have Geico insurance do not know a thing about it and do not suggest anyone purchase insurance based on cool commercials. What I can say is that insurance advertisements have become some of the more innovative on television and I love good 15, 20 or 20 second stories that play out in commercials. All good commercials are mini stories with character, setting, plot, conflict and theme. I wish I could create stuff like that, but anyone who reads this blog knows for a fact I can barely write two sentences without stretching it to 10 and using half a page. I have never been able to write short sentences or thoughts let alone a 30 second commercial.
Anyway, the idea of this commercial is that words hurt. Our diabetic kids know that, in fact I suspect all kids know it, but our diabetic kids know it maybe more than anyone in our community. Parents know it as well, what parent hasn’t been hurt when a mean comment is made about their son or daughter, diabetic or not.
I mention this because the other day I had an example of inadvertent words hurting. I was speaking with someone I often tease with and we were discussing who we let see our pump. It is sort of funny because neither of us started the conversation; we just latched on and were sort of riffing on the topic. I said I wear mine Loud, Proud and Mean (whatever that means). The other person said they are more private and do not like others seeing it. They said of course they let their nephews and nieces see it and even manipulate it. I commented that family doesn’t count. Well it was a throw away statement, I meant it in context meaning letting the family see it is not the same as Loud, Proud and Mean. So we both had a nice laugh sent an additional shot of sarcasm back and forth and went on our way.
Later I got a barb from a person (a mom of a type 1) who said in a shout blast that she hoped that was a sick joke and I should refrain from saying it. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about and she made it plain it was my comment “family don’t matter” that upset her. Well I explained the context she said she knew the context and “stood by her comment”. After all she reminded me that I had no business telling anyone when or how to show their pump to anyone and that these decisions are a private matter and I should never have commented. She then suggested I get some sensitivity training etc. Ok not really sensitivity training but I am sure that is what she meant. No that is not what she meant but I interpreted it that way, sort of. Let’s just say we did not part on a happy basis
Well so step back a little, of course I know family matters in disease. Without my wife I would not be here today for more reasons than just one. Yeah family matters a lot. But taken out of context a comment like mine can be like playing in the parking lot when you are assigned to play infield, it is just not correct.
Of course I was not commenting on the general idea of family and certainly not the impact of parents in management of diabetes. I fear my comment was taken to mean parents don’t matter; of course I never meant it that way and as I say it was taken completely out of context by the bystander.
The person I said it too was not offended (I later apologized to them and they did not even know what had happened) I don’t think anyone who followed the conversation felt that I was offensive, but this person who read a portion of the conversation out of context was offended enough to take exception.
Ok well things happen, so that is cool. I was pretty upset with the whole thing, but yes I have calmed down and started to see the other side of the issue. So in case this person reads this blog, (I know they don’t) I will say unequivocally “Family Matters”, and if you are calm enough now I hope you will understand I never meant it like you received it. Still I should never have said it or maybe I should have said it (no wait, never mind). I will leave it like that.
Ok well yes words matter even if they were inadvertent. Like the Geico commercial I was hit in the head by words that were clearly there, but I never really saw. So yeah I see them now, except (no darn it tuck your tongue Rick). We will leave it at that. I see them now and I apologize. But……