Thursday, April 14, 2011

overheard: on judging

OVERHEARD: at the drinking fountain outside of the honors reading room in the maeser building.  a mother and daughter.

MOTHER: can you explain to me that jerk in the honors reading room?  why he had a beard and was as grungy as all get out?
DAUGHTER: he was probably a grad student.
MOTHER: so that means he doesn't have to follow the rules?  that he doesn't have to live the honor code?
DAUGHTER: well he probably just thinks he's above it.  and he's probably older so no one bothers him about it.

first of all, excuse me?  he was probably a grad student?  so you're saying that grad students are all
a) grungy,
b) jerks,
c) above the rules, and
d) "older", which means WHAT exactly?!  oh please.

and to the mother:
1) it's finals week, lady.  if there is a time when grunginess is acceptable, this week would probably be it.
and 2) ever heard of a beard card?  maybe he has a skin problem.  maybe he isn't LDS and a beard is part of his religion.  or best yet, maybe he's acting as one of the apostles in an upcoming film about Joseph Smith or Jerusalem or something.  now wouldn't that be ironic.

the thing is, i know who they're talking about.  not "know" in the sense that i know him, but "know" in the sense that i've sat across from him for the last two hours.  he has a stormy face.  tousled hair.  and a very very serious expression.  i've seen him a lot, actually...around.  and only today, sitting across from him, when i've seen him smile, when i've gotten a good look at him (and his beard, which, might i add, is very cleanly trimmed.  and nothing about his dress or demeanor says "grungy" in any sense of the word), do i feel like maybe i see a little bit of who he is.  a very little bit, granted, but not so small that i'd push him off as a grungy grad student in between sips at the drinking fountain.

my brother spencer, who i love with all my heart, always had beef with people who'd judge others solely on appearance.  spencer, the one who had me cornrow his hair and wore tie-dyed tee-shirts every other day one summer.  (i don't know if these were personal statements against appearance-based-judgments...more likely it was just that thing that some boys do when they're seniors in high school.  yes, it about killed my mother.)  and yes, appearance says something.  but often we're so quick to stamp labels (maybe it's a defense mechanism, maybe it's just human nature), that we don't get to love what there is to love in other people.  and we don't consider that maybe what we see is exactly opposite of what's there.

that's all.  (a sprightly hop off my soapbox)

so go find someone you'd like to stamp and sit across from them for two hours and maybe you'll see something different.