I have just spent the last 20 minutes searching the web to find a picture to put with this blog. I'm both frustrated and pleased. I wanted to find the old logo that 'Associations for the Mentally Retarded' used to use. But after looking at nearly 50 pages of images it, like that gawd awful name, is gone. The logo was one of a big green man with square shoulders who looked like he was made out of lego. In front of him was a small child who's head was oddly placed right in front of the green man's groin. It was supposed to represent a strong adult protecting a vulnerable child. But looking at it another way it could be seen quite differently. Many of us used to refer to it as the 'blow job'.
At lunch yesterday, a group of us were talking and really letting our guards down. It was a two day conference on legal issues regarding sexuality - meaning dealing with sex offenders with disabilities. So we'd talked seriously about pedophilia, about rape, about victimization, about hurt, about trauma. Heavy stuff. My presentations had gone fairly well but I too was beginning to feel overwhelmed at the hugeness of the problem, the unfairness of the system, and the damage done to people with disabilities. So, this lunch everyone at the table seemed to make a silent agreement that it was time to simply let go.
We were talking about silly acronyms and I brought up the 'blow job' and asked if anyone else remembered it. A woman at the table, perhaps a little older than me, said that she didn't remember the logo, but that she did remember giving the occasional blow job. Everyone looked slightly shocked as she quietly took a bite of her creamy dessert. I simply said, 'You know you probably shouldn't say that when you've got cream in your mouth.' For a second time stopped. Then the whole table erupted in almost violent laughter. People were bent over and howling. I lost control too and laughed my big loud laugh that I let out seldomly. Other tables looked over, some in annoyance, most with envy.
When we settled down from that we moved on to even more wildly funny stuff that in no way can I write here.
You might find what she said disturbing and what I said inappropriate. But here's the thing. Without humour. Without violent out of control laughter. It's impossible to deal with the world as it really is, it's impossible to talk seriously about things that should never happen, it's impossible to stay sane and hopeful. Our laughter wasn't about what was said, it was about need. It was about a desire to stay afloat. It was about good mental health.
I worry that poltical correctness is taking away from us the possibility of simply laughing together. The need to be a wee bit inappropriate from time to time. To gently poke fun at each other. The afternoon came and went and whenever I caught the eye of someone from lunch, no matter what was being said at the conference, we smiled. How nice is that?