Monday, October 10, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I was surfing the miracle of the Internet — The Source Of All Truth — when I stumbled upon some very disturbing images. No, not those kind of disturbing images but … uh … anyway, just let me explain.
I saw a video that somebody had captured showing the utter laziness of U.S. Americans. The video sent shockwaves through the lazy community. How could someone be so lazy.
This particular video showed a lady on a Segway "walking" a baby in a stroller. For those of you who may not be familiar with Segways, they are those new gadgets many urban police departments are using to get around the city quickly. They have two wheels and the operator stands on them like a speaker might stand at a podium.
According to the Segway website, the company is the leader in "personal, green transportation." Evidently the product has an amazing ability to sense what the operator wants to do.
"If there's a feeling you get when trying a Segway product, it's like it can almost read your mind," the website said. "Well, it's not magic. It's the combination of propulsion, energy, inertial sensing and an incredibly intuitive user interface that enables a ride that will force you to hold back a smile. Hopefully someday you'll have a chance to try it out and feel good about your commute instead of fearing it."
Actually, the Segway looks like it would be a ton of fun and I might just get one and try to hold back my own smile.
Now back to the story.
This video shows this lady pushing a baby stroller while riding on a Segway. Now, believe me, I can recognize laziness when I see it. I see it all the time. Heck, I live it.
It seems weird to me that people will drive around a parking lot looking for a spot of front and then get out of their car wearing work out clothes. Did you not just come from exercising? Is a few more hundred feet really that big a deal?
As you can imagine, the video of the lady pushing the stroller had everyone abuzz talking about how lazy U.S. Americans are becoming. I thought it was a sign of the times too.
There was just one little problem.
It turns out the lady on the Segway was actually a cancer survivor who had lost a leg to the disease and was lucky to be "walking" at all.
She was watching her sister's baby and needed to get out and pick up a few things from the store. Instead of climbing in a car and since she couldn't walk that far, she got on her Segway and pushed the stroller.
Now, don't I feel like a large piece of porcupine excrement.
It's so easy to judge people for doing something stupid. But the truth is, we all do stupid things, but they are only stupid to other people. Stupidity, like beauty, is often left to the beholder. It's easy to say something is stupid or silly or someone is ridiculous or lazy when we don't understand totally. It's easy to judge or label other people because of actions or looks or some other reason when we don't have the whole picture. This is a dangerous action that only limits me.
I've found that when I judge, I am really putting up a measuring stick to myself. I can only judge other people based on the knowledge I have of me. Anybody who does something "stupid" is only doing something "stupid" because I wouldn't have done it that way.
Parents are "stupid" for the way they are raising their kids only because I wouldn't have raised our kids that way. Drivers are stupid for the way they drive only because I wouldn't drive that way. Kids like stupid music because there is no way I would have listened to that garbage when I was a kid.
But what if I got it wrong? Or better yet, what if there is no right and wrong in certain situations? What if there is more than one way to successful parenting? What if there are several schools of thought on "safe" driving? What if music is up to the individuals taste and there is no such thing as "good" music? It could be true. But if we judge, we eliminate all of those options. Something can only be good and right if I say it is.
And while we may need to have those moral bounds to some degree, it does benefit us to open our minds to the fact that somebody else's bounds might be just as "good."
The good book tells us not to judge or we will be judged by the same standards. But it's so easy. I used to like my life being really black and white: this is right and that is wrong. I have since discovered that attitude is just a little too simple. It's the same kind of things that have started wars for centuries. 
Usually if I'm judging somebody else, they really don't care. The only person I am hurting is me for the attitude and negative feelings I harbor. Those feelings cause stress and anxiety that can only go away when you let the feelings go. If you hang on to them, they only lead to sickness and sorrow.
And it's a lot of work, bringing extra drama into your life. I find I'm a lot happier just letting people be who they are and accepting them. I don't always agree with people — and in my humble but accurate opinion, I have all the right answers — but I let other people live their lives. And I live mine.
So, I think I'm just gonna let people live. I won't try to come up with a label for them. If they ain't hurting nobody, let it go.
But if you try to take away my Twinkies, we are gonna have to talk.

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