It seems like Crazy Pickle Lady is just too enticing for people to leave alone. In light of that, this post will be both brief and thought provoking (I hope).
I recently (read: yesterday) got a lengthy email from a student (according to their email) telling me that I have no right to expect people to not laugh at or be nice to my daughter, I cannot protect the “real” world from my daughter (just wanted to write that because they inverted their meaning, and I had a good laugh) and that life is “short” and I should be doing something more important.
In this country we have many rights- one is to live freely. Because of this, I approach all people thinking the best about them. Whether you are the homeless person I gave a water bottle to, the woman with a killer bum at the gym or the man who signs my husband’s paycheck- I believe you are a good person until you prove me wrong. (BTW, Dave’s boss is an incredibly amazing man.) We come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, going to all sorts of places. I do not expect the worst from people, as that is disappointing from the beginning. I believe in my fellow human, and I have the right to think that they will treat me with the same kindness and graciousness that I hope to show them. I’m not saying we don’t all have bad days, but if I approach all dogs without fear or judgement regardless of breed, shouldn’t I offer the same courtesy (and expect it) from my fellow human?
About life, I will say this. Life is not short. It is the longest thing you will ever do. From the moment you sprang forth from your mother, you were living and you will not stop until you die. Live each day doing what you feel passionate about- NOT what others feel passionate about. A true waste of time is not being true to yourself.
Lastly, I don’t feel the need to protect Addie from the world (or the world from her- although her cuteness is a lot to handle). But, as a parent, we do what we can to make the world a better place for our kids.
Below is our email exchange (name removed for privacy). I wanted to share so that you can understand what the above is in summation of- including my internal anger being attacked. I never once have shown any anger, as it was a fleeting moment of inner unease. I think we are all guilty of anger at some point- what makes us strong are the actions we take, not the ones that we do not allow to froth over.
Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:19 PM
To Whom It May Concern,
I recently read about your crusade to have a company change the name of its product because you found it offensive. The word ‘midget’ did not refer to a human but rather a type of pickle. It seems to me that you were projecting that term onto your daughter–in that case, who is actually the offender? It scares me that this type of hyper-political correctness is threatening our First Amendment right to free speech. I have a few friends who have Dwarfism and they jointly agree that you are being ridiculous and frivolous in your attempt to raise awareness about the condition.
Let me tell you, the world will not shelter your daughter because she has dwarfism. People will stare and make comments. When I had to use a wheelchair for months due to a severe injury, I received weird looks all the time. The best I could do was to keep my head up and smile and start a conversation. Your daughter will be best served learning to be proud and secure in herself, making no apologies to anyone. That said, she does not have the right to expect the world to consider her needs and feelings.Just like you do not have the right NOT to be offended.
Raise awareness about Dwarfism by productively engaging the public in conversation and not by some stupid helicopter-parent attempt to shield the real world from your daughter. Seriously, find something better to do.
I will be writing the company to voice my opinion on midget pickles.
P.S. Do you have a conniption every time you see crackers or beans?
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 8:17 PM
Subject: Re: Seriously?
I’m sorry you feel as though this was a crusade and that I don’t respect your (or anyone elses) First Amendment right. I do, which is why I used my right to voice my opinion. I do not represent the dwarfism community- nor did I claim to- thus your friends’ opinions truly have no bearing on me. I have been in contact with many people who appreciate my action (singular- as I only made one video and that was it), and many who don’t. In life, we cannot please everyone. People will, of course hurt Addie’s feelings, as my own have been hurt for different reasons. I meet everyone with a smile and grace, and I will expect the same from Adelaide at all times. We all have the right to feel how we feel, so I’m not sure why you speak to the point that neither Addie nor I have the right to expect people to be considerate. I teach Addie that we all treat others with respect, goodwill and kindness- just as we want to be treated. Though not everyone will be so gracious, we should never expect the worst from our fellow human.
While I appreciate your email, it took a less effective turn at the end… midget is not an innocuous word that is its meaning. A cracker is a cracker and white beans and black beans are just that in their color. Those questions seem silly to me. I respect your reply, if you so desire to send one, but I ask you to refrain from anymore name calling towards me. I am not stupid, frivolous or ridiculous- we are just different and have different opinions.
Thank you for your time,
Date: Tue, Apr 2, 2013 11:20 pm
Woah there, someone needs to step off the self-righteous soapbox. My point is, words are words. They don’t carry a connotation unless you apply a context. Pickles are not people and I don’t think the word ‘midget’ deserves to be scratched out of the English language simply because you project it on people. It’s an adjective that happened to describe small cucumbers. Time to grow up and realize you can’t child-proof the world for your kid. Like I stated earlier, you might want kindness, compassion, etc., but that does not mean you are guaranteed it. Voicing your opinion is one thing; expecting a company to yield to your demands because you feel offended by a name is quite another.
Oh, and ‘cracker’ can have a very pejorative meaning. So can ‘bean’ and by the way, it has nothing to do with white or black. It depends on the context.
Just like you think my questions are silly, I think your crusade is ridiculous and frivolous. And stupid in the sense that you have achieved absolutely nothing except a campaign for hyper-political correctness.It’s a two- way street. Your tantrum has in no way improved the lives of people who have Dwarfism. Instead of treating people with Dwarfism as automatic victims, I suggest promoting the normal, healthy, successful people that they are. Heard of Peter Dinklage? A phenomenal actor who just so happens to have the same type of Dwarfism as your daughter. I don’t compare him to a pickle.
I don’t think you realize the hypocrisy of your statement that “we are different.” Indeed we are, and we obviously view pickles very differently. I just see pickles. You see an opportunity to project and express your overindulged rage. Let me enjoy my pickles with the original name printed on them. You don’t have to buy them or even walk past them in store. There, our differences have been resolved.
You might just want to think about growing a tougher skin because if the names on pickle jars are enough to set you off, you are not going to make it through the trials of puberty and adolescence when the time comes.
Life’s too short to focus things that will ultimately never matter. There is far greater suffering in the world that needs to be addressed.
Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2013 7:11 AM
Subject: Re: Seriously?
I’m not sure why I’ve suddenly become self-righteous in your eyes, and I’m really not sure what article you read that painted my actions as expectant and demanding of change. I just asked, they called me to tell me it was a change in the works.
As we both recognize, will not agree on this subject and we are just repeating ourselves. I think the time has come for me to remove myself from this conversation.
Life is indeed not short, it is the longest thing you will ever do.
Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2013 10:21 AM
Subject: Re: Seriously?
If you cannot fathom how you are being self righteous, you are not very perceptive. I read that you almost broke every pickle jar in the aisle and flew into a rage about the word ‘midget.’
Life IS short for many people, especially children who suffer from terminal illness. You are an unbelievably pompous ass. Are you going to crusade now against Dunkin Donuts’ “munchkins” or protest Tolkien’s use of the word “hobbit?” The truth is, you’ve been dealt a card you’re not comfortable dealing with and the shame lies within you about your daughter. You’re the one who is small. Shame on you. I hope wisdom better serves you in the future, because you are clearly lacking any in the present.
Yes, I think it’s better you remove yourself from the conversation. You’re a new mom and still learning the curve, we can’t expect you to know much about anything.
Yikes! I hope everyone else is having a less confrontational Wednesday!
P.S. My brother passed away after less than 24 hours of life. It was, as I said, the longest thing he’d ever done.
Rest in peace, Jonathan. We got you as long as we were meant to and you lived life to your fullest. 4/8/90-4/9/90 <3