Big Red Button

April 8, 2009

I was always taught that you can poke fun at someone and pick on them in jest, so long as you see it doesn’t hurt them. But you never ever say things that are too close to the truth. We all know the basics. It’s bad manners to call overweight people fat, and you never ever use the word ‘retarded’ around a caregiver to a special needs child unless you want to learn the wrath of a woman wearing an outdated jumper. (I learned that the hard way…) 

But that principe actually goes further.

A girl I once knew was dark haired and sweet, but wild enough to get into some trouble or do what we weren’t supposed to. We were good friends. And of course my brother was always bothering her; sneaking up behind her at night, teasing her about how much Italian dressing she ate (she put it on everything, carried it in her purse at one point.)

One day at the library she got in his face and asked what he was drawing. She looked at the monster in distain, and reached across his paper to grab a pencil. My brother stared at her arms. The hair was several shades darker than her skin. “Is your back as hairy as your arms?” He sneered. All of us in the room cringed. She left the room in a huff and wiped at her eyes while I held her hand. My brother was reprimanded seriously, and the day went on. We all forgot about the comment. That is, until about three years later she started shaving her arms. Yeah…

That was a weird story, I know. But I still hold to it’s lesson. No matter how angry you are with someone, do NOT use the one word that describes them perfectly. Do not say things that are too close to the truth. You’ll regret it later. The people you love are usually the ones you know which buttons to press. You know that big red button that’s begging to be pushed? Steer clear of it.

My brother’s girlfriend is an only child too. She’s emotional and young, and has a lot to learn but she’s a part of our family regardless. She doesn’t just leave in a whirlwind, she is a whirlwind. To put it simply: she’s spoiled.  I admit, we don’t always get along. But no matter how annoying she is, my brother loves her so I withhold from using those perfect words (to anyone. It’s so tempting, I know. But these things get around.) Especially not to her face. I’ve seen how she reacts to this word in simple conversation and it’s not pretty.

A guy at school I knew was a complete jerk. He admitted it himself. But when anyone called him that I could see it affected him more than he’d like to admit, so I don’t call him that, even in jest.

One of my best friends has some anger issues, and she can be a total bitch. We got along really well until we had a disagreement about a few things. I figured we could just disagree and still be friends, but she was in bitch mode. I was pissed that I went out on a limb to tell her something and she let it shake our friendship. I said some pretty ugly things. I made the mistake of using those perfect words. Now we fight almost every time we talk… I broke that trust between friends and now she’s on the defense. 

Even though we are still friends…… I miss her.


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