I remember my big sister doing chain letters as a teenager. She’d handwrite 5 or 10 copies of a brief letter with a veiled threat at the end to continue it, or else…
Never mind the cost of stamps, what a pre-home-office-copying-machine nightmare that had to be! Thank God that practice died out! Right?
Yes, snail mail chain letters are dead, BUT, as if email chain letters crowding my inbox aren’t bad enough, today I got a text chain letter. I BARELY text! I find it annoying to think and communicate in little clip-its and abbreviations on a telephone screen (that last part is amusing all by itself… that phones have digital screens, isn’t it?) and don’t even get me started on Twitter! But, this text just bugged me. See, I can’t figure out who it’s from but it was tied to special needs! Can you imagine? Somewhere in my quest for information on special needs, I got on someone’s nasty ol’ special needs chain letter text list. Seriously?
As has always been the case with chain letters, a wonderful story or sentiment is forwarded from someone who got my cell phone number from God knows where (in my sister’s day it would be from a friend but now it could be anybody) tied to a promise for good fortune IF I forward it to X number (pick a number, any number) of people OR I’m a loser if I don’t forward it and something bad will befall me… soon! I need this?
Today’s text message:
A 15-year-old girl holds the hand of her 1-year-old son. People call her a “slut.” No one knows she was raped at age 14. People call another guy “fat.” No one knows he has a serious disease causing him to be overweight. People call an old man “ugly.” No one knows he experienced a serious injury to his face while fighting for our country in the war. (Here comes the 1-2, promise-threat punch.) Forward this if you are against bullying and stereotyping. I bet 88 of you won’t, the other 22 aren’t heartless (add insult for good measure) and will. Hi, my name is Amy Bruce. I am 7 years old (don’t know Amy but I’m thinking she didn’t send this) and I have severe lung cancer. I also have a large tumor in my brain, from repeated beatings. Doctors say I will die soon if this isn’t fixed, and my family can’t pay the bills. The Make A Wish Foundation (wonder if they sanction text chain letters?) has agreed to donate 7 cents for every time this message is sent on (Doubtful. Tracking nightmare!). For those of you who send this along, I thank you so much, but for those who don’t send it, what goes around comes around (there’s the threat). Have a heart. Send this to 15 people. Signed, Amazed by you, Forever N Always “Booger Suger”
Here’s the thing: I agree with the sentiment that too many people are passing judgements on others when they don’t know the whole story AND that bullying or being mean is just WRONG! But, the truth is, their stories are theirs, and the acceptability of their life situations is none of my business! Or anyone else’s! Not my place to look at a person and judge them… ever! The 15-year-old may not have been raped. Maybe she just made a conscious decision to have a child at 15. Or, maybe she just made a mistake. (God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself)! Whatever! She doesn’t need, want or deserve–and shouldn’t care about–my judgement. And whether the overweight guy ate too much or has a disease is none of my business either. I’ve got my own weight issues to contend with. He’s a person just like me and I’m not here to judge him just as I hope you are not here to judge me. Remember the whole living in glass houses and throwing stones thing? As for the old man, beauty should be in the eye of the beholder but apparently, it’s in the eye of the media. And I, for one, am sick and tired of tv, magazine, internet and billboard ads shoving their version of beauty down my throat. There are a lot of “beautiful”-on-the-outside/ugly-on-the-inside folks I’d rather NOT know and plenty of “ugly”-on-the-outside/beautiful-on-the-inside folks I’d be lucky to call my friends! Pffttthhh (that’s my sad attempt at spelling a raspberry)! Bravo and my undying gratitude to that man who fought for our country. Every scar he carries is a medal of honor. I’m one of those people who believes that scars add character and experience adds wisdom. It’s a story waiting to be told and I’m an eager listener. Send all of these folks over to my house and I’m sure we’ll all be chatting and laughing and enjoying each other’s company in short order.
As for poor little Amy, God knows I pray for all the little children who are sick or abused. I’ve always felt that the children and animals are the innocent victims of the ruthless and somewhat cruel society we have built. (And, I’M an optimist!) I pray for her and all of them, and I donate to the American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Support Fund and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital…. but I won’t forward her chain text! I’M not heartless but threats and insults to try and get money from donors in a less than reputable way IS!
Here’s the other thing, I whole-heartedly doubt–see, I have a heart, and it doubts–that the Make A Wish foundation is giving away 7 cents per text-message forwarded. But, if there was an accessible and legitimate way for them to track and pay that out to little Amy (I worked in the systems end of the cellular industry), then I’m sorry I did not contribute my $0.07. But I DON’T forward chain texts! However, I do believe the message–though clouded with drama and threats–is basically a good one. So I am sharing it via my blog.
THIS IS NOT A CHAIN POST. It’s just my commentary on a good underlying message delivered in an obnoxious medium and method.
For me, the message isn’t that we might have MISjudged the young girl, that overweight guy or the old man! It is that we should all stop judging others. God only knows what someone else’s situation is, what’s on their plate, what sadness or difficulties have befallen them in life. Or not! I do not walk in their shoes and so I am in no position to judge. I live in that proverbial glass house, and plenty of windows would get shattered if I cast stones at every Tom, Dick or Harry that didn’t do things the way I think they should be done… especially if Tom, Dick and Harry started throwing stones back my way for all my idiosyncrasies, indiscretions or their misjudgements of me.
For those with a religious/faithful bent, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone!” I’m NOT so I won’t be casting any stones. I live by the motto, “To Each His Own!” Everyone makes their choices and lives their lives. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s not any of my business. Yes, I intervene when I witness bullying. But otherwise, we are all free to live as we choose. And, like the old man’s scars, our differences make the world a more interesting place to live!
So, this holiday season, instead of judging, try a little more kindness instead! Pay it forward and see if that doesn’t bring about more peace for us all.
P.S. If anybody knows who “Booger Suger” is… can you forward this to him/her and tell ’em I have a heart, I paid it forward in my own way… and happy holidays from Maggie.