Thursday, September 1, 2011

The One With the Insensitive Manager

I did not complete my month-long picture project. I think you all probably guessed that would happen. Sorry. You shouldn't believe me. I lie, it seems.

D and I were at a grocery store near our house last night. It's a mid-price grocery store (WHY don't I live within walking distance of an Aldi's??), but we can walk there without much effort, so that's where we generally go.

We were checking out (ready to go home and have our Super-Healthy-Fruit-Veggie-Cheese-Wheat Thin Dinner Extravaganza) when I heard one of the night managers talking to the little bagger girl.

"If you don't stop eating so much sugar," he said, loudly, "you're going to get diabetes. You'll go blind in one eye, and one of your legs will have to be chopped off."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Um, what?

Not only is that NOT HOW YOU GET DIABETES, but the type of diabetes that is more toward the lifestyle side of things is 90% of diabetics. The other lucky 10%, myself included, get it because, uh, our autoimmune systems spontaneously decide to say, "ATTACK THE PANCREAS!"

My immediate thought was to go over to the guy (who was a manager, of all people. Someone who should know better), grab him by his polo-shirt collar, throw him up against the wall and yell, "Why don't you SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH about things you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, you effing DOUCHENOZZLE?!"

Then I figured, well, it's better to tell his manager. Because if I yell at him, HE will know he did something wrong, but he will likely not care. But if his manager is aware he did something wrong, she will speak to him, and possibly his co-workers would all be like, "Oooooh, you're in trooooubllllleeeeee."

Note: "Trouble" is a difficult word to elongate.)

D went up there and spoke to the manager in order to find out Douchenozzle's name, and then I gave her a call. She was very nice, very apologetic, and very horrified when I told her what they guy had said.

I sort of wanted to see him get fired, but that was just my bum pancreas talking.

I stayed irritated for hours after we left, and I was irritated when I woke up.

If you're diabetic, you're allowed to tell diabetic jokes. You're allowed to talk about how you could get your foot chopped off, or how you could go blind, or whatever. You're allowed to say things that are ridiculous and untrue about your own disease. Humor is a coping mechanism.

We diabetics (and I'm going to make this statement even smaller and say we Type 1s) deal with this bullshit every day. When I wake up, I'm strapped to an insulin pump. If I weren't strapped to a pump, I'd need to take injections. I have to stick my fingers multiple times daily. I have to count carbohydrates in what I eat to know how much insulin to take. Most people's pancreases do that for them. Mine decided it had a better job offer.

It would be like telling a cancer survivor a cancer joke. Or making one of those ubiquitous Dead Baby Jokes to someone who's had 5 miscarriages and is going through those hormone therapies. It's. . .not funny. You don't know what the hell you're talking about. As soon as you've had your blood sugar climb toward 600 because your pump isn't working or you wake up disoriented, having lost hours of your day due to low blood sugar you didn't even know you had, THEN you can talk about going blind and cutting your feet off.

There's a fine line, I think. On one of the blogs I read, the author made a diabetes-related joke that I actually thought was pretty funny. The deal there is, if you go to this particular blog, you need to prepare yourself for irreverance and possibly being insulted.

But I don't go to the grocery store thinking I'm going to be insulted and joked about.

And then I got to thinking. I was diagnosed in October of 1989. I was 4. I have to wonder how that guy would feel if he knew that a newly-diagnoses 4-year-old had heard what he said and spent the next week and a half crying every night before going to bed, maybe even IN bed, because she thinks she's going to go blind or lose one of her legs. How funny is THAT, Mr. Comedian?

It's people you don't know, it's people you do know. . .no one really knows how this effects people like me. My college best friend told a friend of his once that he was getting tired of how dramatic I was being about the whole diabetes thing, how I was doing stuff to get attention. (This was after I woke up at 4 in the afternoon, in the shower, not knowing how I'd gotten there or what else I'd done that day.) No one gets it, but that doesn't mean you have to air your ignorance in public.

I don't care about the parents of diabetics who get all up in arms offended about every little thing. I care about that little kid who may not quite realize yet that this is forever. It's not a death sentence, but they're taking it with them to the end. I have an aunt that died, most likely, from complications from Type 1. I'm on my 22nd anniversary this year and have thus far avoided the macular degeneration that generally begins around the 20th year. I'm grateful for that.

But I'd love to take Mr. DoucheComedian and put a small, ticking time bomb inside of him. He doesn't know when it's going to go off (if it goes off at all) and he doesn't know what'll happen when it does go off. . .how bad the damage will be or whatever. He just knows it's there, and there's nothing he can do about it.

And then I'll go make jokes about it. Not TO him, but near him, so he can go home and think about his bomb, and other people's perceptions of his bomb. I'd like him to have a bomb that is similar in name to another type of bomb, but to have few people know the difference, so they're constantly telling him how to deal with his bomb, and how he could have prevented his bomb, and the like. Like they know ANYTHING about his bomb.

OK, now I'm rambling, so I'll stop. I'm sorry.

Don't joke about or talk about things you literally know nothing about. It makes you look bad, and makes me not want to shop at your store anymore.

That's all.

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