|Photo description: The word 'TWACK' in capitals in a comic book style font.|
It was because of me.
I was rolling into the lobby of a restaurant where we were joining friends for lunch, Joe was parking the car. I spotted the ramp up to the reception area and was headed over there when a boy, maybe about 7, saw me. He looked up to his dad, tugged his dad's sleeve, and said, "Dad, that man is really big."
He was struck.
When asked the question about why it was done, he said he didn't know. "Keep your opinions to yourself. You don't say things like that."
I wanted to intervene and say something but dad's face showed real anger. I didn't want to make the situation worse. Moreover, I have to keep telling myself that I'm not required to be an educational or inspirational moment for everyone, always. So I kept rolling.
What happened really disturbed be though. I didn't like the kid getting hit, even though it was only a bop on the head, even though it looked like it didn't physically hurt, I still don't like kids getting hit. Beyond that, I didn't like the fact that the issue was only the statement that the child made.
He wasn't judging me.
He wasn't mocking me.
He wasn't teasing me.
He had a simple, straightforward tone, a 'hey, look dad' tone. He was just describing me. Even his words, he described me as 'big' not 'fat.' Now I don't really have a problem with 'fat' as a descriptive word but I will admit to preferring 'big'. So he didn't use a word that's really emotionally charged for some people. He used a descriptive word.
And he was punished for it.
He's learned something.
I am unmentionable.
I am to be linguistically euthanized.
I am to exist in reality but not in language.
This scares me.
I am sure that the father was simply trying to protect my feelings. But. Really. I'm a 62 year old fat guy and I probably know that I'm big. So, as long as I'm being described not demeaned, I'm good with it.
I'm afraid that the next time the kid sees a fat person, he's going to duck, and look away, not wanting to see what can't be spoken.